Monday, July 19, 2010

Dining Room Light Fixture Adventure

Remember the Dining Room light fixture? If not, here's a reminder of what it looked like:

I had big plans for it! First I had to take the whole thing apart. I starting by sweet talking my husband into removing the fixture from the ceiling for me. (We are pros at replacing light fixtures now! Saves us from calling an electrician to do it for us!) Then I dismantled the whole thing carefully laying out each piece so I would remember how it went back together. Of course I took photos, partially for documentation, and partially to help me put it back together again.

Next, we took all the part outside and got to sanding. And sanding. And more sanding. Once we'd sufficiently removed the finish and roughed up all the surfaces we taped off the cords (which I then untaped when someone pointed out the obvious to me. Thanks for helping me get my head on straight Michael. Then I used newspaper and tape to cover up all the parts that were not going to be painted.

Here is what I plan to add to the mix:

We then set up a spray painting station in the garage and got down to business. We learned a lot in this process. 1) Spray paint gets everywhere. 2) Even when you think there is no wind, dust, dirt, twigs will inevitably fly around and stick to your freshly painted pieces. 3) Painted pieces will get all scratched up from even the slightest touch. 4) All the minor imperfections just remind you of how you accomplished the task yourself. (Or more precisely, the imperfections will serve as a reminder of how you learned what not to do next time!) Go us!
After much trial and error and several days of re-painting, we ended up with something that looked like this:

Finally, it was time to reassemble the fixture. It took several tries to get all parts to fit back together appropriately. Ultimately I ditched the odd glass piece from the center as it inhibited everything from being screwed together securely when I added the drum shade. Then I had to creatively come up with a system for holding the shade in the correct place so that the fixture didn't hang down below the shade. Next we decided how far it should hang down and removed 3 links.

Then it was finally time to re-hang the fixture. It took us two hours to put it back up! I'm sure you know enough to not ask why, but I know you're curious so I'll tell you anyhow. First we connected the wires outside the box, instead of inside. Oops. Then we couldn't screw in the piece that held everything into the ceiling. Next, we discovered that when we screwed everything together, it twisted up all the wires so tightly that it was unsafe. This was when we discovered that the wires weren't going through all the appropriate places the same way, thus the excessive twisting. After that, in the process of undoing everything in order to redo it, we discovered that the ground wire had fallen apart so we had to attempt to tape it back together again. Yada Yada get the idea. Finally, we got it all back together. The wires are still a little too long, but with it!

Are you ready to see the transformation? Here we go...
Drum Roll Please...

Some of you may be wondering why I chose to use silver paint instead of say a bronze (which I also purchased and had on hand.) My reasoning was that I might want to change out the fabric on the shade and was more likely to be happier long term with a silver fixture rather than a bronze. It will allow for more color and decor changes in the room in the future.

Here's a close up of the pattern. I don't love it, but let's just say the price was right. (See below) We may consider replacing the whole thing down the road, but for the time being it's a huge improvement, and I enjoyed the project too! Now I know that I (we) can do it!

In case you are curious, here is the price tag from the drum shade. I spotted a flaw in the shade and asked for an additional discount. Ask and you shall receive! SCORE! So... $12 plus $8 for the primer and paint. What a deal!


  1. I just saw this on Before and After and am amazed on what you did! I love this, it is so designer looking. Great job.

  2. Also visiting from Before & it!

  3. What a beautiful drum-the drum shade is so chic!

  4. I am green with envy, however, that doesn't change the fact that you have created a beautiful chic light! I don't know why I am struggling so hard to do the same (grrrrr). I think my main issue is how to properly attach the drum shade. It appears improvisation will be needed. In any event -- Congratulations! You did good, really good!

  5. WOw -- and you're just starting out your blog. Even better for you! This should bring you lots of new followers, including me. Please visit me and if you like me blog, I would love for you to follow me in return!