Chandeliers used to be powered by gas lamps when they were first popularized in the medieval times. Most shoppers probably want something a bit more convenient than that, of course. Purchasing a unique chandelier piece is often instinctual, rather than planned in advance.
The problem may arise on how to install a chandelier by yourself. These aren’t your typical light fixtures. Hiring a professional electrician may be necessary if you have zero confidence in installing heavy fixtures.
That isn’t to say you can’t install a chandelier all by yourself. There are very clear steps involved that apply to almost any type of chandelier. This guide will help you prepare, install, and secure your new chandelier in place.
How to Install a Chandelier for Beginners
Let’s start with a little preface to say that unlike other light fixtures, a chandelier might need more than a standard electrical box. Most boxes are rated for a maximum weight of 50 pounds. If you buy a chandelier that is close to 50 or more pounds, like a bubble light fixture, you’ll need to install a new support system.
Now, after you’ve weighed and determined the box you need, we’ll begin installing. For the sake of inclusiveness, we’ll assume your chandelier does indeed weigh over 50 pounds.
Before you do anything, go outside and turn the breaker off for the room you’ll be installing the chandelier. When inside, double-check by flipping the switch on and off.
Remove Existing Fixture
Unscrew and remove whatever is hooked up to your ceiling. Disconnected the wires by twisting off the plastic connectors. It’s possible that the removal of the previous fixture may need additional instructions.
Electrical work isn’t always the easiest DIY project to tackle, so you may need some professional advice or help.
Once you do finally have your previous fixture detached, it’s time for upgrading the support. As we said, you may need to install a stronger electrical box, but there is also one other alternative. You can try installing a fan brace instead.
These are made to hold heavy ceiling fans of 100+ pounds and they cost less than a heavy-duty electrical box. There are even larger braces that go up to 400 pounds. You will need to pull out the electrical box and slip in the brace. It will then slide outwards, spreading the weight across the ceiling and surrounding joists.
Once the brace is tightened into place, you will then proceed to reattach the electrical box and begin installing your new chandelier.
If you go the route of buying a bigger electrical box, the concept is the same. The wider heavy-duty electrical box screws into the ceiling joists.
Installing the New Chandelier
First, start by taking a look at the instructions that came with the chandelier. Make sure there isn’t any special assembly required before mounting. Next, check out all the wires and make sure they’re all in good order.
If your chandelier is attached to a traditional chain link, adjust it to put it into the position you desire. Be careful not to hang it too low, it should be out of reach from an outstretched hand. Lock your chain into place before moving on.
Wiring and Finishing
Start with the chandelier’s longest nipple, thread it into the chain holder, and affix it to the mounting bar. Push all the wires through that nipple and screw the mounting bar into place on the electrical box. Wrap the cable’s copper ground wire around the grounding screw, tighten it, then connect the wire’s end to the chandelier’s ground wire.
Shave off half of the insulation to your grounding wire. Use twist-on connectors to connect the wires to their respective black or white colors. Make this process as neat as you can so that you can easily fit them into the electrical box.
Hold everything in there with one hand while you slide the cover on to the box and screw it into place with the canopy’s collar.
Calling on a Professional
If everything we just covered went right over your head, don’t feel embarrassed. Most people are visual learners anyway, so instructions may get lost in translation. Calling a professional handyman or electrician can make this process quick and easy.
As for how much you can expect to pay for professional installation, it depends on what you have and the size of the chandelier. You can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to over $500 if it’s a large and fragile chandelier.
How it’s going to be installed is another key factor.
Installing on a New Ceiling
If you want your chandelier installed on a ceiling with no previous wiring, you’ll pay a hefty price. If your ceiling isn’t easily accessible, the install fees could be over $500.
Replacing a Chandelier
The best case scenario is having the exact same type and weight chandelier already installed. This replacement requires no extra materials, wiring, or setup. Installation can be under an hour and costs shouldn’t be more than $100. This is a job that a neighborhood handyman can do easily.
Replacing a Light
If you want to upgrade a light fixture to a chandelier, then the price can vary a lot. If you go out and buy a brace or new electrical box, then you shouldn’t be out much more than $100-200. If you don’t, the electrician will likely charge you more than the average cost in a store.
Light Up Your Room
Upgrading to a bigger, brighter chandelier in your home is a great investment. It’s worth learning how to install a chandelier, once you see the difference in the lighting of your home. Yes, the price of installation and its challenges can seem a little high.
A nice chandelier can make a home feel bigger and more luxurious. If you need some inspiration, take a look at the best pieces online. While you’re at it, go to UpGifs.com for some fun house GIFs. This Fuller House GIF is a good example of house goals and good feels at UpGifs.