Turning Nickel Into Bronze

Brushed nickel is not my favorite. I don’t simply hate it altogether. It’s just not my thing. I’ve seen it in some people’s houses and it looks great, especially if their house is more airy and contemporary. I’m a warm, neutral colors kind of girl (with pops of bold colors here and there).

When we moved in, there was this terrible, boring chandelier in the dining room. It had potential, but it wasn’t doing much but hanging there. It was SUPER bright due to the lack of shades, so we usually just avoided turning it on unless it was absolutely necessary. I would’ve bought shades, but I wasn’t all too sure that I was going to keep it.


I started doing a little research because I had previously seen where people had repainted brass chandeliers. I searched…and searched…and no one was trying to cover up brushed nickel. I almost felt like I was committing a crime wanting to do so. Apparently this stuff is sought after. Well, not for my home. To me, it was an un-matching eye-sore. Amidst all the browns, greens, oranges….sat this bright silver fixture. Ew.

I decided to follow the same instructions for updating brass fixtures. I mean, metal is metal, right? How much different could it be? I figured trying it wouldn’t hurt. I had nothing to lose. Either I was going to refresh the one I already had, or I would go buy a new one. If I messed it up, I was going to buy a new one. I was getting a bronze chandelier regardless, so I might as well try the cheaper route first to see if I could succeed.

We started by removing the chandelier from the ceiling. I put cotton balls in the tops of all the “candle” holders and covered them with painters tape. Next, we attached it to a board so that we could hang it properly from a tree to paint.


Next, we rigged some rope around the piece of wood to which we attached the chandelier. We threw the rope over the branch of a tree and tied it at a comfortable height for painting.

I chose Rustoleum’s Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint – the type you can spray from any angle. (The finish almost looks black in the picture, but in reality it is a dark, dark brown.) That type of can allowed me to spray from any awkward angle I needed, to ensure everything was coated correctly. I sprayed everything! Making sure to get the chain, the underside, the top, the plate that attaches to the ceiling – everything! (I even sprayed the tree…a little. Oops.) With the light shining so bright on the fixture, you are more likely to see any missed spots or imperfections, so I took my time to get it right.

I gave it one good coat and then walked away for awhile so it could dry a little…not fully. I went back and touched up a few areas that I missed, but did not have to give an all-over second coat.

I have learned that it is important not to spray too close or too much onto your surface! This will cause it to look very drippy and uneven. You’re going for a smooth, flawless, result. It is better to put two lighter coats on, instead of one heavy one.


We left the chandelier in the sun for a few hours, just to ensure it was dry enough to move without damaging. We let it hang in the garage overnight, in case of bad weather, for the paint to fully cure.

The next day, we hung the chandelier back where we found it, but those boring “candles” were still bothering me. I browsed for some small lamp shades, but all of them were $6+ each. I needed 6. I did NOT want to spend $36 on lamp shades. I had better things I could do for that price. Even on Amazon.com, which I love and frequent for good deals, they were still “expensive.” I finally found some for $3 at Garden Ridge. I was shocked they were so low in comparison to everywhere else. $18?! Ok. I’m good with that.

And here it is. $8 worth of spray paint and $18 for lamp shades: $26 Chandelier Makeover that finally suits my home.




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