October 25, 2011

...3 burned out bulbs, 2 sets of shades, and a partridge in a pear tree!

This weekend, I got ambitious. (Alright, so doing something that you’ve been meaning to do three months isn’t all that ambitious. But it was productive. So maybe I should start over.)


This weekend, I was productive (sound better?).  I finally got myself up on my stepladder and dismantled my disgusting dining room chandelier. I knew that it was dusty and could do with a good washing, but, trust me, if I’d known how bad it was I would have done it sooner.

Pretty gross, huh? And I’m sad to say that it gets worse.

I can’t tell you how embarrassed I am to show you this. But since I’ve promised to show you the good, the bad, and the ugly in my home adventure and this falls into two out of those three categories, here it is.

To start cleaning this beast, I began by pulling all the small shades/globes down.

Cleaning the glass was really simple, if disgusting. I used a dry paper towel to get out the bulk of the dust, then wiped down each shade/globe with a wet washcloth. I patted each dry with a different towel, then finished off with some Windex . When I was done, this was the difference between the dirty and the clean:

Well, once I saw how clean the small shades got, I knew I couldn’t just do a quick wipe-down of the large shade, like I had originally planned on. I had Denny help me take down the large shade (which ended up being easy, but definitely a four-handed job) so that our poor chandelier looked like this:

Although, oddly enough, I rather liked this bare bones look. If I had been able to find a way to make the bottom portion presentable, I might have considered keeping it like this. Instead, I cleaned the large shade and the two of us put it back up. I put the small shades in, then popped in new bulbs. The end result was this:

I know it looks nice in this picture, but even this doesn’t really do it justice. It’s amazing what a little elbow grease and some new bulbs can do for a fixture. Wait! I didn’t tell you about the bulbs, did I? Oh, yeah. They were quite entertaining. There were 8 different types of bulbs. Did you hear that? 8! Want to see? I know you do. Here they are…

      1)   New, large 60 watt bulb

2)   Burned-out, small 15 watt bulb

3)   Two small, burned-out chandelier bulbs

4)   Small, working 15 watt bulb

5)   Small, clear 40 watt bulb

6)   Burned-out, large 60 watt bulb

7)   Small, working, soft-white 40 watt bulb

8)   Large, working chandelier bulb

Nine bulbs, only two of which are the same (ie. the small burned-out chandelier bulbs). Anyway, so I got rid of the whole lot and put in six new 60 watt bulbs in the small shades and three new chandelier bulbs. Weirdly, though, the only chandelier bulbs we could find (admittedly, in Safeway, which doesn’t have such a great selection) were blue bulbs. See?

They’re supposed to put out an exceptionally clear light—no yellowing. Which it held true to; I've never seen prettier light.

And no blue sheen, which we were worried about. The whole thing looks beautifully clean and white. And, now, since Denny is begging me to just wrap up this post already, I’ll leave you with this little reminder of just how pretty my “new” chandelier is.


  1. Ok, now next you should take the whole thing down and paint the metal. Some nice contrasty color. Go ahead. I'm waiting...

  2. @Kaydeemcdee - You know, I thought the same thing at first, but it's kind of grown on me. It goes with the curtain rod and my vine art (which has yet to be put up). I think I'll keep it.

  3. It is a beautiful fixture. I also really like the bare bones look of it, but it would be hard for it to not look odd once there were bulbs in.

  4. @Amanda - I think the top would have been okay with some clear, round, fancy bulbs, but the bottom is weird. Alas! Odd Skeleton Chandelier, you are never to be! (There's a chance I'm odd. Only a chance, mind you.)