Backyard Elegance – Repurpose a Vintage Chandelier

Imagine this scenario…

You’re strolling through the woods on a gorgeous afternoon, just enjoying the day when you come to the most fabulous clearing. Inside this clearing is a chippy white wrought iron bench, two matching chairs, and a table nestled into the alluring smell of fresh chipped wood. The bench and chairs have pillows on them that look like they were made using the floral vintage sheets you remember from your grandmothers house. But the best part? Three elegant chandeliers hung from the branches of the tree directly over the sitting area. Ah….

Photo by Christina Carroll Photography
Photo by Christina Carroll Photography

After stumbling upon this photo, I am inspired to create just a setting in the woods on our property. A secret place that no one will know about unless I share it with them. A place to relax. Maybe read a book. Certainly a place to dream in.

If you don’t have a wooded area where you live, you could still repurpose a vintage chandelier and hang it from a tree in your backyard, in a tree in a garden, or over a patio or deck, or perhaps even from a tree in your front yard!

Finding Vintage Chandeliers

chandelierinwoods2
Recently found chandelier, soon to be repurposed
In today’s modern age, chandeliers from older homes are being replaced with newer lighting options. This is a good great thing for us, as it makes it much easier to find affordable vintage chandeliers to use for this project! So, where do you find old chandeliers? Here are some places to check:

  • Thrift Stores
  • Estate Sales
  • Garage / Yard Sales
  • ReStore Shops
  • Salvage Shops
  • Craigslist
  • Local Facebook Sale Groups

Customizing Vintage Chandeliers

It doesn’t matter what finish your chandelier has, you can customize it to match your style or decor. Here are some ideas for refinishing and embellishing a vintage chandelier:

  • Repaint – Remove all wiring and light bulbs, then clean the metal very well. Use sandpaper to lightly sand the surface of the metal, then use an outdoor-rated spray paint to repaint the metal. You may need several light coats of paint, depending on the color you’ve selected. Once the paint has thoroughly dried, you can replace the wiring and the bulbs.
  • Embellish – Add beads and crystals to the chandelier to customize and embellish it. Thread beads onto stainless steel wire and hang the beads from the chandelier, or wrap the beaded wired around the light holders. You could even repurpose vintage costume jewelry as the beads and embellishments. Be creative! There are SO many ways you could embellish with beads and crystals! If you prefer, you could also embellish the chandelier using silk flowers or live moss. Or replace the light bulbs and mount small birdhouses in their place. Let your imagination run wild!
  • Hang – To hang the chandelier from a tree or patio arbor, you could use lengths of fabric (similar to the photo above), rustic rope, or even chains from the hardware store. Whatever you use to hang the chandelier can match your surrounding decor.
  • Lights – Obviously, if you are hanging the chandelier in the woods from a tree, you are not going to have electricity to light the bulbs. Instead, you could use candles or battery operated candles in place of the bulbs.

Why stop at one chandelier! Find several in different styles and hang them together in your yard!

How would you embellish a vintage chandelier for a project like this? Share in the comments below!

JayDee / ThirdShiftVintage.com

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4 comments

  1. An old dresser, a forlorn chair and a chandelier over the limb of our ancient oak tree made a perfect little photo spot for a garden bridal shower. Thanks JD for your suggestions!

  2. I love the idea of hanging chandeliers from tree limbs – and I have lots of trees to choose from! Thanks for the ideas!

  3. I have a small sitting area in my side yard that has a mature Chinese maple tree spreading out over it. A small chandelier would look beautiful and add a bit of fantasy to the spot. Thanks for the inspiration. 🙂

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