Chandeliers have adorned spaces and provided light for hundreds of years, with the first primitive versions hung in Europe’s medieval churches and abbeys. These early chandeliers were generally not much more than a wooden cross or brass ring, set with spikes on to which candles were pushed.

Chandeliers started to make an appearance in the homes of wealthy merchants from the 15th century, but it wasn’t until the early 18th century that advances in glass-making technology saw the emergence of thousands of cut-glass and lead-crystal chandeliers in ballrooms and drawing rooms throughout Europe and America.

Today, chandeliers are once again in vogue. They have the ability to confer instant glamour upon a space, whatever your choice of decor. Designers make chandeliers in materials ranging from paper and ceramics to fibre-optics; go for a classic crystal look or choose a minimal modern piece.

In terms of the light effect you want from your chandelier, look for clear glass, chrome or mirrored pieces for bright light. To create an atmospheric glow, choose a light fitting made from porcelain, shells, paper or opaque glass. And for special effects, it’s hard to go past a coloured glass or fibre-optic piece.

We purchased this brass and glass fixture from a local hardware store (or try ) then transformed it into a chic chandelier with a few coats of white spray paint.

What you will need:

  • Chandelier
  • Metal paint primer (we used in White)
  • Cardboard box
  • Enamel spray paint (we used in Flat White)
  • Candleclip light shades

* Paints are available from hardware stores, while light shades are available from homeware or lighting stores.

Before assembling the light (if you’re using a light fitting that you already own, make a sketch of the crystals and fittings before disassembling for painting), use a metal primer to undercoat the brass elements. It’s a good idea to place your chandelier into a large cardboard box before applying paint, to prevent getting paint on nearby areas. Follow directions on tin then allow to dry for 1 hour.

Use spray paint to paint over the undercoat. Allow to dry for 10 minutes then apply additional coats (it’s better to apply several light coats rather than one heavy coat). Follow directions on the box, or refer to sketch in Step 1, to assemble your chandelier then add candleclip shades to each light bulb.