Budget Chandelier for our Living Room

by Richard Furleigh

Come with me on a DIY/Home improvement story in electrical work!

*Disclaimer! I am not a professional electrician, I’ve acquired skills over the years through practice and learning from others that I feel confident enough to do these things and try to teach you. If at any point it feels like it’s too much call a certified electrician! That being said I promise this isn’t complicated and is about as simple as basic safety and color matching and can be done with very simple tools.

Moving into our most recent apartment we found the lighting situation to be lacking to say the least. No ceiling fans, no hanging lights, just an outlet that worked based on the light switch and a hook to suspend a light from. Kristen had wanted a simple hanging light and in previous explorations had found a Habitat for Humanity resale store that had extras they couldn’t use as well as donated materials to sell and raise money with.

We ended up coming across a rather nice looking chandelier that was small enough to fit and with a quick internet search saw it going for up to $100 new. So since it was $20? Score! The only small problem was that as a chandelier it was made to be permanently wired in, not plugged into the outlet we needed it to go into. Since I’ve worked lighting crew for some of my theatre shows as well as done other minor electrical repairs at other places I’ve lived this wasn’t particularly daunting (ask Kristen though, she was less than certain!). So along with the chandelier I picked up a $1 appliance that had a longer cable on it and headed home to get started.

Since nothing was already wired in or plugged in the safety check was already done, so using a pair of scissors I gently cut through the housing for the wire to expose a little more (they make special tools for this, but since I don’t do this often it would be a waste of money).

Second I matched up the wires from the chandelier and my cord according to color. Red to red, black to black, green to green, and twisted them together. Some wires aren’t color coded, but have ridges to indicate which one is the “hot” wire and which isn’t, and in my case the chandelier used this method. So for me it was ridged housing to red, smooth housing to black, and exposed to green. Check on the packaging of anything you buy as it should guide you if you aren’t sure.

Third I secured the twisted wires together one at a time with electrical tape back to the cord. Because this was a patch job in the middle of the cable it wasn’t pretty, but you have to make sure there is a good layer of electrical tape in between the wires so you don’t risk a slew of awful problems later.

Lastly for aesthetic I wrapped white duct tape around the whole thing to help the two different colored wires blend in with the wall better and cover the massive black lump in the middle.

So there you go! For $21 and about 20 minutes of work we got a very nice light for our living room area that we can take with us anywhere else we move to! As I said be careful when dealing with electricity, but simple steps mean you can make simple repairs or fix up your own place for a lot less than you might have thought!

Any questions on my steps here? Let us know below and I’ll try to clarify for you, and I hope this encourages you to try things out for yourself next time something around your place isn’t working too well. Until next time Pengminions!

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