Making an interior space take on a more dramatic or rustic flair is possible in a number of ways, but there are few methods that make as immediate a change as replacing existing lighting with a chandelier. While the challenges of hanging a space-changing fixture might seem intimidating, there are some tips that make the job much more accessible.
1. Turning off the electricity to the existing fixture is a must. Taking out the old fixture means that you’re working with the wiring, and you can’t work with wiring that is connected to live electricity. Even after you’ve switched off the circuit breaker that manages the room where you will work and checked the light switch by turning it on and off, you need to go a step further when you take the twist-on connectors off the wiring. Take an electrical tester and connect the two exposed leads. If the light does not come on, you’re safe to remove the wiring and start removing the old fixture.
2. Take out the old electrical box. These boxes are only rated to hold a load of 50 pounds. If you are installing a chandelier, particularly one made of antlers or with another rustic theme, it is likely to be significantly heavier. This means that you’ll need to get rid of the existing box to put in a stronger support system. If the box has been nailed to a joist, you can pry it out with a flat bar. If the box is metal and connects to a metal hanger bar, you’ll need a close-quarter hacksaw to cut the bar in half and get the box out. If it has a cable connector, loosen the screws and pull out the cable. With a plastic box, you can pry the fin holding the cable in place with a screwdriver and then pull the cable free.
3. Leave the fan brace a bit of slack. The fan brace is an important part of the structural support you’re using to hold this heavier fixture in place. First, you’ll want to make sure that the feet of the brace sit flat on the plaster or dry wall. Once it’s in place, you can turn the brace with your hand until you feel it digging into the joists. If you tighten it too much, it will make nails pop, leaving holes in the dry wall down closer to the floor. Just use a couple of turns past hand tight with an adjustable wrench.
4. Connect the U-bolt correctly. Most chandelier kits come with a U-bolt, hex nuts and a metal support flange. The U-bolt goes up and over the fan brace before you push the support flange onto the bolt’s ends. Make sure that the two ends line up correctly with the holes atop the electrical box.
5. Match the chandelier with other details. If you are making a bold statement in a space by hanging a chandelier with a rustic flair, whether it’s a connection of antlers or an old wagon wheel, you have to make the rest of the room match it. This might mean that you have branding irons on the walls, or old photographs from the Old West. If the chandelier is hanging under an outdoor porch or over a patio, hanging some old license plates and baling hooks on the wall makes a deft touch.
Every home is different, so it’s important to put the right tips to work for you. The most important part is that you enjoy sprucing up your living and entertaining spaces!
These are just a few simple ways to begin to decorate with a great set of antlers. With the antler decorating trend at it’s highest right now, throwing together some of these ideas will make your home modern and trendy, but will also give it a look that is rustic and timeless. Give your home that woodsy warm feel with some simple spins on hanging these great pieces.
Mark Thompson is the owner of Casthorn Designs. He is also the designer of our lighting and an avid outdoors-man.