DIY Network

How to Install a Chandelier

Today's chandeliers are sleek and stylish, making them the perfect focal point for an entryway or dining room.

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Step 1: Watch an Overview Video

Step 2: Rent Scaffolding or Find a Tall Ladder

To install a chandelier, you may need to rent scaffolding or purchase a tall ladder. Removing the old fixture piece by piece helps reduce accidents.

Before starting, always turn off the power at the breaker box and put a piece of tape over it so no one will inadvertently flip it back on. Test the circuit with a circuit tester to make sure the current is indeed off.

Step 3: Consider Repainting

While you’re up there, consider painting the ceiling and walls, too. Your new chandelier will show better. Because chandeliers can be heavy, the junction box must be securely mounted into a joist.

If possible, try to wire the new chandelier the same way as the old one. If necessary, make a diagram or use masking tape and a pencil to code the wires so you’ll remember. When making connections, strip off about an inch of insulation and twist the ends of the wires together. Secure each one by twisting on a wire nut, and adding a piece of electrical tape to hold it on.

On most installations, the electrical wires must be fed through a tube or woven through a chain to get from the chandelier and the ceiling. These can be shortened if necessary by cutting the tube with a hacksaw or removing links from the chain.

Step 4: Make Sure the Fixture is Supported

One option is a braced box with a bar that extends between two ceiling joists and can be installed from below. Securely supporting the fixture will make your connections easier. You may want to add a ceiling medallion to help cover the opening and balance the look of the chandelier. Medallions come in different sizes, can be painted to any desired color and are attached with glue or nails.

For dining rooms, the width of your chandelier should be about a foot less than the width of the table, and it should be mounted 30 to 36 inches above the table to give off the best light.