Upcycled Light Fixtures = Cool Character

Two Atlanta homeowners share some DIY inspiration for redoing light fixtures in their 1920s Craftsman-style bungalow.

Atlanta restaurateurs Calavino Donati and Doria Roberts spent their late evenings and early mornings redoing their Craftsman-style home, which was built in the 1920s. The home is filled with funky finds (like an old metal snake charmer’s box they snagged at an antique store), and one of their favorite features are their DIY light fixtures.

Eclectic Chandlier in Craftsman-style Dining Room

Eclectic Chandlier in Craftsman-style Dining Room

Doria Roberts and Calavino Donati rescued this item from the back office of a friend’s furniture shop. It's now in their Atlanta dining room as an eclectic caged chandelier.

Photo by: Christopher Oquendo Photography

Christopher Oquendo Photography

They replaced the existing lights in the home with objects that others had discarded. They took apart, rewired and replaced components, and they learned a ton of lessons along the way.

Dining Room Chandelier

What they used: The dining room chandelier is part-old, part-new. They found a fixture with a metal pulley and three arms in the back of a friend’s store in Atlanta. It hadn’t been used in years, maybe even decades. They decided to turn it into their dining room chandelier. The fixture already could be raised and lowered above their dining table since the pulley system still worked. 

What they did: They bought three white plastic cage lights (typically used for a ceiling fan) for about $2.50 each. They repainted the pulley and arms, using Rust-Oleum’s High Heat Spray, which typically is used for grills, engines and radiators. "Make sure the paint isn’t going to spark or melt," Roberts says. An electrician friend looked over the fixture, just to make sure it was safe. 

The challenge: Screwing in the Edison-style light bulbs (no joke). To lock them into place, the mechanism in the cage lights required them to turn a piece with pins on the inside of the cages while trying to screw in the bulb. It took about 40 minutes to figure out the first one, then it went faster.

Living Room and Entryway Fixtures

Craftsman Living Room with Ceiling Light

Craftsman Living Room with Ceiling Light

An old street post was taken apart for a vintage light fixture in an Atlanta living room.

Photo by: Gardener's Supply Co.

Gardener's Supply Co.

What they used: After they bought a vintage, cast-iron street lamp for $90, they realized it was too big for their home. Then they discovered that they could separate the bottom from the top. It only needed to be unscrewed. One section could be used for the hallway, and the top of the old lamp post could be their living room fixture. It ended up being a good mistake.

What they did: They first needed to remove the existing guts to avoid the potential for malfunction or a fire. Fortunately, the inside parts were only screwed into the fixture, instead of being welded. They turned each new fixture upside down and threaded it with a light fixture kit, just $10 each.

The challenge: It took about a half day and a big bottle of WD-40 to work out all of the screws, wires and bulb. They also used extra bracing for the ceiling plate to make sure the heavy fixture stayed attached. After all, they didn’t want their cool finds to rip out of the ceiling.

More Repurposed Light Fixture Ideas

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Industrial Inspiration

As seen on HGTV's Flea Market Flip, this industrial light was created by mixing metal roofing hooks with five trendy Edison bulbs.

Line of Lights

Brass candlesticks and vases make for a funky light display in this innovative creation from HGTV's Flea Market Flip.

Birdcage Floor Lamp

A thrift-store birdcage is paired with an old chandelier to create a unique floor lamp. Design by Joanne Palmisano

Photo By: Administrator ©Susan Teare

Mason Jars

Aqua and green jars are fitted with funnel tops and Edison bulbs then hung in a cluster to make a vintage-style kitchen light. Design by Brian Patrick Flynn

Wine Jug

A big bottle of vino was emptied then turned into a table lamp. The unique macramé shade adds the perfect touch of fun chic.

Photo By: Sarah Wilson/Getty Images

Library Lamp

A stack of books is sandwiched together, wired, then topped off with a wire egg basket.

Dress Form

This lamp can wear a gown for formal occasions or put on a casual frock for everyday use. Design by Joanne Palmisano

Photo By: Susan Teare ©Susan Teare

Wood Baskets Pendants

Wooden bushel baskets are repurposed as kitchen lighting. The conduits were covered in rope to give the fixtures a coastal look and to provide a nice contrast with the wallpaper-covered ceiling. Design by Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Mali Azima

Globe Light

The world is dissected at the equator then the Southern Hemisphere is turned upside down to create a semicircular lampshade.

Photo By: Sarah Wilson/Getty Images

Wash Tubs

A pair of inexpensive galvanized buckets have been converted into charming patio lighting. Design by Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Rustic White Photography, LLC

Old Pulley

A salvage-yard bracket and pulley are joined with an Edison bulb to make a rustic wall sconce. Design by Joanne Palmisano

Photo By: Susan Teare ©Susan Teare

Big Whisk

Industrial-sized bakery whisks are whipped into a stylish pair of pendants.

Photo By: Sarah Wilson/Getty Images

Tugboat Toy

A toddler's toy is transformed into an adorable table lamp. Design by Joanne Palmisano

Photo By: Susan Teare ©Susan Teare and Lindsay Raymondjack

Lego Lamp

Have a table lamp you're sick and tired of? Cover it with these classic building blocks.

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Tall Tins

Vintage-style snack tins are stacked together to make this clever floor lamp. Design by Joanne Palmisano

Photo By: Susan Teare ©Susan Teare and Lindsay Raymondjack

Cupola Cap

The peak of a barn cupola was flipped upside down to make a rustic light fixture in a wine-friendly rec room.


Save wine bottles from special occasions and use them to make a personalized chandelier. Before you begin the project, mark the label on each bottle with the date and event. This way you can look up at your new light fixture and reminisce about the time each bottle was enjoyed.

Architectural Salvage

Old columns are easy to find at most any salvage yard, and it is just as easy to drill a hole toward the bottom of the column and wire it to make a floor lamp with tons of character. Design by Joanne Palmisano

Photo By: Susan Teare ©Susan Teare

Bugle Lamp

A piece of a band's brass section was repurposed into a quirky lamp.

Photo By: Sarah Christine Wilson, Sarah Wilson/Getty Images

Book Light

The pages of a book that are adorned with an elaborate typeface and detailed artwork were used to create a tiered light fixture. The book pages were fastened to the old chandelier frame using simple binder clips.

Photo By: Sarah Wilson/Getty Images

A Tisket, A Tasket

A bunch of thrift-store baskets are roped together to make a coastal-style light fixture. Only the large basket holds the bulb; the rest are just accents. Design by Joanne Palmisano

Photo By: Susan Teare ©Joanne Palmisano


An old thrift-store light fixture is given a budget makeover. Tree branches and the fixture are spray-painted white then wrapped around the base of the fixture. Design by Joanne Palmisano

Photo By: Susan Teare

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