Redressing A New Chandelier

The big box home improvement stores have a great selection of low cost lighting fixtures. Many of these incorporate prisms, but these are very low cost plastic or molded glass pieces that imitate real crystal but make the fixtures look cheap. By using these frames you can replace the glass or plastic cheap pieces with genuine crystal or even upgrade to Swarovski/Strass prisms that will make your fixture an heirloom piece.

You need a bit of vision, a pinning pliers and a budget. Many of the fixtures can be found for under $200. My example here was $75.00 at The Home Depot. It has 400 very low quality glass pieces decorating the main part of the fixture plus a 300mm ball hanging from the center.

We're upgrading this frame with 450 Swarovski Red Magma octagons. The fixture will be installed in a hallway that doesn't require much light, but I want something that is really nice and unique. I chose Red Magma because it will be a softer light to transition between rooms. This fixture has 3 bulbs so I'll use 25W bulbs which will make the prisms sparkle but not overpower. There are other manufacturers that make red octagons but nothing that matches the quality of color that the Swarovski products produce. The cut is spectacular as you can see from the samples in the picture.

I started my project by pulling all the old prisms off the fixture. The total time to remove the old prisms was about a half hour. The only tool I needed is a prism pliers, which is a small pliers with a needle nose. The original fixture had 50 strands of 8 piece octagons and I'm adding one bead to give it a bit more "drape". So I'm going to use 450 red octagons. Many people incorporate a color pattern and use more than a single color prism. I was tempted but because it is going in a hallway I wanted darker colors.

Creating the new strands takes about an hour and putting them on the light takes about an hour. Total time invested is about 2 1/2 hours. The tray price for the prisms is $0.67 each for a total of $301.50 from In the end I'll have a spectacular one-of-a-kind light that I did myself for under $400.00 with genuine Swarovski crystal. To use Swarovski's Spectra line of slightly lower cost prisms would be $0.21 each for only $94.50 for the crystal prisms. Using Asfour Egyptian leaded crystal prisms would be only slightly less cost than the Spectra option.

Decorators, designers and smart homeowners are using lighting today to really "make" a room. Your good eye for design and color allows you to find frames anywhere and using a little time you can create a stunning look for any room on a budget by upgrading and redressing the fixture to your liking. The use of colored prisms is a very hot decorator touch. is based in Fergus Falls, Minnesota and is one of the largest chandelier parts suppliers in the nation and an Authorized Swarovski Reseller.