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How to Install a Vintage Ceiling Light Fixture

how to install a vintage ceiling light fixture simpledecoratingtips.com

I’mmm baaaaack!!!

Finally, I have our new house renovation to a point that I feel I can start contributing some of my time and energy to writing and hopefully encouraging you to gain some confidence to take on a new project too! Maybe not a whole house renovation, but at least learning a new simple decorating tip… (or perhaps learn what not to do, there’s always that too!)

The renovation isn’t 100% done,

but it mostly is completed inside… and mostly finished outside… we still are moving boxes in from storage and sorting through all that stuff, keeping what we will use, and selling/donating what we won’t. Some of the landscaping will just have to wait until next spring. Fortunately, though, I feel the crazy pressure is finally relieved. Our ‘stuff’ now has a finished space to be put. What a great settled feeling!

Today I’m going to share a super simple project that can make a huge difference in a room…

how to install a vintage ceiling light fixture.

A new light fixture comes in a box with instructions… not so with a vintage light. I’ve never once had any instructions included with a single one I’ve purchased! LOL

Take note… I am not an electrician! I’ve installed many light fixtures… but I’m no expert… so if in doubt, consult an electrician. We’ve used many vintage lights on our renovation project, (here is the link to see how and why I incorporated vintage and new light fixtures on the rest of the main level) I’ve consulted with my electrician on many of them… he’s installed several for me too!

Typically it’s a little jimmy-rigging and problem solving when it comes to vintage light fixtures. Some of them just don’t go up the same way new lights do and you have to figure them out case by case.

how to install a vintage ceiling light fixture simpledecoratingtips.com

I had actually forgotten about the pigtail light that was the temporary light fixture we put up during the renovation,

until one evening when one of my granddaughters, who was having a sleepover, looked up from her bed while getting tucked in and said, “Grandma, could we get a real light in here?” That sent me on a search for a fun vintage, (or even new but just vintage looking light) with a nautical spin for their room. We have a set of prints from a vintage ‘Bozo Under the Sea’ book framed in that room and I wanted to play off that nautical theme for this room. (our grandchildren have joined us in Maine on summer vacations, and it was those really special Maine memories that were the inspiration for the decor in their room at our house.)

Here is one of my favorite places to search for vintage light fixtures!! (affiliate)

My search led me to find not a single new light that had a cute nautical vintage feel… but between Ebay and Etsy, I found several vintage light fixtures that tickled my fancy! This vintage light I finally decided on really looks charming with the ‘Under the Sea’ prints too.

So here’s how to install a vintage light fixture… (well at least one like this)

how to install a vintage ceiling light fixture simpledecoratingtips.com

This vintage light fixture I installed today in the ‘kid’s bedroom’ is a very simple install. There is a single down-rod that screws into the electrical box’s cross-bar. That single down-rod then holds the pan, or flat part of the fixture, against the ceiling as well as hold the globe on the pan with an outside nut. (don’t you love my technical terms?!)

how to install a vintage ceiling light fixture simpledecoratingtips.com

The ceiling electrical box already had the crossbar with a screw-in rod opening.

Even though the mounting bar hole was too large for this light fixture’s down-rod, there was an adapter in the hole that worked perfectly! The inside of the adapter fit the down-rod and the outside of the adapter fit the cross-bar opening.

how to install a vintage ceiling light fixture simpledecoratingtips.com

Before it came time to use the down-rod though, I had to wire the fixture to the ceiling electrical box. The covering on the wires is a bit stained in the picture, but it was in very good condition, no bare wires at all.

how to install a vintage ceiling light fixture simpledecoratingtips.com

There are 3 black wires and 3 white wires, (since this vintage fixture has 3 light bulbs) The single white ceiling wire gets the 3 white wires from the fixture attached to it. Same goes for the black wires. White to white, and black to black, both groups held with wire nuts.

how to install a vintage ceiling light fixture simpledecoratingtips.com

After the wires were secured, I screwed in the down-rod, adjusting the nut that holds the pan in place.

This is a bit of trial and error… The down-rod needs to be screwed into the cross-bar enough to actually hold the light up. But it needs to be long enough, (not too long though) to come down through the globe and stick out just enough for the outside nut to screw into it securing the globe to the light.

If the down-rod is too long though, then after the outside nut is screwed on, holding the globe, the globe won’t fit snug against the pan… see the trial and error part?

how to install a vintage ceiling light fixture simpledecoratingtips.com

Sounds more complicated than it is… I just tried the length I thought would work, and then dry fit the globe on. After a little adjusting, and checking to be sure the down-rod was still secure in the cross-bar, I tightened the inside nut on the rod holding the pan. Finally holding the globe with one hand and screwing the outside nut with the other.

how to install a vintage ceiling light fixture simpledecoratingtips.com

So. Darn. Cute!

I love the vintage nautical charm of it! I just can’t find the same charming qualities in new light fixtures that I find in vintage ones.

how to install a vintage ceiling light fixture simpledecoratingtips.com

Speaking of vintage charm… Do you see those ‘Bozo Under the Sea’ prints? Next time I’m going to give you a HUGE tip. I figured out how to hang a set of prints that close. (and not lose my mind in the process!!)

Here you can read more tips and tutorials:

Thanks so much for stopping by! Please feel free to follow and share this blog with your friends, as well as on Facebook, Pinterest, Flipboard, Bloglovin, YouTube and now Instagram! I appreciate you reading along.

This post is linked at the following other sites: My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, StoneGable, Yesterday on Tuesday, Skip to my Lou, Between Naps on the Porch, A Stroll Thru Life, Savvy Southern Style, My Repurposed Life, Little Bits of Home, My Thrift Store Addiction, A Delightsome Life, Chic on a Shoestring, Simply Sweet Home, French Country Cottage

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  1. Patricia Ormerod says

    bit concerned about the wiring, think it should have been renewed before the light fixture was installed.

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