The Perfect DIY Drum Shade Chandelier Under $50

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” – Neil Armstrong, Lunar Landing

I thought that quote would be appropriate as I bring to you the first true, full-fledged post on this new blog of ours. To begin, the majority of the narrations on this delectable dose of daily DIY – alliteration overkill – will be the Mrs. That’s because Mr. DIY is refining his golf swing this morning which, as I’m quickly acknowledging, is an important part of married life. I dig it though because it affords me some quality time for just me and my projects.

The latest one I have been focusing on is rethinking the lighting in our half-finished dining room.

drum shade chandelier

One of the first things we did when we moved into the house was to install can lighting in the kitchen and dining room. Can lighting in this case provided some general task lighting. If you’re not familiar with the different types of interior lighting I would recommend reading this HGTV article that details the five types very well. Beyond the task lighting there was still a brass, out-of-style-but-don’t-be-offended-if-you-have-one-like-it chandelier in the middle of the room.  Here’s a closer look.

drum shade chandelier

I decided that I wanted to replace the fixture with a piece of aesthetic lighting. So off I went to my favorite store, Amazon.com to view some light fixtures.

$65 dollars seemed like a steal until I realized that was just for the lampshade. The lighting stem would cost another $50-$100 depending on model. Plus it seemed a tad too modern to juxtapose with my country chic red sideboard. More on my design style later.

Then while reading Centsational Girl’s column for BHG I saw it. The dining room light fixture of my dreams was perfectly country and modern and luxurious all at once.

drum shade chandelier

Image Courtesy BHG Magazine Online

I had never seen anything like it, and after I began searching for “lampshade chandelier” and “drum shade chandelier” I wished I had never seen it. They were all so expensive! That’s when I found this light fixture re-do by Young House Love. (My favorite blog). My next step was clear. I had to bargain hunt. The first stop was Craigslist which to my pleasant surprise yielded this Restoration Hardware 24″ lampshade for $25. It was even still in the wrapper. (Original price $100, the savings were unreal).

drum shade chandelier

Now I had my shade, but what about the actual fixture? One option was to spraypaint my existing one like John and Sherry from YHL did, but mine was significantly smaller than the chandelier they re-did. So off to my second favorite store, the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Anytime I can get a great deal and the proceeds go to charity I’m all over it. Here’s my loot:

drum shade chandelier

I even left the Restore price tag on just in case you didn’t believe me when I said this was $10. Sure it didn’t come with the glass cups for each bulb or a ceiling plate or light bulbs, but I don’t need any of those. The best part was that it was already a perfect wrought-iron black so I wouldn’t have to paint it. (See the inspiration picture above, we’re getting close aren’t we?) I did know that I would need to re-use the old ceiling plate, so I spraypainted that (A) along with the support chain (B), the cap that attaches the chain to the threaded support secured into the ceiling (C), and the threaded loop that attaches to the top of the chandelier (D).

drum shade chandelier

Once the pieces were dry it was time to attach the shade to the fixture. The metal circle at the center of the shade was too thick to fit between the threaded loop and the base on the chandelier. To extend it I used a threaded coupling that was attached to the original threaded bolt, and a longer piece of threaded “nipple” as they call it at the hardware store.

drum shade chandelier

The finished product looked like this:

drum shade chandelier

First the coupling and nipple were attached to the light fixture stem with the wires running through it (H). Then the lamp shade was placed over the threaded pipe (G). To make the fixture snug and prevent the shade from swiveling I placed two metal washers on top of the shade connector (F) and then perhaps most importantly the ground wire was placed on top of the washers (E). The final layer was the threaded top loop of the chandelier pictured as figure D in the first diagram.

The next steps involve electrical, make sure you know your way around wires before you decide to hard wire a new lamp. Or call someone who does. Or watch this video from Build.com that explains how to install a chandelier. This is what the ceiling will look like once you remove the old light.

drum shade chandelier

The center pole has threads on it like a bolt and is secured to a cross-brace that is secured to an electrical box that is secured to the floor joists. In other words, it’s secure. The wiring was the quickest part of this project.

drum shade chandelier

And voila! A new drum shade chandelier is born. Aside from the sub-par photography skills, I’d say I fulfilled my inspiration perfectly. The fixture itself only set us back $35 before the cost of the lightbulbs. Not bad for a day’s work and it adds drama and aesthetic lighting as promised.

drum shade chandelier

Since Robert and I are environmentally-friendly folk (we do live in CA) and we like to keep our utility bills as low as possible we opted for these wonderful LED light bulbs by CREE. At 40W each and a warm white color they provide perfect mood lighting. It’s estimated these lights will last for 20 years and cost on average $0.72 per year to operate. That is music to our ears. Available at Amazon.com, click the picture for more details.

That’s all folks. Stay tuned for more do-it-yourself posts and tutorials and feel free to post questions and comments below!

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