Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

An elegant glass chandelier in a sunroom.

KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStockPhoto / Getty Images

It’s no overstatement to say we’re living in the golden age of lighting. There are more diverse and better-designed options at every price point – lucky us! Even so, vintage chandeliers, pendants, sconces and lamps will always have a place in my home. Why? I’m tempted to rely on a cliché and say they add a certain je ne sais quoi, except I know exactly what they bring to any room: patina, one-of-a-kind craftsmanship and soul.

“Vintage and antique fixtures have an emotional resonance,” says Michael Rosar, owner of Toronto’s Turn of the Century Lighting, a go-to source for residential, film and commercial designers. “They elicit an immediate ‘I love that!’ response, and there’s a quality and character you can’t find in a new fixture.”

So, let’s haul out your dusty chandelier. How many arms does it have? Rosar says that on average, you can expect to pay about $75 per arm – that includes wiring, sockets, sleeves and the all-important Canadian Standards Association (CSA) certification, a hallmark of safety. Depending on your budget and the initial cost, that seems like a reasonable price for refurbishing something you once felt compelled to buy.

Story continues below advertisement

That same per-arm price is worth keeping in mind for those of us shopping for antique fixtures online or at markets. If you’re stalking a 20-arm chandelier and the starting price is $500, the math is no longer in your favour unless you truly love the light and won’t regret the investment.

Rosar has a few more important tips for assessing whether a vintage fixture is a fabulous find or a flop:

  • Look for quality materials such as brass or bronze that haven’t been altered. “If a fixture is covered in house paint, it could be hiding more breaks or repairs underneath,” he says. “I’ve seen fixtures held together with epoxy or chewing gum.”
  • Avoid fixtures with damaged or missing specialty glass; a replacement will be difficult to source and increase the price considerably.
  • Consult an expert before purchasing European fixtures, which have plenty of wow factor but don’t always lend themselves to being rethreaded for North American electrical systems.

Finally, and most importantly, resist the urge to try a DIY rewiring job. “Safety is the No. 1 priority,” Rosar says. “Crossed wires can lead to a fire and that’s not only a hazard but an insurance liability.”

Need some advice about interior design and decor? Send your questions to personaldesigner@globeandmail.com.

Sign up for the weekly Style newsletter, your guide to fashion, beauty and design, and follow us on Instagram @globestyle.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies