How Do You Hang a Chandelier?

Stephanie Shaykin
Updated July 8, 2021
four adults at dining table hold wine glasses together and smile with a large chandelier hanging from the ceiling above them
Sean De Burca/The Image Bank via Getty Images

Find out how to safely hang a chandelier so it can shine bright in your home

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From a chic globe chandelier to a sparkly light fixture, lighting can add style and sophistication to your home. But hanging a chandelier is not an easy task. The weight of the fixture, the height of the ceiling, and even your skill level can make it challenging to install a chandelier or light fixture. 

That’s why it may be wise to hire a professional electrician to help prevent potential injury and ensure your lighting is installed properly. However, if you have prior electrical knowledge, you may be able to hang the lighting yourself. If that’s the case, here are some tips to help you hang a chandelier or light fixture.

Project difficulty: 3/5

Time needed to complete the project: 2 hours

Tools and materials needed: 

  • 4-in-1 screwdriver

  • Needle nose pliers

  • Non-contact voltage tester 

  • Stepladder/ladder 

  • Wire stripper/cutter

  • Voltage tester

  • Tape measurer

  • 10-32 ground screw

  • Electrical tape

  • Electrical box

  • Light fixture

  • Wire nuts

1. Prepare for the Installation of the Light Fixture

Ensure the beam or strut where you plan to hang the light fixture can support the weight of your chandelier. Typically, struts can support up to 50 pounds before you need an extra stud for mounting. 

2. Remove the Old Light Fixture (if Necessary)

Turn off the old light fixture, and remove screws from the dome box, crossbar, and domed canopy. Be careful as you lower the fixture to the ground. Remove detachable pieces from the old fixture.

3. Check the Connection Wires

Note the location of wires connected to your old light fixture or chandelier. There should be two or more wires identified by their color, surface insulation, and ridge lettering. Usually, there will be a diagram that can confirm which wire goes where. If not, you may want to identify each wire with colored tape.

4. Turn the Power Off

Ensure the power is off before installing the light fixture by using a non-contact voltage detector. Remember to turn the light switch on.

5. Prep the Electrical Box

Removing the electrical box (aka mounting box or junction box) is crucial to any chandelier installation. 

Check the electrical box to make sure it’s securely fastened to the ceiling with screws. You’ll see a white wire and a black wire and you’ll need to inspect each of them for damage. See if there are any signs of fraying. If you spot any of these issues, cut and strip away the insulation on each wire with a wire stripper tool.

6. Check Chandelier and Assemble

The components of the chandelier may come fully assembled, but if not, follow the manufacturer's instructions to build them. As you do this, make sure to clean the chandelier and wipe away any dust.

7. Measure Chain Length

The length of a chandelier chain should be 3 inches per foot of ceiling height. Make sure your chain measures 4 inches plus one chain link for every chandelier hanging loop.

8. Secure and Attach the Chandelier

The two common ways of hanging a chandelier will depend on the type of electrical box in your home. Check the instructions on the manufacturer's sheet for specific directions.

  • Mount the chandelier to the bracket of the electrical box. Then, insert the hook at the end into the bracket.

  • Hang the chandelier by threading the stem through the fixture's mounting strap and cover it with a canopy and tighten.

9. Connect the Black and White Wires

Most newer fixtures have a black wire and a white wire. Combine the black ceiling wire or electrical supply wire end with the stripped end of the black chandelier wire. 

Twist the wire nuts to join the chandelier's wires. You should make sure they're tight. Repeat with the white wires on the fixture and electrical supply, then place them all into the electric box. Fit the canopy or decorative plate over the top of everything, which will hide the excess wiring.

10. Add Light Bulbs and Finish Up

Now you're ready to show off your chandelier! It's all about preference: Incandescent bulbs give a warm glow, while halogen bulbs have a bright light, much like natural light.

Remember: Always make sure the bulbs match the correct wattage on your fixture, or installation may not work correctly.

home living room with black chandelier hanging from ceiling and modern couch and armchairs underneath
CreativaStudio/iStock/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

When Hanging a Heavy Chandelier

Due to safety concerns, always check with a local professional before completing this kind of project. There are many professionals who specialize in heavy lighting installation. 

Keep in mind that chandeliers weighing more than 50 pounds require additional support other than the electrical box. Should the box list a different weight, such as 60 pounds, follow the electrical box instructions instead. It’s vital to use a mounting bracket for strength when installing a heavy chandelier. You don't want your costly investment to come crashing down or injure someone.

Can You Hang a Chandelier Without a Stud?

You could be risking injury to someone if you hang a chandelier without a stud. The chandelier could fall and possibly shatter and hurt you or someone else. It’s best to have support for any lighting fixture you install. 

However, if you choose to go without a stud, be careful. You will need to have an additional hanging fixture, such as a hook to hold the lighting in place.

How to Hang a Chandelier Over a Table

Note: The distance from the dining table to the bottom of the chandelier's droptop is also essential when hanging your light fixture. For example, the fixture should hang 30-36 inches above the table for an 8-foot ceiling.

How Do You Hang a Chandelier on a High Ceiling?

When installing a chandelier in a high-ceiling room of two stories or more, don't let it hang any lower than the first floor. This job will require an extra tall ladder or scaffold, which may require a professional. 

The project with labor may cost between $150 and $1,500, depending on the expertise and supplies necessary to hang the fixture.

Is it Worth Hanging a Chandelier Yourself, or Should You Hire a Pro?

You can do the above installation steps manually if you have electrical safety and wiring knowledge. However, a qualified electrician near you should do the job for you if you do not have any prior knowledge of lighting installation. 

Cost to Hang a Chandelier Yourself vs. Hiring a Pro

On average, an electrician charges between $100 to $400, including labor and materials to install a chandelier. It will depend on several conditions as specified below:

Installing a Chandelier in its New Location

If you install a chandelier in a position without any wiring, it might be costly. It depends on the location of your chandelier and the condition of your home wiring and ceiling structure. But on average, the price ranges from $145 to $400. The cost is also dependent on the time and materials needed to install the fixture.

Installing a New Chandelier

When replacing a chandelier, there is little need to do any significant re-modifications. The cost will vary depending on whether the existing wiring is functional. Expect to pay around $115 to $280.

Replacing an Existing Light Fixture With a Chandelier

It costs $100 to $260 for an electrician to replace an existing light fixture with a chandelier. It is essential that your ceiling can support the weight of your chandelier. Any upgrades made to wiring or boxes will incur extra charges.

Installing a Heavy Chandelier

Hanging a heavy chandelier is more expensive than a light chandelier. Expect to pay anywhere from around $300 to $2,000, depending on size and weight. The electrician's time and extra wiring are also added to the installation cost. 

Be sure to take note of different operating expenses as prices can differ from company to company. Don’t forget to get a few quotes before making the decision on who to hire.

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