basement family room makeover | 1800’s chandelier

by | Aug 2, 2021 | All Things Home, Antiques, Decorating, Family Room, My House, Room Makeovers | 99 comments

Nothing quite says “relaxed basement family room” like an 1800’s chandelier dripping with crystals.  Am I right or am I right?

Okay, not really.  In fact, when I shared the very meticulous sketch for this particular area of the family room, I drew out what is clearly a lantern-style light fixture.  Not an 1800’s crystal chandelier.

basement family room makeover | miss mustard seed

Clearly, a lantern fixture.

Buuuut, I looked around online for a lantern-style light fixture I loved quite thoroughly and they were either more than I wanted to pay or not quite the look/style I imagined.  A couple of weeks ago, I shared this quote from Feels Like Home on Instagram

Quote from Feels Like Home book | Marian Parsons | always start with what you have | miss mustard seed

I actually had a chandelier and I hadn’t even thought of using it!

The main reason I hadn’t thought of using it is it wasn’t what I envisioned.  And, it seemed like sort of a crazy idea to try it.  Those of you who have followed me here on the blog for many years and who followed my hints on Instagram may have guessed the light fixture I was going to try.  It’s the 1800’s chandelier that we removed from my Opa’s house before it was put on the market.

formal dining room | 1800's chandelier | miss mustard seed

We were initially going to leave it in the house, but after I wrote THIS POST, so many of my readers encouraged me to keep it.  I knew it would be worth the trouble of taking it down and wrapping all of the crystals, but it also seemed like an impractical thing to lug around.  But, we have.  We stored it in our basement in PA and we moved it with us to Minnesota.  I even had plans to try to hang it in our foyer, but it was going to be too expensive to have an electrician hang it and we’d then have to pay to remove it whenever we move.  (Since it’s a family piece, I wouldn’t want to leave it.)

So, it’s been sitting on a bucket in the utility room, all of the crystals wrapped and boxed up.  It always made me a little sad to see such a beautiful 1800’s chandelier sitting on a 5-gallon bucket next to the water softener, but this isn’t a simple light fixture to use.  It was originally a gas fixture that belonged to my great-great-grandparents.  It is incredibly heavy and almost needs to have a room built around it (my Opa’s dining room was built around this fixture.)  I wasn’t going to be able to hang it in the dining room of my suburban MN home, which was certainly not built to hold such a heavy fixture.

But, in the basement, it could work because we had to swag the fixture anyway.  We could hang it from a heavy-duty hook screwed into a joist that could easily support its weight.  It would also be easy to take it down whenever we sell this house.

It was free to try (well, we had to spend a few dollars on a hook), so we decided to go for it.  If it looked silly, we could just take it down.  I had the odd feeling that it would work.  Not only would it give us a fixture to hang over a table to provide light for puzzles and games, but it also would get the fixture out of the utility room.  And it definitely works with the gentleman’s lunch club/English library sort of vibe.

basement family room makeover | 1800's chandelier | miss mustard seed

(I still need to fix the cord cover so it fits properly.)

Right when it went up, I was excited about it.  Not only excited but so happy that this gorgeous 1800’s chandelier is hanging in my house instead of sitting on a bucket.

I kept saying to Jeff, “Doesn’t this look so cool?!  It’s so over the top!”

basement family room makeover | 1800's chandelier | miss mustard seed

I then started the process of hanging each crystal onto the chandelier.  This is a tricky process because most of the crystals weren’t labeled and there were two different types and four different sizes!  We also used one extra tier that my Opa hadn’t used, so I had to account for that.

basement family room makeover | 1800's chandelier | miss mustard seed

It took me a couple of hours, but I got it all figured out!  It might not be right, but it works.

I never ever would’ve shopped for an 1800’s crystal chandelier for this room makeover!  Certainly not one this big and ornate.  But, I love it.

basement family room makeover | 1800's chandelier | miss mustard seed

Yes, it is a little crazy and totally over the top, but it seems to work.  It’s surprising in a good way.

basement family room makeover | 1800's chandelier | miss mustard seed

I have to admit, it makes me smile to think of playing family board games and doing puzzles under this chandelier.  I mean, why not?

basement family room makeover | 1800's chandelier | miss mustard seed

Here are some close-ups of this 1800’s chandelier…

basement family room makeover | 1800's chandelier | miss mustard seed

I’ve never seen another one like it…

basement family room makeover | 1800's chandelier | miss mustard seed

The best part is that while the chandelier is definitely formal, the furnishings and the room itself are still very casual.  It can still be used for sleepovers, pizza/movie nights, and hanging out with friends.  It’ll just all be done with a huge 1800’s crystal chandelier handed down from my great-great-grandparents in the room!

basement family room makeover | 1800's chandelier | miss mustard seed

You may have also noticed I found the round oak table I was looking for!  I’ll share more on that tomorrow…

99 Comments

  1. Diane Orciuoli

    I love it! Love love love it!

    Reply
    • Lisa

      I love it, I really love the copper, with the blue painted walls.

      Reply
    • Nicole Martin

      I LOVE it!!

      The sentiment is priceless and it looks fabulous with your wall color!

      Reply
    • Teresa Cunningham

      I’m all for using the anti/un-obvious in a space. I’m so glad you hung this fixture in your basement man-room. Bravo!

      Reply
  2. Crystal Anderson

    I love it!! I always say “shop at home first”. I’ve kicked myself many times for buying something for a space, and realizing after I got it home that I have something somewhere else in the house that works better than what I just bought.
    The chandelier looks amazing!

    Reply
    • Carole Prisk

      It looks great!

      Reply
  3. Isabelle

    Gorgeous! I love it! It will be a great combination of high and low pieces.

    Reply
  4. Jo Ann

    Perfect, even the color. It’s truly beautiful, unexpected and FUN! Love it. Good job.

    Reply
  5. CathyR

    It’s so perfect, no wonder you love it. Everything about this is beautiful but especially the provenance, the age, its presence, just everything!

    Reply
  6. Deborah Raney

    Against that gorgeous painted wall: perfection! And so very special that it belonged to your Opa!

    Reply
    • Sue in Northern Iowa

      Wow. Just wow!

      Reply
      • Cindy Kahrs

        I love it! Just perfect! What a treasure.

        Reply
    • CHRISTI CONARD

      It’s fabulous and looks fantastic in your room! I know it will make you happy every time you look at it. I have an old light fixture from my grandparents I have had in many homes over the years. It’s not as fancy as yours, but still precious to me. At our current home, it’s in my walk-in closet, and it makes me so 😊

      Reply
  7. Terry A.

    Very cool!!! I love it!

    Reply
    • Denise

      Absolutely beautiful! Perfect…

      Reply
  8. Darleen

    It’s stunning! So unique! No throwing the football in this room!!

    Reply
  9. Shawn M Gaines

    So beautiful and different!! Love it and glad you hung it up to enjoy!

    Reply
  10. Laura

    OH, how I adore an antique brass or bronze and crystal chandelier! I’m glad you found such a perfect location for this family heirloom.

    Reply
  11. Betty Young

    Oh, yes. I am so glad you saved it and you are using it in your Library! I love to watch your process in decorating. Nice and slow. Thoughtful and constant.

    Reply
    • Lisa P

      This special (and spectacular!) family chandelier will give you pleasure every time you walk into the room!

      Reply
  12. Julia - Ponder & Purchase

    Brilliant!!! You just have the knack of putting things together, I hope this makeover makes it into Feels Like Home 2!!!

    Reply
  13. Babs

    Wonderful! I bet you smile every time you look at it…I know I would. The fact that it is a family piece is just icing on the “upside down wedding cake” chandelier. You are so going to enjoy this room.

    Reply
  14. Elise

    Just gorgeous!!! Makes me want to pull out my grandmother’s chandelier that’s sitting in a box in my mother’s garage!!

    Reply
  15. Andrea

    Absolutely next level! How perfect! Now it’s going to be interesting to hunt for the piece next to the slider, and see how it all relates. Coming together so beautifully!

    Reply
    • Debbie

      Oh my it works! What a wonderful happenstance! It adds such charm and history to the room.

      Reply
  16. MaryLisa

    I love that it has your family history attached to it. Enjoy

    Reply
  17. Marie

    Fantastic! I’m so jealous. Please don’t hate me, but I can’t help wonder how often does that need cleaned and do the tiny wires ever break when you clean it?

    Reply
    • Kim

      My grandmother cleaned them with ammonia and water once a year. Marians Mom

      Reply
      • Claire

        What a wonderful way to use the fabulous fixture, over a table where you and your family will spend time together. Cudos to you and yours for holding onto it through the years.

        Reply
  18. Leslie C.

    Be still my heart….to me it adds that touch of European elegance. Absolutely beautiful.

    Reply
  19. Teddee Grace

    I love it! So glad for the chandelier! It is going to have a lot of fun lighting the way and observing all of the activities you have planned for this room!

    Reply
  20. Sharon Pires

    It looks magnificent, especially with the wall color. Brava!

    Reply
  21. Dara Lansing

    It’s a lovely thing and with the round table and wingback chairs looks very much like a Victorian or Edwardian gamesroom or drawing room. I think it look perfect

    Reply
  22. Rebecca Miller

    I love the combination of casual and formal. This chandelier also shows up beautifully against your paint color. Just make sure the boys won’t be throwing any balls or shooting Nerf guns in that direction! Looking forward to seeing the curtains. They will enhance the chandelier even more!!

    Reply
  23. MaryAnn

    It looks amazing! That chandelier is a real treasure!

    Reply
  24. Kathleen

    Very cool ! You just never know until you try something !

    Reply
  25. Melissa

    Stunning, so glad you found a place for it.

    Reply
  26. Cindy

    Ha I love it! While it’s ornate, it has kinda a lounge-y feel that totally works! Now you just need a few cigars, lol!

    Reply
  27. Helène Reid

    A family treasure. That makes it perfect. I hope someone in the family has the silver candelabra in the photo of Opas dining room. I have a similar set from my Aunt and just love them.

    Reply
  28. Andrea Virnau

    That is EPIC! It looks amazing, is unexpected and cool. I love the shape of the crystals. Go you!

    Reply
  29. Anita

    I love it and the story that goes with it!

    Reply
  30. Ethel Alderson

    Can believe you and many making comments are blessed with family heirlooms and aren’t using them!!!!!!!! Think of the history not the look. Thanks for sharing! Looking forward to the oak table history.

    Reply
  31. Eileen

    Buried treasure right under your nose!!! Absolutely perfect and so stunning. If it could talk, it would probably say, “About time, Marian!!”. I always believe in shopping the house. Boy, did you ever do that!!!! That room is no longer a basement. When I was living in a 4500 square foot house, I called the downstairs the “lower level”. It was much too beautiful to call it a basement. The definition of a basement is “according to the regulations of the National Building Code or building by-laws, a basement can be used only as a storage, dark room, bank cellar, parking space or to keep equipment requiring constant air conditioning. You definitely have a “lower level” or something equally representative of your beautiful decorating and that chandelier!!

    Reply
  32. Cheryl

    Very Beautiful!

    Reply
  33. Celia

    What a treasure!! So fun & So Beautiful!! So glad you are using it here!

    Reply
  34. Jodi

    Looks amazing! If it’s not fixed already I’d lower it further over the table. Will look amazing on cold dark winter nights!

    Reply
  35. Charlotte

    I think it’s beautiful… plus, think of it this way: generations of your family are in the room with you on family game nights… think of how many family dinners, events this chandelier has seen?

    Reply
  36. Sally

    All I can say is , WOW!

    Reply
  37. Kelly

    You’re right, it couldn’t be more perfect!!! Give yourself a couple of pat’s on the back for this design choice!! I think it looks better than fabulous, it looks perfect!!

    Reply
  38. Maureen

    I think it’s perfect.

    Reply
  39. Laurie

    Handsome and beautiful at the same time!

    Reply
  40. Lynne Glynn

    Love love love it!!!!!

    Reply
  41. Clorinda

    Omg. I absolutely love it.

    Reply
  42. Dolores Pap

    Unexpected and beautiful! Your Opa would be touched to know that his favorite piece has found its perfect home..

    Reply
  43. VELI550

    Absolutely stunning and perfect in every way! You picked the winner!

    Reply
  44. PattiC

    It’s beautiful!! Looks great against your new paint color. I know you’re thrilled you thought to use it. Looking forward to seeing the room step by step.

    Reply
  45. Martha Weber

    It is really beautiful. I think it’s a priceless reminder of someone special to you. .

    I have moved a chandelier each time I moved (10 times) . It was a gift from my sweet grandmother. It’s now hangs in my master bathroom. I had an electrician hang it over my garden tub. I keep it lit all the time..it’s has a dimmer switch …it adds a sweet glow. Nothing beats family gifts….

    Reply
  46. Debbie Hibbert

    Oh my goodness … this definitely would have looked glorious in your entryway!! But I LOVE it here, and you’ll have more opportunity to just sit and enjoy it in the family room. What a treasure to have!

    So I followed the link to read the post when you told about the chandelier originally. You also told about the decanter that was gifted from Robert E. Lee. Were you ever able to identify which one it was?

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      We weren’t! I believe my brother has the collection and we’ve kept them together since we’re not sure which one it is. One day, we’ll probably have them assessed by an expert to see if he/she can at least identify the one that is of the right time period or, at least, rule out ones that aren’t.

      Reply
  47. Linda O

    Absolutely beautiful!

    Reply
  48. Jane Allen

    I love it, it is so perfect in so many ways!

    Reply
  49. Pat Mays

    Love love love it. I have one in a bin in my basement too! And now I am for sure going to get it out and swag to use love it.

    Reply
  50. Betty McIntyre

    Exquisite…❤️…Perfect…❤️

    Reply
  51. Alice Blackmer

    Love it. It’s a fabulous piece and it will be so fun to design around it.

    Reply
  52. Mary S

    It certainly makes the room. Hope the boys don’t get involved in a pillow fight and it ends up being in the middle of that. So glad you were able to use it, instead of it living on the top of a bucket 🙂 Very awesome!! and
    hopefully it’s able to be taken down in the event you sell the house. I certainly wouldn’t leave it behind. Getting closer to the final reveal!!

    Reply
  53. Sue Sieg

    Marian,

    The chandelier is stunning! I think painting all the trim, etc., the same color (as you discussed the other week as a possibility) would be amazing and give this piece even more presence! But whatever you do, it will be beautiful…..no doubt there!

    Sue

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      Yes! I agree and am painting all of the trim and doors. They stick out even more to me now.

      Reply
  54. Rita

    Several years ago I found an old light fixture with three crystal orbs to it. I haven’t used it yet – it has to be rewired but I have had second thoughts about using it. It was a Goodwill find for less than $15. I’m thinking I need to get it hung and see how it looks. What I have got to lose, right? This one looks amazing and of course it fits in with your decor. I don’t think it is that over the top considering all the other elements you will have going. Spectacular as usual.

    Reply
  55. Mary

    Hi Marion!
    What wall color did you use in this room? I love it! And the chandelier!

    Reply
    • Mary

      Sorry I misspelled your name😟

      Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      No problem! I get Marian with an “o” a lot. 🙂 I used Oval Room Blue in this room. You can find other posts about it, but you can order a sample from Dreamy Whites Atelier.

      Reply
  56. Patricia Kasparian

    So nice that your heirloom has its new home. Bravo!!

    Reply
  57. Elena M. in Miami

    I am one of those “house people” you mentioned in a previous post; I look forward to you basement remodel posts so much, it’s been a while since I have enjoyed a topic so much (not to throw shade at the art or furniture ones, I just love decor and you have such great taste and eye for it!) The chandelier looks great, I love how you have all these pieces just lying around – chairs, chests, tables, and how you move things around in your home to make them look brand new in a new spot! One question, I also need to swag a light fixture in my living room because it is not centered on my dining table-but I also worry about the weight from a little hook. What type of hook is that you used, is it simply screwed to an existing rafter or is it being held by something else through the rafter? How heavy is that chandelier and is the hook labeled in some way for heavy items? I’d love to know! Looking forward to more, more, more!!

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      We used the same kind of hook we used to hang the pot rack in my kitchen and they are graded for several hundred pounds. It would take a massive amount of weight/force to bend this hook. It’s also about 3″ long and we screwed it directly into a ceiling/floor joist, so it’s not going anywhere. Something like this would provide plenty of support for most chandeliers.

      Yes, just look for a thick, heavy-duty hook that’s 3-4″ long, not just a light-duty hook for hanging plants, etc.

      Reply
  58. Mary Zeilinger

    This is going to be soooo good. The chandy. The wingbacks. That print fabric.

    Reply
  59. Joanie

    I know you probably won’t get a chance to read another comment on the chandelier, I have to say it’s gorgeous but, what I noticed right away is how well it ties in so well with the color of the cabinetry that your husband wants to keep stained. So perfect!

    Reply
  60. Michele M.

    WOW. It truly does work. Whodathunk it? Well done, Marian.
    I have never ever seen a chandy like that. I think your Opa would be so proud of you.

    Reply
  61. Beverlee Lyons

    It is even more fitting since it was your Opas. I love it. LOVE it.

    Reply
  62. Stacy

    Hi! It’s lovely and any usual shape for that time period!
    I wonder, did you have it required? I bought three chandeliers at an auction last year, and they aren’t wired very well (pre-electricity). I have to go to the expense of an antique restoration should I want to use them for anything other than just decoration. Do you have any advice on this? Have you ever done it? Thanks!

    Reply
  63. Amy

    What a showstopper! And the chandy’s provenance is so endearing. You’ll be reminded of your Opa every time you walk into the room and maybe spark some stories about your grandparents to share with your boys.

    Reply
  64. peters jackie

    I think it looks absolutely perfect and why not……

    Reply
  65. Kay Hess Grogg

    I admire your courage to try something out of the ordinary! A family piece of this caliber is dynamic on so many levels. My mother saved a brass original oil chandelier about this size from the dining room of her family’s late 1700″s home in Charlottesville, VA and put it in an add-on den in our home. When she passed and we sold the house, my sister carefully took it to New Hampshire from Virginia to hang in her log cabin. My dad had purchased two late 1800’s crystal chandeliers from an historic hotel in Danville, VA in the 70’s and hung them in our home as well. I only have the extra prisms that were also purchased at the same time, but I use them in my home as reminders of my family history and love for such things. My crystals are the exact ones on the lamp arms of yours! I took an old spoon that I flattened- drilled holes, used nylon filament line, and hung a few prisms on it to resemble a chandelier. This hangs on my screened-in porch much to my familial joy and memories! You’ve made my heart smile with this post!!!

    Reply
  66. Kate

    So cool! I think what makes it work is that while it is elegant and formal, it’s lines are not overly feminine.

    Remind the boys during any sleepovers: Death to anyone who horses around with the crystals!

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      I told Jeff I thought it was a more masculine chandelier and he sort of glossed over, but I know you know what I mean! Yes, it has some structure to it and, even though it’s formal, it’s not delicate or flouncy.

      And yes, I was going to mention that throwing is off-limits in the basement, but they’ve never really been allowed to throw things in the house, anyway. We let them play and rough-house and some things have been broken over the years, but they have lived with antiques (and lots of breakable ironstone) their entire lives, so they are pretty respectful of our things.

      Reply
  67. Taria

    It is beautiful . I love the story behind it and that it survived against all odds to end up being such a special part of your home Well done!

    Reply
  68. Natalie

    It’s the best light fixture! I’m in love!

    Reply
  69. Addie

    WOW~WOW~WOW!!!!!!!!! That is the MOST beautiful chandelier I have EVER seen!!!!! It looks perfect for the game room.
    I am truly speechless!!!!! It would of also looked nice in your upstairs too. Just gorgeous!!!!

    Reply
  70. Betty Bashaw

    Such a special and unique piece! Excited for you to be able to use it. 🙂

    Reply
  71. monique odman

    How lucky to possess such a great chandelier and have a place to hang it. The crystal beads look yellowish, I clean ours in France with water mixed with window cleaner, (vinegar with water works too), one crystal at a time with a small soft paint brush and dry it with a small piece of cloth, my head against the chandelier up on the tall ladder listening to the radio, it takes several hours, than it sparkles. It was shipped from my mother in law’s flat in Stockholm. Sweden has some of the very best ones, ours was electrified but has real candles used only on very special occasions, it brings the lighting glow of 19th century we see in period films.
    There is nothing wrong with a beautiful chain which I’d prefer over the very distracting ribbon looking too obvious, a bit like a piece of guts, in my professional opinion.

    Reply
  72. sndi m

    Oh, this is sooooo perfect for the room and the ambiance you’re going for and complements the weight of the other furniture pieces. The fact that you’ll be playing games under it adds a little casino vibe, too. (This would have been an awesome feature for your book.) As someone else mentioned, I agree that the cord cover is distracting; simple chain would let the lights be the standout.
    Can’t wait to see the final finish!!

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      Yeah, the chain is a heavy-duty chrome chain, so that would be even worse. I still need to fix up the cord cover so it doesn’t dangle from the ceiling. I’ll be working on that…

      Reply
  73. Judy

    Perfectly beautiful! You have a very special treasure and if it could talk what tales it might tell…in addition to thanking you for getting it out of buckets, attics, and basements. Those are not places for such elegance. I hope you enjoy it forever. I think the chain cover is lovely and so nice to not have cobwebs hanging from the chain!! Enjoy the gentlemen’s’ vibe you’ve created for your guys.

    Reply
  74. Diane

    What a wonderful treasure to be finally given the respect and use it deserves. So glad that 5gal. Bucket was not its forever home. Its perfect in the games /library room. Love it over that lovely table. It all seems to fit era-wise.
    I love your adage to use what you have. Enjoy it! Thanks to you my mother’s silverware gets used and loved daily in our home.

    Reply
  75. mary m

    Absolutely beautiful. Could you please give us a little background on the fixture. Where did your ancestor live and do you know the origin of the fixture.
    I have a hanging blue and white hanging oil lamp that i have been hauling around for 50 years from house to house and state by state. Still love it. It came from a house in Norwich,Ct.. and must have had a 14ft. chain!!!!
    It has crystal prisms around the base and the metal components are brass.

    Reply
  76. mary m

    Do you think there might have been lampshades originally? Do you have any family photographs
    that depict the fixture?

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      Since it was originally a gas fixture, I’m really not sure! The only photos I have of it are as it looked in my Opa’s house. It was installed there in the early 1990s.

      Reply
  77. Suzette

    Absolutely beautiful!
    I don’t think you will have any regrets using this beautiful chandelier!

    Reply
  78. Lynnett Ratchford

    Oh, my dear Miss Mustard Seed, what a stunning piece! The history…the look…it’s perfect. I agree, no ball tossing. I have boys so set the rules early.

    Reply
  79. Adrienne

    It’s perfect! Absolutely perfect! I love the idea of having your Opa’s chandelier in a room that is meant for fun and family. I’m sure he would be thrilled to know what you have done with it. I’m catching up after being away for awhile and I LOVE the way your room is coming together. Can’t wait to keep reading and see the finished room. (I just pre-ordered your book.)

    Reply

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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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