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What do I do with an old light fixture when I’m finished with it? Can I sell it and make money, can I throw it away or recycle it? Yes to all of the above but since each light fixture is unique, you’ll need to see what option works best for you.
Table of Contents
- Donate Your Old Light Fixtures
- Places to Donate Light Fixtures
- Sell Your Old Light Fixtures
- How Much Can I Sell My Light Fixture For?
- Places to Sell Light Fixtures
- Where Will My Light Fixtures Sell Well?
- Trash Your Old Light Fixtures
Donate Your Old Light Fixtures to a Nonprofit Organization
If you have an old chandelier that’s too nice to throw away and you don’t want to go through the hassle of selling or upcycling it, you can consider donating it. Nonprofit organizations accept lighting donations for people who need fixtures for their homes. People trying to rebuild their lives after fires, floods, and life events.
Not all nonprofits will accept lighting. If you plan to donate your old light fixtures, it’s best to call ahead to see if the center accepts fixtures. Nonprofit organizations like Habitat for Humanity Restore or the Salvation Army are great places to start. Make sure that the fixture is in good working order, with no rust or frayed wires, and remove all light bulbs before taking the fixture to be donated.
Local recycling centers accept light fixtures and ceiling fans too. Check with your county to make sure they accept the specific items you’d like to donate.
Places to Donate Light Fixtures
- Habitat for Humanity Restore
- Local Recycling Center
- Salvation Army
- Good Will
- PickUpPlease.org (check online as they’re not available in all states)
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Sell Your Old Light Fixtures
Will my old fixture sell? It depends. If you can find your light fixture at Home Depot, Lowes, or any big box store and you paid less than $50 for it, it probably won’t be worth your time to sell it. However, if your fixture is an antique tole chandelier that was made in Italy or a heavy wrought iron fixture or even a fixture from 2020 that is really unique or expensive, it would be worth it to try to sell it.
Bottom line, a unique, high-quality light fixture can be sold pretty easily. You need to know what it’s worth and then decide what price you’re willing to accept for it. The best way to know what your fixture is worth is to do your research.
How Much Can I Sell My Light Fixture For?
A light fixture is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. The easiest way to find out what yours will sell for (if anything) is to look online. Ebay is a good starting point. You need to locate your fixture on the site and see what it sold for. Not all light fixtures are listed on Ebay so if you can’t find yours, search for its closest match.
There are two ways to search on Ebay. Go to the site and locate the search bar near the top of the page. Type in a description of your fixture. Something like “brass chandelier” or “industrial table lamp” (no quotes).
Or you can go to “Shop by Category” and use the filters to find your fixture.
Navigate through the categories below to find your light fixture, more than likely, your lighting will be in one of these categories:
- Home and Garden – Home Decor- Lamps, Lighting and Fans
- Collectibles – Lighting and Lamps
- Antiques – Architectural and Garden – Chandeliers, Sconces and Lighting Fixtures
- Collectibles – Lamps and Lighting – Lamps
After you get to the correct category, go to the filters on the left side of the screen. Scroll down the page and find “Show Only”. Click the box “Completed Items”. This will show all auctions in the category that have ended. You’ll be able to see that some of the auctions ended in a sale and some did not.
Each line will show a completed auction. Prices are shown in black or green. A price in black means the item did not sell. Prices listed in green mean the item sold for the listed amount.
I suggest checking several auctions to get a good gauge. This should give you an idea of whether your item will sell on Ebay and other places and for how much.
Places to Sell Light Fixtures
- Antique Stores
- Craig’s List
- Consignment Shops
- Yard Sales
- Thrift Stores and Salvage Shops
- Online Stores that Buy Antique Vintage Lighting
- Facebook Marketplace
Ebay – To sell a light fixture on Ebay, you’ll need an Ebay account and you’ll be responsible for photographing the fixture, setting up a listing, and packing and shipping the fixture when it sells.
Don’t expect to sell your old fixture at retail price. People buying light fixtures on Ebay are either dealers who intend to resell your fixture or a homeowner who hopes to find a good deal on a used fixture. Do your research on Eaby, it will pay off in the end.
If you have a good-quality fixture and/or the fixture is more than 50 years old, talk to the person at the front desk of your local antique store. They’re a wealth of information. They might buy the fixture outright from you or they can hook you up with a person at the store who buys and sells lighting. It’s also possible that the antique store may sell the fixture on consignment for you. If you consign your fixture, expect to give up 30 – 50% of the sale price to the antique store for selling the fixture for you.
Craigslist is a great place to sell (and buy) light fixtures. The only caveat to selling on Craig’s List is that if you make a sale on the site, you need to meet the buyer at a public place when making the exchange and take a friend or family member with you. Safety should be your number one concern. Never make an exchange alone.
You can visit the site at Craigslist.org and click “Create A Posting” to sell your fixture. You’ll need to take a photo of your fixture and write up the details – dimensions, age, condition, and price. It’s an easy way to sell a fixture, plus it’s free.
Selling fixtures at consignment shops will be hit or miss. Don’t expect to make a fortune. Plus you’ll have to give up 30-50% of your sale price to the consignment shop for them to sell it for you. If the shop is an upscale consignment store, you’ll have a better chance of making more money than a “flea market-sell all” kind of shop.
Thrift Stores and Salvage Shops
Thrift Stores (also called secondhand stores) and salvage shops are sometimes willing to buy old light fixtures as long as they’re quality fixtures that work. Remember, they want to turn around and sell the fixtures to the next person walking in the door so you will not get retail for the items but you should get more than you would from a yard sale.
There are a few online stores that will buy your vintage light fixtures and antique lighting including table lamps, pendant lights, old chandeliers, wall sconces, and flush mount lights.
Be aware though that if they buy your fixtures, you’ll need to box them up and send them to the dealer and that shipping cost is on you unless you’ve worked a deal out with the buyer.
Try these online stores:
- Genuine Antique Lighting, Boston, MA – They buy antique chandeliers dated 1840-1940
- The Lighting Palace, Brooklyn NY
- Restoration Lighting Gallery, Hartford, CT
- Chantelle Chandeliers, Palm Beach, FL
- Old Lights On
- The Old Above – This website says it best, he writes: People often look at my lights and think: Wow! My old lights are worth a lot! But there is a significant price difference between a fully restored light, presented well, from a reputable seller, and an unrestored light sitting on a shelf in your garage. The former will be worth hundreds and hundreds (possibly thousands) while the latter is likely worth less than $100. Possibly less than $50.
People are looking for deals when they visit yard sales and estate sales. You will make the least amount of money by selling your lighting fixtures here. On a good note, if you sell at a yard sale instead of a consignment shop or online, you’ll get the full asking price (unless the buyer has talked you into a lower price) and you won’t have to worry about packing and shipping.
Newer fixtures sell on Facebook Marketplace but they don’t bring in a lot of money. Check the sold section of the site to see what sells best before listing your fixture.
Where Will My Light Fixtures Sell Well?
Old Chandeliers and Vintage Light Fixtures
Antique and vintage chandeliers, light fixtures, and ceiling lights sell well everywhere- Craigslist, Ebay, antique stores, thrift stores, and salvage stores. They also sell well on Etsy but you need to have an Etsy shop to sell on the platform. If you only have one fixture to sell, I would recommend selling on Ebay. Your fixtures do not need to be rewired, or restored for them to sell on Ebay or Etsy. Do not try to sell them on Facebook Marketplace, people are looking for deals and you won’t get what they’re worth. I wouldn’t advise selling them at a yard sale either, the only person who will buy them will be a dealer and they try to pay rock bottom prices. You can get more for them elsewhere.
There is a market for antique vintage table lamps on Ebay but I’m not going to kid you, it’s a small market. Ebay or an antique store are the only places I’d try to sell my old lamps. I don’t think you’ll have much luck anywhere else but you could always try.
Newer lamps are plentiful and may be tough to sell anywhere besides a yard sale.
Don’t sell a used or old floor lamp online. Shipping floor lamps is really costly. Your best bet to make a few dollars is to sell them at a yard sale or Facebook Marketplace.
Antique and vintage pendant lights sell well on Ebay and Etsy. They’re small and easy to ship. They’re also easy to restore which makes them desirable to buyers.
New pendant lights are plentiful online and don’t cost much therefore a used pendant light will not be worth your time to sell online. You may make a small amount on them at a yard sale or Facebook Marketplace.
Unique lamp shades, no matter the age have a good chance to sell on Ebay or Etsy. It’s all about the amount you’re willing to accept and the time you put into selling them.
Glass shades are not going to be worth your while to sell online unless they’re vintage or antique. Sell them at a yard sale.
An old lamp shade is hit or miss online. It’s worth a try on Ebay. Sometimes the frame of a shade is worth more than the lampshade itself.
Trash Your Old Light Fixtures
Throwing away an old light fixture should be the last resort but sometimes it’s necessary. Fixtures that have broken sockets, frayed wires, or no chain may seem like they need to be trashed but sockets, wires, and chains can be replaced and a fresh coat of paint is a miracle cure for light fixtures.
However, if a fixture is dented or has a broken column or arms, the fixture may need to be trashed. One exception is an antique or vintage light fixture. If your fixture is over 50 years old, consider selling it on Ebay or any of the places listed above. There are plenty of people out there looking for DIY projects and you might make a little money on the side.
Please note- Fluorescent lamps and lighting need to be disposed of at your local hazardous waste collection center unless the ballast is marked with a “No PCB” sticker.
If you’re looking to create a new light fixture, here’s my post on How to Make a Pendant Light: Easy Step-by-Step Tutorial.
I hope this article helps you decide what to do with your old light fixtures. If you have any questions or comments or if you decide to sell your fixture I’d love to hear how it goes. Reply below, send me an email or contact me through any of my socials.
Until Next Time,
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Please note that some links in this post are affiliate links. At NO ADDITIONAL COST TO YOU, I will earn a small commission on any purchases made.