Last summer I went to a garage sale and found a small, really dusty chandelier with dead ladybugs and flies in the light cups for $4. Part of me thought I was going to buy it and not even touch it but I actually started working on it as soon as I got home. I taped it off, primed it then spray-painted it black, then voila! Cheap and fancy addition to my bedroom. I’m not the hugest fan of the glass bulb covers but it makes a really neat pattern on the ceiling at night.
The last photo is of a larger chandelier I bought at a non-profit home store. The majority of the chandeliers were $20-$200. There wasn’t a price tag on the one I was eyeing so I asked, and the guy gave it to me for $5.00. It is now a fixture in my dining room.
It took me forever to find 1) pretty bulbs 2) that were CFL energy efficient 3) that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. All of the CFL flame-style bulbs were either beyond my current budget or had an ugly base with writing on it. My solution was to buy non-CFL and only screw in all the way a couple of the bulbs and hardly ever turn on the dining room lights.
Takeaway: I think I saved myself around $500 by doing it myself.