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Thrift Store Lamp Makeover

October 22, 2021

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Several weeks ago, I hit a few yard sales and scored a bunch of cool finds.

Among them was a lovely lamp, perfect for my cottage style living room.

It was only five dollars, so I jumped on it.

Thrift Store Lamp on an outdoor table no shade

I figured with a little spray paint and one of my shades it'd be a perfect fit.

Of course, it wasn't until after I paid for it that we all realized the cord had been cut.

Bummer.

Plug Cut From Lamp Cord arrow pointing to No Plug

Actually, it wasn't that big a deal. The sellers gave me a discount on a large shutter and I knew we could rewire the lamp.

Frankly, broken or not, whenever we get a lamp secondhand, we always replace the wiring.

We just feel safer that way.

We've also added new wires when making our own lamps.

Normally, I let my husband do his electrical magic behind closed doors, but for this DIY I watched, since I'd like to be able to tackle this task on my own next time around.

This lamp makeover began with a little construction though. The base was chipped in a few places and that needed to be remedied first.

Chipped Plaster Lamp

To do that we used a putty epoxy. The same two part putty epoxy we used to repair an old resin statue.

First we cleaned the lamp, with alcohol on a rag.

Then we squeezed a little out, kneaded it and plugged it into the damaged spots.

Now our lamp is made of plaster, however, the epoxy would work on anything...wood, ceramic, resin, etc.

When the patched material was shaped into place and dry, we used a bit of sandpaper to gently remove any rough spots.

Arrows pointing to areas that were fixed on a Repaired Plaster Lamp

Next, it was time to give the lamp a new look with some spray paint.

I chose a cream color that I thought would coordinate well with the new curtains in the living room.

A few coats later we were ready to rewire the lamp. 

Spray Painting  A Lamp

The screaming disclaimer here is that we are not electricians, or experts, we're just sharing what we did, as experienced DIYers. If you have any questions about the process, you should consult a pro.

You can also follow the instructions that come with your supplies.

Replacement Socket For Lamp Printed Package Directions

We started by opening up the wire and the socket packets. We grabbed both at the hardware store.

I like options, so we used a three way switch.

3 Way Lamp Socket package

However the process is the same on a single.

Next up, we fed the wire up through the lamp and pulled it out the top.

Threading Wire Into An Old Lamp

I like a long cord on a lamp so I have plenty of room to move it around. I also like a clear cord so it's less conspicuous. I'm not a fan of messy or tangled wires

Once the wire is all the way through it's time to pop the bottom portion of the metal shell on it and feed the wire through it. 

Adding Socket Cover To The Wire

Then you need to split the wire and strip the plastic coating away to expose the copper wires underneath. Just do this carefully, with a wire stripper, so you don't damage them.

Stripping Wire with a wire stripper

Then very gently, curl the wires in an arc shape so they'll fit around the screws you'll use to fasten them in place. 
Wiring An Old Lamp by curling the wired ends

Then we placed the wires around the screws on the base of the socket and tightened them.

So you should definitely follow the instructions on the package for this step, since they may vary on how they mark the wires for polarity, but it does matter which wire goes to which screw.

Sometimes, the wires are different colors and will have a coordinating color screw. Other times, there will be a white stripe or a ribbing on the wire...but the package should tell you which wire goes where. 

Adding A New Socket To An Old Lamp by screwing wires into place

We pulled the cord from the bottom, when we were done, so everything fit back together and slid the cover back on.

And screwed on the switch.

Adding New Switch To Old Lamp

The last step was to add a bulb, replace the metal harp and secure the shade. The wonderful shade I found at the thrift store years ago

Apparently just waiting for a new lamp to come along.

New lamp on a table with wooden animal figures

Or an old lamp that's been given new life anyway.

And one that lights up the room without even being on...

Thrift Store Lamp with new switch and shade on a table

But looks fantastic when it is.

Plus, now I know how to fix all the old lamps I find.

And so do you. 😉

More Fun Finds


In addition to my fun yard find, here are a few other finds for your Friday. I posted these on Instagram during the week, but in case you missed it, here they are again.

You can find links to all of these items on the Like To Know it app. 

This is a link to my profile - Exquisitely Unremarkable

I'm also listing the links here. 

The floral items are what makes my house a home. 

The new tulip pillow cover set, is more appropriate for spring, I know, but I couldn't resist. 

And the pink peony cover is on sale today. 



For those of you who have asked about my kitchen, here is a list of where you can find some of the decor pieces I have in the room. 

Of course, I made the curtains, but these are close.


Lastly, this week my beloved French White Corningware bowl broke. The large round bowl is a piece I use literally every day. Clearly, I had to order a new set. 

So I decided to share some other recent finds that have made a huge difference in my prep and serving habits.

I use them all regularly.

Lastly, here are a few super creative pumpkin crafts I'm loving this week.

Creative Dollar Tree Pumpkin - very unexpected!!

Glass Fish Bowl Pumpkin - another out of the box idea!!

Charming Pumpkin Lantern - this one made me smile!!

Puzzle Piece Pumpkin - and an oldie from me.
  1. Love the lamp! Thank you for the easy instructions for rewiring the lamp. I do have a question though. Does it make a difference which side of the split wire goes on either of the screws?
    Thanks
    Annie

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    1. Hi Annie! Thanks for the GREAT question and the kind compliment. So you should definitely follow the instructions on the package since they may vary on how they mark the wires for polarity, but yes, it matters. Sometimes, the wires are different colors and will have a coordinating color screw. Other times, there will be a white stripe or a ribbing on the wire...but the package should tell you which wire goes where. I'm going to amend the post to include this information.

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  2. Very cute lamp, and I love the price! Thank you for the how to, I may give this a try myself.

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    1. Thanks so much!! It was cute, even with a missing plug and damaged body. I'm so glad I picked it up.

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  3. The lamp is beautiful. Thanks for all the Friday finds. Lots of neat things. Happy Friday. Have a great weekend. xoxo

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    1. Thanks for peeking, Kris!! I really like sharing other blogger's posts. So many creative people out there!

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  4. Great rehab of that lamp. I love finds like that!!! Happy Weekend, Kim. xo Diana

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    1. Thanks so much, Linda. It was a quick and easy fix!

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  6. That lamp is absolutely perfect for your living room, Kim. What a great find! I have to learn more about the putty epoxy you used to fill-in the chip, it sounds like great stuff...and thanks for the link to my dollar store pumpkin - so sweet of you!

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    1. Happy to share, Ann, it's a darling idea and I couldn't keep it to myself!! xxoo

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  7. Your creative abilities know no limit! Excellent wiring tutorial, and the lamp is just lovely, adds the perfect cottage touch! Blessings to you :)

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    1. Thanks so much, Marilyn!! I looked for a cottage style lamp for so long with no luck, so this was a treat!

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  8. Talk about a great trash to treasure lamp rescue! It looks so good after you guys worked your magic. I need some of that putty epoxy in the workshop.

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    1. I have to say Marie, that putty epoxy is a lifesaver! We use it all the time...

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  9. Red kitchen utensils???? Yes, please!!!! Your lamp is beautiful...thanks for the instructions too!! I never thought of replacing the switch with a 3way, even though I like them MUCH better! Blessings, J

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    1. I love those red spatulas, J!! They make cooking and baking fun. As far as those 3 ways go, it's a becoming harder to find the bulbs I like. I can't always track down the newer styles in the three ways...but I keep the faith. Hence the switches. Blessings to you!!

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  10. Kim, another great find and fix. The lamp turned out to be so cute and I love the critters in the spot light..Happy Weekend..xxoJudy

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    1. Thanks Judy and I just made a new critter that's on the table. Thanks for noticing my little wooden friends!! xo

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  11. Well done, once again my friend. I just purchased a lamp for $3.00. It is perfect for what I wanted it for.

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    1. Ohh...I'm intrigued, Carla. It sounds like a fabulous find!

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  12. Great transformation, Kim! It must be so satisfying to have given it a pretty new life!

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    1. Thanks Amy! I'd been searching for a lamp for that table and could never find the right one, so yes, very satisfying! Thanks for popping by. I hope you're having a lovely week!

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  13. The lamp is soo beautiful and you have repair it so nicely, great job dear. thanks for the share.

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  14. You and your husband did a great job on the lamp. It looks just perfect on your side table. Thanks for sharing all of your items you use in your house too.

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    1. Thanks Julie! I’d been looking for lamp for that table forever…but they were so expensive and not the right style. So I was very excited when I found this!

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  15. I love the shape of your little lamp! Super find, and I like how you painted it.

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    1. Thanks Ricki! I love the shape, too. I’d been looking for a really long time and couldn’t find anything like it in the stores. Hope you’re having a great week!!

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  16. The lamp turned out so cute! It fits in your home perfectly.
    Thanks for sharing your other finds too.

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    1. Hi Mari! Thanks for stopping by to peek at my finds and visit all my recent posts! That was very kind of you. I hope you have a lovely weekend!

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