How to make an ugly second-hand lamp look great (and work!) in your home

I've taken a couple Fridays off from "Friday Finds" (the blog posts anyway!) but I've not stopped my thrifting excursions!  New to Friday Finds?  It is a weekly post on home decor items that can be found in any second-hand ("thrift shop") store.   I love sharing my finds with you, in hopes you'll be inspired to go out and try thrifting for your next home decor shopping mission!

Today we're back to Friday Finds, with a little twist....I've included a step by step process for making today's featured find work for you!  Are you ready?  


This pair of lamps caught my eye at the check out line at Bethesda.  Are you wondering how lamps this ugly could possibly catch my eye?  It's OK if you are.  You've identified they are ugly (that's good!) but here's the trick:  Look for a feature, any feature, you DO like.  With these lamps, it was the bases I loved.  These bases are solid wood and that's what makes them great. And the shades.....those are easily replaced so they are totally and completely passed over upon first glimpse. 

I knew that these lamp bases, along with new (white!) lampshades, would give the lamps a whole new look: modern, and chic!  And, even better.....I needed a pair of lamps for my son's "new" room! (planning that post now, stay tuned!). Nothing beats a find that you actually need! Lol. 

Before I get into the HOW behind transforming and using these old lamps, let's do a little comparison shopping: 

The lamp on the left is from West Elm (see the wood base, and unique shape?). Cost for that lamp is $169.  The lamp on the latest find, also has a solid wood base with a unique shape.  Cost:  $6.99.  

I already had the white lampshade, and was ready to get that thing on the lamp pronto, however, my shade had a totally different attachment system than what was on these lamps. What is a girl to do?! 

Many older lampshades have the attachment at the top of the lamp, with a small screw-top piece securing the lampshade to the lamp.  Just unscrew that little metal piece, and your shade will come right off.  See below: 

After removing the old shade, your lamp will look like this: 

The new lampshade might have a different attachment system like the one below: (this was what mine looked like)

The solution is super simple.  Just remove the entire metal "apparatus" on the older lamp. See how below:   

Just pinch the prongs together and they will come right out of the lamp attachment

Just pinch the prongs together and they will come right out of the lamp attachment

Now your lamp will look like this:

Once you remove the light bulb, you are ready to place your new shade on the lamp!  Place the metal ring that is on the shade, around the light bulb socket base like you see here:

And that's it!  Now you have an updated, chic lamp that looks great and works! 

Only one lamp is pictured, because I only had one white lampshade.  .

Only one lamp is pictured, because I only had one white lampshade.  .

Uses for lamps (even if you might not be in the market for a "new" lamp, there's always a use for one, believe me!):

1.  Use as accents on a buffet table (a pair of lamps placed on each end, as pictured below:)

2.  Use on an entryway table to add a little ambiance to your entryway

3.  Use for your kids' bedside table for reading

There are hundreds of great lamps at second-hand stores.  Remember, look at the features you like or don't like.  What can be easily changed to freshen it up?  Then, think about that lamp in your home.  Lastly, make sure the lamp works and has an intact cord and attachment system!

Now, the next time you see that old metal prong "apparatus" inside an old lamp, you'll know just what to do to make it work with your newer lampshade!  Easy.  Smart.  Resourceful.  Gotta love it! 

Thank you for tuning in today!  I hope you learned a tip or two about how to make an old and ugly lamp look great (and work!) in your own home!  

Coming up next week......

Simple ways to transform your kids' rooms, including tips on how to make rustic decor for your kids' rooms (or any room!).....I hope you join me!