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How to Rewire a Lamp

With the cost of having it done by a pro, you might as well buy a new lamp. That is, until now.

Photo: Antonis Achilleos / The Nest


How to Rewire a Lamp

Why pass on a great vintage or secondhand lamp just because the wiring’s broken? Oh, right, because you don’t know how to rewire a lamp on your own, and with the cost of having it done by a pro, you might as well buy a new lamp. That is, until now. It’s actually not all that difficult to rewire a lamp. So pick up your thrift store find and get to work. Here’s how:

What you’ll need:

Lamp cord
Wire strippers
New lamp socket
Screwdriver
Electrical tape
Pressure plug


1. Unplug the lamp (sorry, just had to make sure you were awake) and take off the shade, arm, and the light bulb.

2. On the socket look for a “press here” inscription. Press it, and gently lift the outer cover from the switch. If you can’t find “press here,” simply rock the cover back and forth. It’ll eventually pop off.

3. Pull up the switch, and use wire strippers to cut the wire (you’re removing the switch and cord entirely, so don’t worry about doing it perfectly). Then pull the lamp cord out of the other side of the lamp at the base.

4. Figure out how much lamp cord you’ll need by considering the height of the lamp and how long you want the cord coming out of the lamp to be, then cut it.

5. Start by going through the opening at the bottom of the lamp, and slide the lamp cord up the lamp. Tie a knot on the inside of the lamp right where the cord exits the lamp base to be sure that the cord won’t be yanked from the socket by mistake.

6. Go to the top of the lamp, and pull each wire in separate directions to separate the two wires down about two inches.

7. Strip about a half-inch of insulation from each wire using your wire strippers.

8. Using a new socket, loosen each terminal screw with your screwdriver. Wrap each wire around one of the screws, ensuring the wires don’t touch or hang under the screws. Wrap electrical tape around your handiwork.

9. Put the socket back where it belongs, and snap the covering you removed in step two back into place.

10. Head to the bottom of the lamp and cut off the end of the lamp cord with your wire strippers at a diagonal angle.

11. Slip the lamp cord into the open slot of a pressure plug and close the plug’s arm. This secures the connection.

12. Back at the top of the lamp screw in a new bulb, put the arm and shade back on, turn on the lamp, and voila! A newly wired lamp!

Now that you know how to Rewire a lamp, check out DIY Lampshade.

-- Paula Kashtan

See More: DIY , Decor Tricks , How to