How to Rewire a Thrift Store Lamp

Give your lamp a second life

Carrie Waller
Written by Carrie Waller
Updated October 7, 2021


You've got this!

Time to complete

45 minutes

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What you'll need:


  • Second hand lamp
  • Screwdriver
  • Lamp socket
  • Electrical wire
  • Non-polarized plug
  • Wire stripper
  1. Discard the old socket.

    Loosen the set screw on the socket at the top of the lamp, then unthread the socket entirely. To separate from the lamp, you'll need to loosen the terminal screws and remove the wires. After that, you can pull the wire out through the bottom of the base of the lamp. You may need to remove the cover on the underside of your lamp to access the wire output depending on the design of your lamp. Finish by pulling the lamp shade harp off of the lamp.

  2. Cut off old plug.

    Use a pair of wire cutters or a wire stripper to cut off the old plug. To do so, simply snip right through the wire at the base of the old plug. As long as you have inspected the original wire thoroughly (tip to tip) and don't see any damage, it's okay to reuse. But if you see any cuts or exposed wires, discard and use a new wire. In our case, we were able to reuse the original wire after cutting off the broken plug.

  3. Rethread the wire.

    Lift your lamp base and slip your new or refurbished wire into the opening. Push up through the base until the wire comes out through the top of the lamp.

  4. Prepare new wire.

    Next, use your finger tips to gently pull the two sides of the wire apart, and then use a wire stripper to strip insulation about half an inch from the ends of both wires. Then, use your finger tips to twist the exposed wire to prevent fraying.

  5. Attach new socket.

    Separate the halves of your new socket. Slip the now-prepared wires through the new socket base and thread it onto the lamp. Tighten the set screw to secure.

  6. Attach wires to new socket.

    Grab the top half of your socket for rewiring. Run your fingers over your wire—one side should be ribbed, while the other is smooth. Loop the smooth wire around the gold screw and tighten. Then, wrap the ribbed wire around the silver screw and tighten. Bending your exposed wires into a hooked shape beforehand will make this step easier to complete.

  7. Connect the socket.

    Pull the excess wire out of the bottom of the lamp base as you simultaneously push the top half of the socket onto the bottom half. They should slip together with a bit of wiggling.

  8. Wire new plug.

    Loosen the set screw in your new plug to open. Next, repeat the same process used on the top end of the lamp—the smooth wire is exposed, twisted and screwed around the gold screw, while the ribbed wire is exposed, twisted and screwed around the silver screw.

  9. Close up new plug.

    Ensure that the wires are separated around the set screw in the plug and then close the plug around the wire. Tighten the set screw in the plug to finish.

  10. Plug it in.

    Add a light bulb to the lamp, reattach the harp and lampshade and plug your lamp into an outlet to test—and ultimately enjoy!

    Angi Tip

    DISCLAIMER: The content of this how-to consists of my own personal opinions and experience. Always contact a professional electrician if you have questions/concerns. Complete the process at your own risk and always use common sense to maintain your own safety and that of your home!

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