Making over 2 Thrift Store Lamps

The better title for this post would have been: Making over 2 Thrift Store Lamps, Googling “Why doesn’t my lampshade fit my lamp”, “How do I make my lampshade fit my lamp”, “What the heck is a Slip Uno Adapter” and “How do I know what kind of fitter is on my lampshade”… then finally finding something at Home Depot to MAKE IT WORK Tim Gunn-style.

That might have been a teensy bit of overkill though…

It all started with these:

Thrift store lamps

These two little crystal lamps were calling my name at the thrift store. They were marked at just $3.00 each and one was even on sale for half off! After I bought them, they just kind of sat around in my office while I did some online lamp shade shopping. I saw a few okay options at Target, but nothing that really seemed like the right design.

Then, on a trip to World Market I found these:

Lampshades from World Market

I didn’t have the bases with me, so I was just kind of crossing my fingers that they would work. Both of the shades were marked as $14.99; however the navy design one had a mark on it so I asked the manager for a discount. {Remember, the secret is to ask super nicely.} She was happy to reduce the price to $11.99 and then I used a coupon to get an extra 15% off of everything. So, the total for both shades was just under $23.00.

I was pretty excited when I got home and plopped the shades on the lamp bases… until:

Crooked lampshade

Well, crap. The lamp socket was too small for the lamp shade. Instead of the shade fitting snugly, it flopped around on top of the on/off switch… this won’t do at all!

At this point I did A LOT of googling around. I found this post on how to determine what fitter you need to be quite helpful. I also found this thing on Amazon, that SEEMED like it might fix the problem: Slip Uno Adapter Harp Converter Lamp Shade Uno Euro Fitter 1 7/16 I.D. Almost $8 each for a fitter seemed a bit steep though, so I did what I always do… I went to Home Depot and looked around.

The nice lady at the lamp section had no idea what I was talking about. Even when I pulled a full-sized lamp from my purse to show her.

{ I mean, why WOULDN’T I walk around with a lamp in my purse? It goes well with the blue crayon, 3 monster trucks and 2 baggies of snacks.}

I decided to just keep walking around to see if I could find anything circular that might fit on top of the lamp socket… and found this:


It’s a plumbing part called a PVC Bushing that seemed like it would fit nicely. I tried it on the base that I had with me and it seemed to do the job. Since they were only $1.26 each, I got a few of them to try at home with the shades.

Look, they’re like little lamp top hats!

top hats

They fit perfectly on the socket, leaving the on/off switch clear. They also allow the lampshade to balance on top, without flopping around. All you need to do is screw a bulb in and it holds everything together. The only drawback is that you can’t use a fancy energy-saving twirly bulb because the base is too thick to screw in through the bushing. Luckily a regular bulb works fine.

lamp with bulb

Check them out. Sassy, right?!

finished lamps

I already found the perfect space for my favorite one. I love the way the crystal looks with the rougher straw-like shade.

living room

I think the other crystal lamp will end up on my bedside table. I don’t really NEED it there, because we have a remote control for our overhead fan/light. But it looks super cute, right?!


Here’s what I spent:

Two lamps (Goodwill): $4.50
Two lampshades (World Market): $23.00
Two bushings (Home Depot): $2.52
Total: $30.02

I certainly could have found cheaper lamp shades at Walmart or the Dollar Store, but I think that the snazzy shades totally MAKE the lamps. It’s like a hard/soft thing going on that works in well with my home decor. They were definitely cheaper than this version of a crystal lamp/rough shade from Pottery Barn for $249 or this mini table lamp version from West Elm for $69. I’m pretty darn happy with my Cheapo-nista versions!

Have you gotten any cool stuff from the thrift store lately? Do you also have issues with lampshades fitting on your lamps? Which one is your favorite – the one with the woven shade or the blue patterned one?

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