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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21 thoughts on “Making over 2 Thrift Store Lamps”

  1. When I was in college, my boyfriend and I found one of those table lamps (where it’s a table with a lamp built in?) and refinished it, re-electricked it, and voila. That shit has been with me as a bedside table ever since.

  2. I had the exact same lamp (the cut crystal look one) in my bedroom for years! It had a cheap plastic-y pleated white shade. Who knows, maybe it migrated out by you. Ha!

  3. Love the way they turned out! Is there a World Market by us that I don’t know about? I’ve only ordered stuff online from them 🙂

    1. I did some googling and it does appear that PVC is heat resistant and relatively fire-proof. Although, it doesn’t seem that the bottom of the light bulb gets super hot, it’s good to know. I’ll keep you posted after I use it for awhile!

  4. These are super cute! What a great find. I am so scared to buy lamps at the thrift store. I bought a lamp once and it ended up not working. Good thing my dad was able to replace some parts and get it working! Love the lampshades that you selected. The one adds so much texture; perfect for fall! Stopping by from Baltimore Bloggers FB group. 🙂

  5. Thank you Joules! Been back and forth trying to understand why lampshades are wobbling. The search revealed a lot of education of lamps and sockets. The lampshades sold are for uno fitter sockets…here you’ve offered a solution for $3 instead of replacing the socket or ordering “spyder” fitted lampshades. Good woman!

  6. Thank you!! I have several lamps and lots of shades that won’t fit them properly! I have tried all kinds of searches online to find a solution. You are the only place I found that actually had what I was looking for!

  7. Thanks for the idea. I have no idea what size my lamp “neck” is. lol–I didn’t even know they came in different sizes. I’ll be heading to the local hardware tomorrow to see if this idea will work for me. Fingers crossed!

  8. Omg thank you! I’ve been looking and googling and couldn’t find a solution. I’m headed beck to to lowes to return the fitter ring things they had there because they were either too big or too small. I’m bringing my lamp with me next time!! THANK YOU!

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