How To Easily Rewire Your Lamp


You bought that lamp because it went so well with your décor. Or, maybe it was a special novelty item that reminded you of a special place you had been or a special time in your life. Well, now it won’t turn on. Maybe a pet chewed through the wires, or the wires became frayed over time, and you don’t feel like it’s safe to try. But, you don’t know what to do. Before you toss it or donate it as is, take a few minutes to rewire it.

This easy DIY project is not going to take you any more than about half an hour out of your day. It’s a really easy fix, and will only cost you between $10 to $20. It’s time to easily rewire your lamp, whether it is a table lamp or a floor lamp. This easy fix works great on that vintage lamp you picked up at a thrift store to make it safer to use, too.

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Here’s how:

Purchase a lamp kit from your local home or craft store. That’s right, they make and sell pre-packaged lamp kits for just such an occasion. Most feature a minimum of 8-feet of cord length which is perfect for floor lamps, 18-gauge wire, plug molded into place at the end of the wire, a replacement harp that fits into the socket and will allow you to use a lampshade, a socket rated at 660 watts/250 volts, and a socket that accepts a standard base bulb, 150 watts maximum.

Before you get started with the rewiring, make sure the lamp is unplugged. Fully reassemble the lamp before turning it back on.

You will need:

  • a wire stripper
  • a utility knife
  • a pair of pliers
  • clean towels
  • screwdrivers
  • lamp rewiring/making kit
  • electrical tape

Prepare your work area by clearing off a table or desk. Make sure that the area is well lit, and layout towels on the surface of your work area. The towels will serve several purposes. First, they will protect the work surface. They will also protect the lamp and prevent it from rolling. Gather your tools and place them nearby ready to use.

  1. Unplug the lamp, and then remove the lampshade and the bulb.
  2. Remove the harp, which is the metal stanchion that surrounds the light bulb and holds the lampshade in place. Gently push the two ends together while pulling it straight up.
  3. Remove the lamp’s protective base which is often made out of felt-lined cardboard. Gently pry it off of the bottom.
  4. Loosen the screw holding the socket in place with a screwdriver. Remove the screw, and unscrew the socket leaving it in place.
  5. While holding the socket, pull the wire out of the lamp from the bottom, and then use the wire stripper to cut off the cord making sure to leave about 2 inches of extra wire intact.
  6. Remove the socket from the shell with a Flathead screwdriver.
  7. Leading with the exposed end of the cord, slide the new electrical cord through the lamp’s center post up through the inside of the lamp. Make sure you have about 6 inches of wire extending through the other end of the center post, and then you can cut off any excess. Secure the wires by tying them into an Underwriter’s knot.
  8. Attach the wires to the socket. If you need to expose the wires, use the wire strippers. Attach the exposed wires to the terminals on the new socket using a screwdriver. Typically the silver screw is for the neutral wire and the brass one for the hot wire. If the cord is white, brown, or black, the wire that has a smooth surface is the hot wire. The one with ribs will be neutral.
  9. Reassemble the socket and the lamp by screwing the socket onto the lamp and pulling the excess cord out of the bottom. Replace the harp, and then replace the protective base using glue if necessary.