How to convert a lamp to a hanging lamp

Written by katherine harder
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How to convert a lamp to a hanging lamp
Convert an old lamp with an attractive, usable shade into a hanging, or pendant, lamp. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Hanging lamps provide light without taking up extra space on end tables or along a wall. You can use hanging lamps as space-saving lighting on each side of your bed, in a reading area or over your bar. If you have a beloved lamp that has an unattractive base or is falling apart, but has an attractive, usable shade, you can extend its life by converting it into a hanging lamp. Since hanging lamps require a hanging socket, you'll replace everything on your original lamp except for the lamp shade.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Old lamp
  • Lamp cord with a plug at the end
  • Wire stripper
  • Metal rod, diameter slightly larger than your hanging socket's top cap hole
  • Hanging socket
  • Electrical tape or matching shrink wrap tubing
  • Heat gun or hair dryer

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  1. 1

    Remove the lamp's shade. Depending on the shade, you might need to unscrew the finial at the top of the lamp to accomplish this, or you might just pull off the shade. Also unscrew the light bulb if it's still in good condition. Set everything else aside for donation.

  2. 2

    Trim away 1 inch of insulation from the plugless end of the cord. Use the wire stripper for this, and pull and twist at the end of the cord with it. This exposes the cord's two wires.

  3. 3

    Pull the lamp shade onto this cord if the shade is the type that is screwed-on with a finial; otherwise, skip this step. The bottom of the lamp shade should face away from the plug.

  4. 4

    Disassemble your socket. It should have four parts, which include its top metal cap, metal casing, cardboard shell and the actual socket. The socket has two screws which protrude from the sides.

  5. 5

    Pull the exposed end of this cord through your metal rod, and then through the metal cap of your socket. The wider opening of your metal cap should face in the same direction as the exposed wires.

  6. 6

    Wrap one wire clockwise around a screw on one side of the socket, and wrap the other wire counterclockwise around the opposite screw. Re-assemble the socket.

  7. 7

    Cover any remaining lengths of exposed wire with electrical tape or shrink wrap tubing. If you use the shrink tubing, you'll need to heat the tubing with a heat gun or hair dryer to get it to shrink around the wire.

  8. 8

    Screw the light bulb into the socket. Your hanging lamp is complete once you pull down your lamp shade over the socket, unless you have a clip-on shade. If you are converting that lamp type, clip the shade onto the bulb to complete the hanging lamp.

Tips and warnings

  • Hang your newly converted lamp with ceiling anchor hooks. Use a hanging light socket with a pull chain or an attached switch if you want to turn your hanging light on and off without plugging and unplugging it each time.
  • Since the metal rod will support the socket within the shade, its length can vary as long as the bulb is kept within the shade.

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