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How to wire a table lamp

Updated February 21, 2017

When wiring a table lamp, always replace the cord and the socket for safety. Because you should never work on a lamp plugged into a wall socket, the chance of being shocked when wiring a lamp is low. Prior electrical knowledge is not necessary when wiring a table lamp, and there is no mystery in this task. If you should incorrectly wire the lamp, it will simply fail to light. Once you have accomplished wiring a table lamp for the first time, you will be able to wire virtually any other lamp.

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  1. Untwist the finial from the shade rest and remove the lamp shade. Remove the light bulb. Squeeze the harp sides toward the lamp socket and lift the harp from the saddle. The saddle attaches to the lamp under the socket.

  2. Take the socket apart by pulling the outer shell from the socket cap, exposing the cardboard insulator sleeve and the interior socket. Slip the insulator sleeve from the socket, exposing the socket terminals.

  3. Loosen the two terminal screws, releasing the lamp wires from beneath them. Pull the interior socket from the socket cap and untwist the socket cap from the lamp base. Lay the lamp on its side and peel the felt from the bottom of the base, exposing the lamp wiring. Grasp the lamp cord from the exterior of the lamp base and pull the cord, removing it from the lamp.

  4. Thread a new lamp cord set through the hole in the base of the lamp and up through the lamp body, extending it out from the top of the lamp. Thread the cord through the replacement socket cap and screw the socket cap onto the lamp body.

  5. Slice apart 5 cm (2 inches) of the membrane connecting the two wires of the lamp cord. Tie a knot in the cord below the sliced wires.

  6. Twist the smooth wire from the lamp cord around the silver screw on the replacement interior lamp socket and twist the ribbed wire around the brass screw on the socket then tighten both screws. Cover the interior socket with the cardboard insulator sleeve. Slide the outer socket shell over the sleeve, pushing it into the socket base. Replace the lamp harp, light bulb, lamp shade, felt and finial.

  7. Tip

    Work on a surface large enough to accommodate the lamp lying on its side. A lamp cord set consists of a length of partially stripped lamp cord with the plug already installed.

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Things You'll Need

  • Phillips or slotted screwdriver
  • Lamp cord set
  • Utility knife
  • Replacement lamp socket

About the Author

Cecilia Harsch has been writing professionally since 2009. She writes mainly home improvement, health and travel articles for various online publications. She has several years of experience in the home-improvement industry, focusing on gardening, and a background in group exercise instruction. Harsch received her Certified Nurses Assistant license in 2004. She attended Tarrant County College and studied English composition.

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