Decorating With Thrift Store Lamps

When it comes to lamps, I might have a bit of an obsession. My living room, which is quite tiny, includes four table lamps. My bedroom, three. I even have two in my kitchen and one in my bathroom. I’d like to decorate with more, but I’ve pretty much set one on every surface available.

Why do I love lamps so much? I think it’s the warm glow they give off. It makes a room instantly cozy. And, I refuse to use nasty overhead lighting. Maybe it’s just in the apartments I’ve rented, but overhead lighting tends to emit cold, sterile light that reminds me of a hospital. Not quite the feeling I’m going for in my home.

Where does one vintage-loving lamp obsessed shopper like me find all of these lamps, you ask? Thrift stores and secondhand shops of course! I picked up all of the lamps in my home at secondhand shops and thrift stores—never for more than $10! I’ll let you in on some of my lamp-scoring secrets.

What to look for

Search for lamps that have a base that catches your eye. Sometimes I go thrift store shopping with an idea of a color of lamp that I’d like to find, or a style I want, skinny or fat for example. Usually, though I just spot something I adore, or I don’t. It’s about the feeling! Start with an idea of what you’re looking for, but don’t be afraid to wander from what you thought you wanted if something interests you.

Also, remember that with a quick paint job a lamp base in an ugly color, but with a nice silhouette can instantly get a facelift.

The downside?

The only disadvantage to thrift store lamps is that they never come with the right lampshade—or a shade at all. If they do come with one, it’s usually a white pleated number that doesn’t look like it belongs anywhere except grandma’s house.

To get the look I want out of my lamps, I usually buy a new lampshade to give the vintage lamp base a more modern feel. Even buying a new shade, my thrift-store-bought lamp still ends up being less expensive than if I had purchased a new lamp.

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Follow Red Leaf Style author Kirsten Hudson on Twitter @kirsten_hudson, Google+ and Pinterest.


  1. […] love scavenging through thrift stores for lamp bases. You can always find a thrift store lamp that will look cute and for far less money than at regular stores. Add a coat of paint and a new […]

  2. […] for $3 each. Normally I can’t find cute lamp shades while thrifting. I love picking up lamp bases at the Goodwill, DAV and other secondhand stores. You can score really stylish secondhand lamp […]


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