Shorten a Floor Lamp


I have a preference for the kind of light that comes from torchiere lamps—you know, those floor lamps that point upward and throw the light so well? When we moved from a big house to a little one, we had several extras just hanging out in the garage. I needed at least two for my office, but the room is so small that my workspace furniture runs nearly wall-to-wall. Not much room on the floor for a bunch of floor lamps.

Solution? Shorten one down so it can sit on a desktop…or that big plastic tub of photos that’s shoved in the corner at the end of a worktable.

For this project, I used cheapie $8 floor lamps from Target. I particularly like these because a) they’re lightweight enough to use anywhere, b) the inexpensive plastic shade diffuses light well and c) they’re cheap!

Using an unplugged lamp, remove the lightbulb and shade. You’ll then remove the piece that holds the shade in place, and loosen the screws that connect the wires to the bulb base. Unscrew and remove the bulb base so you’re left with your cord wires coming up through the channel at the center of the socket.

Unscrew the pieces of your lamp, working from the top down: socket base first, then sections of the support pole until your lamp is as short as you’d like. Mine had four sections, so I left the bottom two in place.

Before reassembling, pull the cord out through the base until it reaches the height of the new stand. Then reassemble your lamp by working in reverse: reattach the socket, then the shade, then the bulb.

Et voila! Your newly-shortened lamp will sit nicely atop a desk, a bench, or the aforementioned storage tub. Plug it in, and bask in the glow!


Like this Reuse It post by Lisa Hensley? Reuse some of her excellent stories, like How to Turn Tin Cans into Decorative LanternsRepurposed Lighting, and How to Make a DIY Repurposed Lampshade.

   Visit Lisa Hensley’s Reuse It archive.


Lisa Hensley is a mostly-native Montanan, living in Missoula with her husband, two young boys, and various pets. She spent more than 10 years in the marketing and creative field, but is now Director of Household Operations for the Hensley group. When she’s not herding kids or doing laundry, she’s shooting photos, gardening, baking, reading, or taking classes—sometimes all at once. She also volunteers for Home ReSource, which fits in nicely with her tendency to repurpose pretty much anything.