Quick and Easy $30 DIY Floor Lamp
Lighting. Designers tell you it’s one of the first things you should think about when planning a room. Despite that, I pretty much always remodel a room, and then at the end, think “hmm, this place needs lights.”
My office remodel is no different. I am almost done (stay tuned for the reveal!) and only now am I realizing there should probably be more light than the ones on the ceiling fan.
But that’s okay, because there is a perfect spot for a light! My new super snazzy hammock chair is perfect for reading a book, so it only makes sense for there to be a light behind it. I dithered a bunch on whether this should be a wall light or a floor lamp, and ultimately decided on a DIY floor lamp for simplicity.
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$30 DIY Floor Lamp
- 2 2" x 4" x 8'
- Pendant Light- I mean a light socket on an cord, not a pendant-style lamp. I couldn't easily pull this up on the Home Depot, Lowes, or Menards websites (although I imagine they sell them somewhere,) so I ended up purchasing this one off Amazon.
- Lampshade- I got my globe at the Habitat for Humanity Restore for $2. Check your local thrift stores for a good deal, but if you don't have any luck, you can find a simple lampshade at the Home Improvement stores for around $20.
- 3 Galvanized Steel Angles- I bought the "Simpson Strong-Tie" brand at Home Depot. I purchased two that were 1 1/2" in width, and one that was 3" in width to go on the sides of the 2" x 4".
- Tie Plate- Also purchased the "Simpson Strong Tie" brand from Home Depot.
- Electrical Staples- I had a few of these left over from my kitchen remodel, so I used them to secure the cord of the pendant light in place.
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$30 DIY Floor Lamp: The Process
Part 1: Make the Top Structure
A quick google search told me that floor lamps tend to be between 58 and 64 inches tall, so I aimed to make my DIY floor lamp in that range as well. I planned for the post to be 54" tall, with a 30 degree angle for the lamp support piece.
However, I screwed up my first attempt, mitering the cut instead of beveling it. Once I re-cut the piece correctly, it ended up a little shorter; around 52" tall.
The top piece that would ultimately hold the lamp I cut to be 20" long.
I then drilled two holes in the 20" piece for the pendant light cord to go through. The plug on the pendant light was pretty small, but still large enough that I needed to use a hole saw (and not a typical drill bit or spade bit) to make the hole.
Finally, I attached the two pieces together with two 2 1/2" wood screws through the top piece and into the 51" piece. I drilled a couple pilot holes before I started to ensure I could countersink the screws.
Be careful drilling these screws! You want to make sure you're drilling parallel to your long, 51"/54" piece, which is not perpendicular to the 20" piece, since it's at a 30 degree angle. So you'll feel like you're drilling the screw at an angle, if that makes sense.
If you accidentally mess this up, and drill your screw perpendicular to the shorter piece, the worse that will happen is your screw will poke out of the longer piece. That's okay. Take out your screw and try again. For the random hole you now have in your wood, fill it with wood filler; it will barely be visible!
Part 2: Make the Base
I made my base out of four pieces of 16" long 2 x 4.
To connect them together, I put three Kreg Jig/Pocket Hole screws into three of the four pieces. See below. If you're unfamiliar with the Kreg pocket hole system, check out my Kreg Jig Guide.
And that's it for the base!
Part 3: Assemble
I connected the top structure to the base with Simpson Strong-Tie supports. This was a bit tricky to do, since balancing the top portion while trying to drive the screws is difficult. I therefore started by just attaching two supports to the base.
Once these two supports were in place, it was easier for me to hold the top structure in place, since it was steadied on two sides by the supports. I then connected the supports to the top structure.
If you're worried right now that these metal pieces will be visible: yes, they will be. I made this plan with the knowledge that I would be painting the piece. Because of that, I figured I could just paint the supports, and they'd blend right in. If you'd rather stain the furniture, you could still make this, however you might want to get some paint that is a similar shade to your stain, and paint the brackets before attaching them to the piece. They'll be visible, for sure, but they hopefully wouldn't stand out to much.
I'm not sure there's a structurally sound way to connect the top to the base without having visible supports. While you definitely can drive 2 1/2" screws through the bottom of the base and into the top structure, making the connection invisible, I think your top piece would wobble, and could ultimately fall off. You could do the back tie-plate support to help (see below, I haven't gotten to it yet!) and only have a visible metal piece on the back, but I'm not sure that would be enough. If you give it a try, let me know how it goes.
Anyway, back to the tutorial. After the first two supports were in place, I added the last two, which was a much easier process.
The top structure wasn't wobbly at all at this point, which was great. I'll be honest; I was a little worried about that, but putting a support on every side made the connection really secure. That top piece wasn't budging!
Part 4: Finish
I'm not a huge fan of the matte chalk paint style, so I just used plain old semi-gloss latex wall paint. As an added bonus, this matches my desk perfectly, since I did that in the same color!
I did one coat of primer and two coats of paint.
Once the paint had dried, it was time to add the light and globe! I spray painted the globe gold, then threaded the pendant light through the globe and the two circles that I had drilled earlier.
The socket of the pendant light was just big enough that the globe fit perfectly without any additional connections. If I find that it tilts or move around too much, I might hot glue them together so the globe stays exactly where I want it, but that hasn't been an issue so far.
To secure the light in place, I nailed the electrical staples around the cord of the pendant light. I made sure they were pretty tight so that the cord wouldn't budge.
Then I added a lightbulb, and was done!
I was really nervous to get started on this project, because I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. Like, at all. Would it be stable? Would it tip forward, no matter what I did. Would the top half wobble? I wasn’t sure at all that it would be structurally sound, but I’m happy to report it’s a pretty solid DIY floor lamp, and not at all in danger of tipping over.
I am so pleased! It looks so good in my office, and of course, matches the other furniture since I made those too. The desk in the office is Habitat for Humanity Restore remodel, and my tilt-out trash can was made from an old wall cabinet!
And it’s really nice to have a light above my hammock for reading. It works so well! Is there anywhere in your house that could use a standing lamp like this? Where? I’d love to hear all the ways this project could be used!
P.S- I've had some questions about the hammock. It is the world's comfiest chair, and is large enough for me to fully stretch my feet out in. I got it from Amazon (here), and could not be happier with it.