lamp made from a curtain rod standing lit in a room
Photo: Wendell T. Webber


A floor lamp offers the perfect way to illuminate a cozy little reading nook. But the plain-pole, chrome-plated torchères available at many home stores practically shout "dorm room!" You can do better. This timeless piece, modeled after a classic mid-century modern design, is a more sophisticated option that complements any decor. And the construction couldn't be simpler: The lamp cord runs through a threaded rod that supports ledges of painted stock lumber separated by hollow spacers made from a metal curtain rod. As soon as you put yours together, you'll want to plug it in and curl up with your favorite read. This Old House general contractor Tom Silva walks you through the how-to.

Curtain rod: Basic Blindz basic ball sienna bronze rod; Lowe's
Paint: Valspar's Lincoln Cottage Black (#4009-2); Valspar Paint

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    Tools List

    • tubing cutter
      Pipe cutter
    • miter saw
      Miter saw
    • circular saw
      Circular saw
    • finish nails, various lengths
      Finishing nail
    • finish hammer
    • drill
    • spade bit
      -inch paddle bit
    • Drill bit
      -inch drill bit
    • 3-inch wide paint brush
    • random orbit sander
      Random Orbit Sander

    Shopping List

    Hollow metal curtain rod

    at least 48 inches long.

    9-by-12-inch piece of ½-inch plywood

    for the base.

    1x6 lumber:

    Buy at least 4 feet to make the ledges.

    1x3 lumber:

    Buy at least 12 inches to make the feet.

    Threaded wire rod:

    Buy sections to make a rod at least 60 inches long to house the lamp cord.

    Lamp kit:

    Buy one that has a harp, bushing, collar, lamp nut, and lamp cord.

    Lamp cord

    Wood glue

    1-inch screws

    to build the C-shaped assembly and to attach the bottommost ledge to the base.

    Wood putty

    120-grit sandpaper