Retro renovations

Lamps

Lamps: Go retro.
Why: Light up your life — but with new wires.

Add some charm to your home with vintage lamps and light fixtures. This retro project can really help transform the character of your house, especially if every lampshade you currently own is a bland white. Rewiring a lamp or fixture is easy, too. It's such a common DIY job that you can buy rewiring kits at just about any hardware store for under $20.

If working with electronics makes your skin tingle in anticipation of a shock, you can hire someone to do it for you. It's a service a lot of small hardware stores offer, particularly shops that do things like cut glass for windows.

But don't be surprised if you have to pay a bit more to rewire your retro lamp than it would cost to buy a new one.

Finding a gem of a lamp is easy. Resale shops and yard sales are full of these treasures.