Nate Berkus Shares A Genius DIY That Turns Old Vases Into Vintage Light Features

Charmingly old vases can often be beautiful works of art in and of themselves, though sometimes it can feel like you have way too many of these gorgeous objects languishing in cabinets and unused in storage. While you can only accommodate and style so many vases in your decor, HGTV's Nate Berkus recently discussed his ingenious way to turn old vases into functional lighting. By making a few modifications to your favorite ceramic vase, you can create a unique, one-of-a-kind, stunning lamp that perfectly fits your style.  

Berkus tells Home & Gardens, "For years, people have turned old Chinese pottery into lamps. Any sort of vase or pair of vases can be turned into a lamp with a simple lamp kit." While many lighting stores will turn a vase into a lamp for you on request, this DIY version is a much more cost-friendly alternative to a professional retrofit. It's a great way to get a distinctive piece of lighting for a fraction of the cost it would take to purchase a new one, particularly if your lamp is on the larger or more ornate side. This project is also perfect for repurposing a vase you already own, or finding a use for others you may pick up in thrift stores, estate sales, and flea markets. 

Making a lamp from a vase

To prepare your vase for the lamp kit, you will need to make a hole in the base for the cord and fittings with a drill bit designed for glass and tile. Many advise keeping the drill bit wet during the process, which will help keep it cooler and prevent wear on the bit and possible damage to your vase. You may also want to place a masking tape X over the hole to help guide you and protect the surface. Once you have a hole, you can insert a basic lamp kit available from places like Amazon and home improvement stores, stringing the apparatus up through the vase. 

You will also need a base that will lift the vase off the ground and allow the cord to extend out through the bottom, as well as a vase cap or large washer that will close off the top and allow the lamp kit to thread up and through. For a wireless version perfect for spots that lack an outlet, set up the hardware without a cord, but instead of using a traditional bulb, opt for a battery-powered LED bulb instead. 

Customizing your DIY lamp

A clever solution often suggested by other HGTV pros like Alison Victoria, Nate Berkus' DIY lamps are shown off beautifully in a set of vintage vases he outfitted for a guestroom in his home. Because you can customize the project completely, you can use a vase that perfectly fits your aesthetics, including sleeker, more modern vases for contemporary rooms, or more ruddy and primitive materials like clay and stoneware for more rustic interiors. You also have an endless selection of options for shades, including traditional white or cream, as well as stylish woven and colored varieties. 

Because lamp kits come in many sizes, you can use even smaller vases as lamps by installing kits that use a small chandelier bulb. You can also create a small cordless version without a lamp kit by placing an LED puck light in the vase opening with a few dabs of hot glue to keep it in place. This DIY is not only great for vases, but you can also use similar hardware and techniques for other containers like pitchers, planters, cookie jars, and hollow figurines.