Last Updated on May 29, 2022
EDITOR’S NOTE: Updated with a 3-year status report.
I tend to be pretty frugal when it comes to lamps. In the past I’ve been known to get my lamps secondhand from garage sales, in part because new lamps can be rather expensive and a lot of the new lamps I see in stores just aren’t the style I’m looking for. My tastes tend to be pretty basic.
Secondhand lamps do have some drawbacks, though. They’re used, so the wiring can be less than stellar, and there can be damage, especially to the lampshade. (I cannot confirm or deny whether I’ve had to rotate a used lampshade to hide the damage it came with from the wider world.)
On a couple of occasions, I’ve been in a situation where I’ve needed to get new lamps, and going used wasn’t really an option. In those instances, Dollar General was a place I went to for some options.
Dollar General sells both lamp bases and lamp shades under its True Living Essentials private label. At the time of this post, the lamps themselves run $5 apiece and the shades are $7. Most stores I’ve been to sell lamps and shades separately, which is actually helpful because 1) you can mix and match shades and bases and 2) you can purchase just one part of the set if you already have another. My wife, for example, had an old lamp base, but her shade was pretty beat up, so she looked to get a replacement one from DG.
The True Living Essentials Lamp Base and Lamp Shade fit together easily, and they look like they were designed for each other, which is what you would hope for in a set. The proportions seem right, and the fit is secure. The base, for its part, feels substantial enough that it sits comfortably on a desk or nightstand without a major risk of tipping, and the light switch — at least early on — works without fuss.
Selection will vary by store, but I thought Dollar General had a pretty decent selection of lamps, from some basic stuff to things with a little more character. My daughter, for example, needed a lamp but also likes all things Paris. DG was able to deliver. She’s had this DG lamp in her room for a couple of years now.
I, on the other hand, wanted something that just looked like a normal lamp.
UPDATE (May 2022): a couple of years our Eiffel Tower lamp started getting more finicky turning on and staying, sometimes flickering on an off. Our other lamp continues to work as normal.
If you need a budget table lamp, Dollar General certainly has them. They’re inexpensive and the mix-and-match selection is pretty good. Early returns on the build and use quality seem good, and I’m hopeful these will do the job in my house for a while.