Things You'll Need
Never work on live electrical circuits.
When it comes to electrical work, for many people the first instinct is to call an electrician. But the average homeowner can handle some wiring jobs with ease. If you've got electrical wiring, you can wire almost any electrical device to it--light fixture, electric outlet or switch. The fundamentals of wiring are straightforward, and each device is connected in a similar manner. So if you need an extra electric outlet and have a rarely used a light fixture that has a bulb socket, you can replace it quickly and easily with no special tools.
Turn off the power to the circuit you'll be working on at the main circuit breaker box. Don't rely on a wall switch--play it safe and cut it off at the breaker.
Remove the light fixture with the bulb socket from the wall where it's mounted. Most light fixtures have a set of screws that hold them in place. You may be able to take these off with your fingers or you may need a screwdriver. Remove these, and the fixture will come loose.
Cut the wires that are connected to the light fixture with a set of wire cutters, leaving about 3 or 4 inches of wire protruding from the wall. Place the light fixture aside for future use or later disposal.
Remove the mounting plate for the light fixture from the gang box. This typically is held in place with two or three screws. Set it aside with the light fixture.
Connect the white wire in the gang box to the silver screw on the outlet and the black wire to the brass screw. Loosen the screws, slide the bare ends of the wire underneath and tighten the screws to hold the wires.
Put the outlet into the gang box and secure it into place with screws at the top and bottom, screwing them into the threaded inserts of the gang box.
Place the outlet cover over the outlet and secure it into place by inserting a screw into the openings and tightening the screw.
Based in Virginia, Nichole Liandi has been a freelance writer since 2005. Her articles have appeared on various print and online publications. Liandi has traveled extensively in Europe and East Asia and incorporates her experiences into her articles. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from West Virginia University.