Converting a Light Switch to an Outlet

Closeup of a person using a screwdriver to replace a light switch

Last updated: 9/22/2023 

Throughout your home, you will have different electrical needs. As a result, you might find yourself with a room that has switches in a spot where an outlet would be far more practical. If you’re not a trained electrician, it’s easy not to know what you can and can’t do when it comes to the electricity in your home.

Can a Light Switch Be Converted to an Outlet?

Yes, you can convert a light switch to an electrical outlet. However, because outlets and light switches have different functions, the wiring for one or the other will be different enough that you should trust a licensed electrician, such as Mr. Electric, to handle the project for you.

How an Electrician Will Change a Switch into an Outlet

Your first two choices are deciding whether to keep the switch and how you want the new outlet to function. Although you might not often use the existing light switch and think an outlet would better suit your needs, totally removing the light switch may not be the best course of action. Luckily, you don’t have to decide between outlet or switch, as you have options that will give you both outlets and switches. You can have your electrician wire the outlet so that the switch controls it, or the outlet can operate independently of the switch.

Anything related to electrical wiring is not a good candidate for a DIY home project. The inherent danger of working with electricity and the possibility of wiring an outlet incorrectly are not worth the risks. Here’s how your local Mr. Electric would install an outlet where your light switch is:

  • Identify which circuit the switch is on and turn off the power supply to that circuit to prevent electrocution.

  • Remove the switch from the wall and label the wires connected to it. The general rule for electrical wire color codes is that the red and black wires will be the live wires while a white wire will be neutral, but it’s possible that another color may be used.

  • Connect the wires to the proper terminals on the outlet. All wires must be attached correctly for the switch to work properly. This is something that a trained professional can do for you. A potential problem could arise if the person who originally installed the switch connected the wires incorrectly; if you replicate what was done previously, you will end up with the same faulty wiring job.

Related Topic: 6 Types of Electrical Outlet Upgrades

What Can Go Wrong When Turning a Light Switch into an Outlet?

Electricity makes life easier and more convenient, but wiring done wrong can lead to tragic consequences. Take a second to consider these common negative outcomes of DIY conversions before trying to convert your light switch to an outlet.

  • A combination light switch/outlet not always being on. If you’re not trying to fully replace a light switch with an outlet, a combo light switch and outlet can help give you the best of both worlds. However, if you don’t properly wire this fixture, you’ll end up with an outlet that only turns on with the switch, which might defeat the purpose of having both.

  • Accidentally reversing the hot wires and the neutral wire. This is one of the most dangerous outcomes you might come across. When you replace a light switch with an outlet and don’t connect the wires properly, you can create shock hazards.

Related Topic: Avoid These Dangerous DIY Home Electrical Repairs

Electricians Who Can Help You Change Your Switch to an Outlet

If you’re looking to increase the number of outlets in a room, converting your light switch to an outlet can be a great solution. But messing with electrical wiring and outlets can be a dangerous task, even if you’re an experienced DIYer. To ensure your electrical work is done properly and safely, contact the electrical pros at your local Mr. Electric. Schedule an appointment or call us at (844) 866-1367 today.