At first blush, light sockets seem like a single-purpose aspect of your home. They’re … light sockets. That is, sockets for lights. They’re pretty specifically designed to have light bulbs screwed into them so you can see stuff at night. And they’ve been around for so long that we don’t think about them much: The basic design of the “Edison Screw” base for light bulbs hasn’t changed much since they were first introduced by Thomas Edison in the late 19th century, and bulb bases are still described using the letter “E” for “Edison”.

But light sockets can be incredibly useful. If your home lacks convenient plugs, they can provide alternative sources of power. Their placement on ceilings or walls or as lamps on our desks and tables can be strategic, and since they’re already wired up and ready to go, they offer an easy way to upgrade your house without having to call an electrician. Here’s how you could be using the light sockets in your house for things other than light.

Instant ceiling fan

Ceiling fans can have a powerful impact on the comfort level of your home, helping to circulate cool air in the summer and warm hot air down in the winter, saving you money by making your home’s climate control more efficient. Installing one can be a hassle, though, and if you’re not comfortable being on a ladder or working with wiring, you might end up hiring someone, which can cost a few hundred bucks or more.

But if you have a ceiling light fixture, you can just pop out the bulb and screw in a socket-mounted ceiling fan for the house or garage. These fans combine a light with the fan, so you won’t lose any illumination—but you will gain a more comfortable home, no wiring or contractors required.

Adapter plug

Sometimes the decisions made designing and building homes are baffling. If you’ve ever moved into a place only to discover that whoever built it saw little use for power outlets, or that your ideal furniture arrangement in every single room magically blocks every outlet, you know the bitter frustration of trying to plug in all your stuff.

Light sockets offer an easy solution—just install an adapter that adds power outlets and any wall- or ceiling-mounted socket (or lamp) becomes a source of power. You can install adapters that include the screw-in socket for a bulb, or transform the socket into a dedicated outlet.

Security camera

Whether you need to monitor your outdoor spaces or want to have some indoor peace of mind when away from your home, there are a lot of reasons to install security cameras. But doing so can mean hiring someone to wire up your house, or dealing with battery-powered cameras and drilling holes in your home’s exterior to attach the cameras, which can be eyesores.

Or, you could just screw a security camera into a convenient light socket. Whether it’s an outdoor sconce or a ceiling fixture inside the house, a socket-based camera offers all the features of a wireless security camera with none of the installation, and without cluttering up your home with stuff stuck on your walls.


Bluetooth speakers are great, but keeping them charged up and remembering to carry them wherever you want to hear audio can be a pain, and hiring someone to wire up the house with speakers can cost several hundred dollars. Instead, pick up a few of these speaker light bulbs, install them in any light socket, and enjoy your music or other audio seamlessly through the house without picking up a single tool.

USB chargers

An incredibly wide range of things now use USB to charge up their internal batteries—from cat toys to motion-activated lights, stuff that has no business being plugged into a computer now uses the standard. This can make finding places to plug in those cables a challenge, bulking up desks and counters with extra cables and dongles.

Or you could install socket adapters that include USB charges. Whether it’s a desk lamp that now lets you easily charge everything or a floor lamp that lets you charge your phone while hanging out in the living room, using these adapters means you won’t struggle to find a place to plug in your USB cords ever again.


If you’ve got 500 movies on your laptop you want to watch easily, or 500 presentations for work, having a portable projector is a great tool. Having a portable projector that plugs into any light socket? Even better. Not only does it eliminate the need to keep charging your projector, but it makes it super convenient to use with work files, or toss it into a sconce and turn your backyard into a movie theater.