Why Now: A new fixture not only creates a welcome glow outside what may be your home's busiest entry point but also improves safety.
How To Do It: Shut off power to the receptacle box (have an electrician install a box if you don't have one). To ensure a weather-tight fit, use a rigid-foam mounting block that fits inside the sconce's base and bridges the gap between the fixture and the garage siding. Caulk the top and sides of the block's back and press it against the siding. Leave the bottom uncaulked so that any moisture that seeps in can escape. Pull the wires through from the receptacle box, connect them to the sconce, and secure the fixture. Finally, caulk around the sides and top of the sconce base where it meets the block, and the sides and top of the block where it meets the siding. Twist in a bulb, restore power, and flip the switch.
The Payoff: The garage takes up one-third of the average home's street-side facade, so even a small improvement makes a big impact. And by wiring the sconce yourself instead of calling an electrician, you'll save about $150 to $200.