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How to Manage and Conceal Cables

Cables are easily the least attractive part of contemporary electrified life. They rarely come in pleasing colors and are often far too long for the purposes we need them to serve. Because of this, many people make an effort to hide or at least manage the myriad cables that make up their home’s many digital hubs.

Management is the first stage in hiding cables. You can’t keep cables hidden if they’re left resting wherever they fall. Check out some of the management tips below before scrolling further down to find how to hide them best!

Hook Cords to Furniture

This method of cable management works best in offices, where cables are naturally constrained to a relatively small area. The idea behind this technique is that you can both bundle and secure cables simultaneously while also allowing easy access should you need to replace a cable or add one to your bundle.
You can find plastic clips which create a rigid securing point on whatever piece of furniture you adhere them to, but these clips are both brittle and cannot expand much should your cable bundle be too thick. We recommend Velcro clips, which adhere to furniture the same as plastic ones, but allow for expansion or contraction as your needs change.

Wrap Cables Together

a cable bundle with wraps and zip tiesIf you need to keep cables organized but can’t or don’t want to keep them secured, cable wraps or tubes area a great option. This is a technique that works best for electronics which need to be moved frequently, as it allows you to unplug the entire bundle at once and transport it as a unit. It’s also a great technique for hanging televisions where there just isn’t any furniture to attach cables to.

Shorten How Far Cables Have to Go

The biggest cause of cable disorganization is distance. The further cables have to travel to get where they’re going, the more opportunities they have to get tangled, and the more you have to look at. Try bringing power sources closer to their ultimate goal: Move power strips to places where power cables only have to travel a foot or so, move A/V systems closet to televisions, and keep PCs as close to your desk as you can.
With everything closet together, cables can be neatly spooled and tied, keeping them manageable.

Let’s talk about some techniques for hiding cables! There are a number of methods you can use, and some will require some modifications to your home while others are easy additions you can make for not too much money.

Cable Raceways

Someone putting a cable into a channelA cable raceway is basically an enclosed semi-permanent track to run wires through. You can find large raceways, around the size of a 2×4, which are great for places areas of the home where the raceway doesn’t affect the overall style of the room: home theaters, garages, hobby rooms, etc. are all great places to use large raceways, as they can benefit from the additional capacity.
Smaller raceways, particularly D shaped or quarter round shaped, are excellent for areas of the home where a few wires have to travel some distance: up the wall, across a baseboard, even across the floor if you need to. These raceways sometimes come in interesting materials, but for the most part they come in white plastic. As such, a quick buff with a high grit sandpaper and a coat of primer is all you need to match the raceways to the color of the wall behind them.

Behind The Couch

The living room couch is a natural choice for hiding furniture. It has a large visual footprint but is easy to move around when needed. You can simply route cables behind the back of the couch or under the bottom, but if you want to add a bit of extra luxury to your cable management, consider getting a narrow sofa table. These are slim tables which are designed to fill in the gap between your couch and the wall behind it, giving you a place to decorate or keep drinks. If you want to go the extra mile and really make your cable management wonderful, try to find a sofa table that has USB and 120v sockets on the top. That will allow you to run a single power cable to the entire unit, cutting down dramatically on the amount of management you have to do.

Hidden Within Furniture

You’d be amazed at the things you can do for your cable management with a power drill and a paddle bit or hole saw. End tables and bedside tables can easily be modified to hide cables for lamps and devices within the table.
If you feel up for it, you can even create a little power bank within an end table: drill an entry hole in the back of your table, and place a small power supply inside the drawer. Route the power cable through the hole in the back. Lamp power can still go straight into the wall or it can go into the power supply, as most lamp cables have enough play to not have an issue with the drawer being opened. Now, chargers and other powered devices can easily be plugged in without having to bend down!

BONUS: Hide Internet Infrastructure Behind False Books

A dark bedside table with a phone resting on itInternet modem and router set-ups are often in pretty central areas of the home. Most consumer-grade Wi-Fi routers have to be positioned in a way that can cover the entire house, and that can make them quite visible. Unfortunately, concealing your internet set-up isn’t as easy as just stuffing it into a cabinet; Wi-Fi is a type of radio and routers create an awful lot of heat. Therefore they shouldn’t be completely enclosed if you can avoid it. That’s why a false book façade can work so well. Placed on a high shelf with the cables hidden behind the furniture keeps router/modem combos stealthy, able to breathe, and still easily accessible when your internet inevitably goes down.