How to Hide Cables & Cover Wires in Your Home For Better Safety and Appearance
Even with the prevalence of WIFI, Bluetooth, plus a host of cordless electronics currently available to consumers, wire management remains a major organizational issue in most homes. The tangle of wires can not only spoil the appearance of a room, but an open mess of cords and wires can be a physical hazard as well. Dangling wires and cables should be kept out of reach of babies and young children, and off the floor where they might be tripped over by adults and kids alike. Even cords hanging under a desk can pose a problem. They are visible, accessible to young children and pets, and can get tangled in your feet or legs. Available solutions run the gamut from inexpensive do-it-yourself projects, to ready-made wire covers, to moulding, trim, or a shallow cabinet with doors custom built to hide cables.
BUILD A SHALLOW CABINET
A shallow cabinet with doors is the optimal desk cable management solution for the mess of wires most of us have under our desks. It's the best solution for ease of use because cables, plugs and wires remain completely accessible behind the cabinet doors. This fix requires that a simple cabinet with 2-3 inches depth be installed in front of the messy wires, screening the view of the mess and preventing little fingers or paws from playing with them. This is a custom project requiring basic carpentry skills and tools. Build a shallow box to cover the entire area with the messy wires. The size of the box will depend on the size of the area you need to cover. The back of the box should be left open, while a hinged set of doors needs to be installed across the front. With the open side flat up against the wall, attach the shallow box to the underside of a desk, cabinet, or directly to the wall if necessary so that it covers the electrical outlet and all the wires that protrude from it. This will conceal the wires very neatly, while allowing easy access when necessary. Cabinet door locks can be installed on the doors if needed to prevend small children from opening the compartment that holds all the wires.
TRIM WITH CROWN MOULDING OR PANELS
This solution works especially well to hide the wires from lighting systems, but can be used on any cables or wires. Use a piece of crown moulding across the top of a cabinet or along the wall next to the ceiling to hide the wires. The angle of the crown creates a convenient groove to cradle all the wires and keep them out of sight. Do the same thing but install the crown upside down along the floor or bottom of a cabinet to hide lower wires. Flat panels can also be used to conceal wires instead of crown, but sufficient empty space must be retained behind the panel for the wires to fit without crimping. Setting the panel out 3/4 inch should be sufficient for regular extension cords and elecrical wires.
BUY A WIRE COVER
There are numerous plastic wire covers available on the open market. Most function like a tube. The wires and cables are run through the tube to contain and conceal the mess. There is usually a slit that runs the length of the tube so that cables and wires can be easy aded or subtracted without having to remove the whole thing. Most are flat on one side to ensure easy attachment to the underside of countertops, shelves or desktops. The downside to this solution is that they don't cover the power outlet and aren't big enough to hold a power supply with numerous devices plugged in. You may need to purchase cable shorteners and baby locks from your local hardware store or home center. Install them on your electrical cords and outlets in addition to the wire cover in order to ensure proper safety for children and pets.
D.I.Y. WIRE MANAGEMENT IDEA
Effective wire management solutions do not need to be expensive. Foam pipe insulation can be used as a wire cover to hide cables. This idea works in a similar fashion to a purchased wire cover, but is a lot cheaper. Foam pipe insulation is available at any hardware store or home center. It is available in several diameters ranging anywhere from 3/8 inch to 10 inches &38212; with 1/2, 3/4, 1, and 2 inch being the most common. It comes in 3 and 6 foot lengths. The insulation is basically a long hollow tube with a slit cut into the side of it to allow a pipe to be inserted. The material is flexible and easy to work with. It's soft enough to pound a nail screw or through the foam to attach to the underside of a desk, but also light enough that strong tape can be used to secure it to any surface with success. It is easy to cut to size. The smaller diameter foam pipe insultation can even be bent around corners.
Whether you are doing it for aesthetics, safety or both, concealing excess wires and cables is a sound practice for any home or business. There are numerous ways to go about achieving good wire management that will meet any bugdet or situation. Whether you opt for a custom solution that integrates with your cabinetry, or a stock wire cover and cable shortener, safety should always be your first consideration.