Interior Design

Keep Messy Cables & Cords Out of Sight With These Quick Fixes

No one likes seeing a pile of wires in a corner, and absolutely no one likes untangling them.

November 14, 2019
Photo by The Gold Hive

These days, a modern home can have many definitions. Perhaps it’s a place of clean lines and sustainable materials. It could convey a carefully curated aesthetic of things that “spark joy.” Or maybe it has something to do with cables—lots and lots of cables.

A modern home is a plugged-in home, whether that includes a flat screen, a computer, a sound system, an appliance, or whatever else that needs a charge. And while it’s tough to picture our lives before these gadgets entered, it’s totally unavoidable that these things come with a lot of cables. And when you’re hoping to create a modern home with clean lines, sustainable materials, and a carefully curated aesthetic, those cables can sure get in the way.

“Nobody likes seeing them, and certainly, nobody likes untangling the pile of wires in a corner,” says Ashley Goldman, blogger at The Gold Hive.

Goldman has been restoring a 1915 craftsman house in San Diego, California for the last four years, so her idea of a modern home is one that’s authentic to its original architecture, too. As she’s been restoring each room, and adding in clever updates where necessary, she’s noticed how cables can be a distraction to her overall design. So Goldman has figured out ways to conceal and style them so that they’re not a big concern (aka a decor nightmare).

“I'm a firm believer that form can't take precedent over function,” she says. “Our homes should serve our needs and lifestyles—and in 2019, that means having electronics. Putting these necessary items out of sight or incorporated into the design allows us to focus on actually living in our spaces.”

If Goldman can provide one easy mantra for how to declutter cables, it’s this: “Embrace it, cover it, contain it, or modify it.” But if you need more specifics, these are her five tips for hiding and styling a home’s most visible underpinning—its cables.

How to hide a flat screen cable

“If your walls allow it, you can get an in-wall power kit to snake the cables behind the wall to a media unit,” Goldman says. “If the walls are solid and you have to run the cable on the outside, these paintable cord covers help them blend in with the wall.”

Photo by The Gold Hive

How to wrangle the many cables of a desk computer

“I use one of these spiffy organizers mounted to the underside of my desk to keep everything where it needs to be but out of sight,” she continues.

Photo by The Gold Hive

How to conceal charging cables next to a nightstand

“I drilled a hole in the back of my nightstand to run the cables up into the drawer,” Goldman adds. “I also use a hug-a-plug on the outlet so the plugs could go off to the side and reduce bulkiness that would prevent the nightstand from sitting up against the wall.”

How to work with lighting cables

“For cables that are meant to be seen, like plug-in wall sconces, I like to order them with decorative braided cords to fit the design,” she says. “I like to buy handmade lighting on Etsy so I can pick and choose my colors without breaking the bank at custom lighting shops. If you can't order the light of your dreams with a custom cord, you could buy it separately and have the power cord modified. Or, get a paintable cord cover.”

Photo by The Gold Hive

How to handle the cables of small kitchen appliances

“I like to avoid small kitchen appliances out on the counter as much as possible simply to reduce clutter in general,” Goldman adds “Running power to the backside of a cabinet is a great way to store small appliances behind cabinet doors without having to move them to a counter outlet to use them. I never leave appliances plugged in because they draw power when not in use, and it gives me the opportunity to hide them. For example, I like to tuck the cable of my stand mixer into the bowl so the cable is totally out of sight.”

How do you hide your cables & wires at home? Tell us in the comments below!

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Maureen January 17, 2020
I've found these cord bundlers ( very useful, especially in the kitchen to keep the counters freer of cord pileups. I have one on the back of my Instant Pot, another on the blender. When you need to use the appliance, just release the cord and plug in. Fold up the cord and insert back into the bundler to put away.
Cole J. January 5, 2020
A few thoughts. Be careful about stowing electrical devices like routers and hubs inside closed cabinets without proper ventilation. They do generate heat, and have been known to, ahem, catch fire from time to time.

Also, "in-wall" cable management is a thing. You can wall-mount a television, for instance, and install a special extension box into the wall that will carry the power down to the level of a duplex closer to the floor. Best Buy sells all the necessary components, and you can schedule Geek Squad to come out and do the install for you. A well spent $250.

I too dug the Cocoon cable manager under the desk/bureau. Based on my experiences, every velcro option I have found would eventually give out. The adhesives just aren't strong enough to adhere to wood, long term. Perhaps a short wood screw would be best choice on this.
Anne C. December 26, 2019
I’d like to know what small appliance you could possibly use while it’s still in a cabinet?! I couldn’t think of one. It means taking it out to use it. Not my idea of usefulness. I’d rather look at my toaster, coffee maker, blender than be required to haul them out in order to put them to use. Now if she means appliance garages that is sensible if you design for them using a different kind of cabinet, not a regular over or under the counter kitchen cabinet.
Marsha January 18, 2020
I totally agree, Anne but I'm older. I don't require the "no-one-lives-here" look. LOL.
Amy H. November 14, 2019
I'd love to know what she used to attach the Cocoon gridded storage to the bottom of the desk. With the weight of all the cords you would need something sturdier than adhesive hook and loop tape, I would think. Thanks!
Di November 16, 2019
I was thinking the same, maybe a heavy duty Velcro?
Allison C. November 18, 2019
I was wondering the same thing! My cords under my desk (which is in my yoga room) are sooo distracting!
SEB January 17, 2020
I coil up the excess slack of the cords and then use mini zip ties to keep the coil in place. This way the cords don’t get tangled with each other. This also allows to pull a little slack from the coiled cord if I need to slide the Credenza out.