My boyfriend and I just recently moved into our very first apartment. It took a while before our internet/cable was installed, so before we began to set up our entertainment center and home office, we knew we needed to find cable management solutions for all those messy and unsightly wires. Fortunately for us, we had a clean blank canvas of a room to start from and came up with some ideas beforehand. Here are 5 cable management tips you might want to keep in mind while waiting around for the cable guy.
1. Learn to cut your own cable. Whether it’s an ethernet or coaxial cable, your furniture is governed by how far these cables can reach. When the cable guy comes to set up your internet, he usually asks how long you want the cable that's connected to the cable modem or cable box to be. If you don't have your furniture set up yet, the cables may end up being too short or you may have a big coil of wire hanging from the back of your cable box.
2. Split the cable where you need to. When the cable guy comes to your new place, he sometimes needs to use a splitter to split the cable so it goes to both your cable box and cable modem. When my cable guy came, he actually split the cable right at the beginning, from the wall! So unfortunately, I ended up with 2 cables to manage, rather than just splitting the cable closer to the end where I wanted it to be.
3. Keep things tidy by covering up those plugs. Even with all the wireless technology that frees us from wires these days, there’s still that pesky power cord that we can’t seem to get away from. A cheap and easy fix to keep your cords neat is with a surge protector concealer. You can purchase ones that are built-in (like this Belkin) or cover up the surge protector you already own with a Bluelounge CableBox.
4. Install wire tracks. Before you start moving furniture around and up against the wall, it’s a good idea to put up some wire tracks to keep your cables tidy. These relatively inexpensive plastic tracks are a lot easier to install when your walls are clear of clutter because they come in long pieces.
5. Choose the right cable color. This one may seem a bit obvious, but it’s something that can be easily be overlooked. When the cable guy came to install our cable, I was a little taken aback by the fact that all he had were black coax cables—I thought the clear choice would be a white cables so that they’d blend into the white walls. Moving furniture around later to replace the cables didn’t seem like my idea of fun, so I ended up quickly going to RadioShack to replace those black cables right away before I had my media center in place.
(Image: Flickr member Rick Audet licensed for use under Creative Commons)