Good Questions: Cable Management

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Jeffrey wrote in with an organizational and aesthetic question that we think is amongst the most common dilemmas home owners face trying to hide the ugly side home electronic components:

I just bought a credenza where I keep my iPod HiFi and my cable box on. The thing is you can see all the cables from the TV, cable, and iPod hanging in the back. Is there any type of solution for this?

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Jeffrey, we'd first like to direct you to our friends over at AT Home Tech, and their Top Ten: Cord Control Solutions. Some of those cable organizers could help wrangle in the medusa head of wires. Start off by simply twist tying the cables together or using a flexible cable zipper (all available at The Container Store) into one bunch to minimize the sense of wire clutter. Remember to also strategically place decor items to hide wires; we run cables behind furniture, following the lines of the furniture and down the legs using cable twists and cable guides. We also wall mounted the surge protector so plugs are not visible, hidden behind furniture or at least placed on a side away from most visible angles.

The difficult issue with your credenza is that it has a completely exposed back end. Have you considered creating a back panel attached onto your credenza, so the wires and cables behind are not visible? You could create a false back using lumber and staining it similar colour and drilling it to the back.

Another idea is to create a front panel using a fabric, using a curtain track. But if you can afford it, it might be worth investigating having a custom built accordian or roll up door made, since they come in a variety of hardwood colours to compliment your credenza. This might be the best route, since it would give your credenza a more solid appearance, and also give you additional storage for components or hide away your cable box. The additional benefit is that you won't have to place your center speaker ontop of the cable box, which is not advisable, since the cable box needs sufficient air flow to keep its interior components cool.

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