Erik J. Martin, CTW Features
Nowadays, we are increasingly tethered to technology in the form of cables, cords, wires and other connections snaked across the rooms in our homes. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth help reduce the court clutter, but there are still plenty of gadgets and devices that require being hardwired, especially around the desk in a home office or near the entertainment center in the TV room.
Excessive cords can be more than an eyesore; they can also present trip, fire and choking hazards. That’s why it’s necessary to group and hide those stringy connections safely and effectively.
“By carefully considering and implementing safe cable storage, concealment and organization, homeowners can create a safer, more visually appealing and more functional living environment while minimizing the risks of accidents, damage or disruption to their home electronics,” says Luke Bachtold, and ergonomics expert with Edelman, Inc.
Consider the extent to which modern home electronics typically rely on multiple types of connections – from power cords and ethernet cables to HDMI connectors and USB cords. Each device has its own connectivity needs and proprietary connections, which creates a more complex cable management situation for households.
Plus, Bachtold adds, “With more devices placed in different locations throughout the home, managing cables of appropriate length to reach the power outlets or connectivity points can be challenging,” especially if you need a longer cable/cord run.
Complicating the scenario is the fact that more family members are working from home over the past three years, which typically means more cables are present throughout living spaces.
Fortunately, plentiful cable management solutions are available, including cable holders, cable clips, stick-on cable ties, and cable management boxes with space for USB and power cords of various sizes. Christen Costa with Gadget Review is a fan of the latter.
“Cable boxes serve to cover and disguise wiring completely and can prevent bundles of cables from getting tangled. A well-placed cable tray also makes it easier to plug and unplug frequently used accessories,” he says.
Ben Gold, founder of Recommended Home Buyers, says it’s important to use the right product for the right needs.
“I would use cable ties or clips to keep cords together and reduce clutter. Meanwhile, use cord covers or cable concealers to hide cords running along walls or floors. Use surge protectors with built-in cable management to organize cords behind entertainment centers and desks,” advises Gold. “And for TVs mounted on the wall, use a recessed outlet box to hide cords behind the television. Remember to always label cords and cables to make it easier to identify which device they belong to.”
To pick the best cable management system for your needs, think about the types of accessories you have, the shape of your workspace, and the length of your power and data cables.
“If you use a wired gaming keyboard, gaming monitor and mouse, you want to keep each peripheral’s power and data cables in a designated space and avoid cord spaghetti,” suggests Costa. “In setups with multiple devices, the number of power cables involved will, in part, determine the requirements of your cord holder. In general, great cable management products feature easy-to-use fasteners, space for multiple cords of various sizes and durable, high-quality materials.”
Consider furniture pieces that have built-in cable management features, such as desks or TV stands with designated cable routing channels or compartments.
“When positioning furniture against walls, leave a small gap where you can run cables down the back of the furniture. This method hides the cables without requiring additional accessories,” adds Bachtold.
Some products, including cable concealers, can even be painted to match the color of your walls, according to Joshua Parrish, a licensed residential contractor and a home renovation blogger in Fayetteville, Georgia.
“Fixtures like TVs or sound equipment can often have their cables run behind walls wherever they are mounted, which can make these cords practically invisible,” Parrish notes. “Hi-voltage cables, such as those powering your TV or sound equipment, should be UL-certified to ensure they won’t pose a fire hazard in the home. Be aware that not all power cords are rated for use behind drywall, and any cords installed behind finished drywall should be labeled and identified for future reference.”