If you’ve figured out how to mount a TV on the wall, you’re probably high-fiving yourself for accomplishing such a feat (particularly since hiring a pro to mount a TV costs upward of $250, so you’ve just saved yourself a bundle). There’s just one problem: those wires dangling from your TV. Ugly, right? This is why we’re moving on to your next DIY project: how to hide TV wires.
There are a couple of ways to hide TV cables—both on, and behind, your wall. The former method is the easiest and ideal for a homeowner (or renter) who doesn’t want holes in the wall or a lot of work. However, if you do want those cables running behind your wall, move on to the second set of instructions below.
How to hide wires on a wall
Things you’ll need:
- Tape measure
- PVC cutter/hacksaw (optional)
- A cord channel like CordMate III Channel ($15.97).
Step No. 1: Cut your channel to the right size
If you have a power outlet right below your TV, you’re in luck: You’ll just need to cut to size one channel that will reach vertically from the base of your TV to the outlet below. If your outlet is off to the left or right below your TV, you can attach an L-shaped joint to the bottom, followed by a horizontal channel to the outlet.
Step No. 2: Add your channel to the wall
Once the channel is cut to the right length, peel off the adhesive tape on the back and place it on the wall where you want it. Press down along the entire length to make sure it sticks, then open and insert all the cables inside. Once done, you can snap the channel closed.
While a plastic channel is the easiest and cheapest way to hide your TV wires, you are still left with something running along your wall. If you want to completely hide the cables behind your wall, follow the instructions below.
How to hide wires behind the wall
Things you’ll need:
- Tape measure
- Utility knife
- Two cable plates ($4)
Step No. 1: Make sure your cords are up to code
According to Michael Kane of Philadelphia, owner of Instatech Home Theaters, “do not bury just any cord into the wall—especially a power cord. This is considered a fire hazard and is against code.”
The best option, according to Kane, is to “be sure [the cables] are in-wall and UL-rated.” UL, or Underwriters Laboratories, is an organization that tests the safety of various products.
Step No. 2: Remove your TV from the Wall
If your TV has a swinging arm mount, all you have to do is move the TV out of the way. If it’s a fixed or tilted wall mount, you’ll have to lift your TV off the mount and put it on the floor. This will give you enough room to work with the wires.
Step No. 3: Find the right place for the cable plate
Having a hole in your wall can look unsightly, so you can frame this area with a cable plate, which looks like a light switch plate, but only with an opening for wires. The cable plate should come with a template; if so, put it where you want the cables to feed into and draw the area. If there is no template, just measure all for sides of the plate and draw it onto your wall. It’s a useful guideline to know where to cut.
When choosing the space for the plate, you will obviously want to avoid the studs. Well, guess what? Your TV bracket is screwed into your studs so if you choose a space between them you should be good. Or you could use a stud finder.
Step No. 4: Cut out the marked area
Using a utility knife or drywall saw, cut out the space you just marked. After a few cuts, you should be able to push the patch in a bit so you can get your fingers around it to take it out.
Step No. 5: Insert the cable plate
The cable plate should fit very snuggly into the space you just cut out. If required, screw the plate into the wall to make sure that it stays. Make sure the opening is pointing downward so the cables are fished toward the opening you will create down below.
Step No. 6: Repeat for the bottom plate
Next, cut out a hole for the bottom plate. Then insert your wires into the top plate and fish them out below. Pull all the wires out, then put them through the second cable plate and secure it to the wall.
Plug in every cable, and you should be good to go without any ugly wires in sight. This also works wonders for any kind of wire or cable, from your computers to your modems, so this skill could come in handy more than you might think.
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