Our household has more than the average amount of electronics and wires. In my work I have a lot of data that needs storing, and when we did our renovation we put in ethernet access for all rooms (for TVs, gaming and faster speed in the office). We are also a musical household, so having a good sound system also adds to the mix. Suffice to say, there’s a LOT of wires and adapters.
Our main “hub” is in the great room. I had shelves built with outlets so components could go easily near the main television and audio system.
MY BIG BEEF: What’s with all those big klunky adapters?!
I debated about whether to add cabinet doors, but since some of the components need “line of sight” access, meaning, the remotes won’t work if there’s a door between them and the component, we decided on open shelving.
I bought two rattan baskets from the Container Store and we cut out the back to accommodate the mess of wires. Believe me when I tell you, we tried several different ways to lessen the cabling, but many of the cords are long, plus we needed to have an ethernet switch and power strip to accommodate all of the gadgets.
On the second shelf, it was still annoying to see the wires, the tivo box and the Sonos box. That other black box is our Drobo (our network attached storage) which backs up the family computers and stores my bigger work files like video and photos. I knew it wasn’t a great idea to enclose the Drobo due to possible heat build up, but the other equipment needed to disappear. So…here’s where a genius solution revealed itself:
Enter the COVOBOX! I ordered it on Etsy and was able to customize width and size. These are REAL books that have been cut and framed to create space for the things you want to hide! GENIUS! Right?! This family-run business is rescuing books from hitting landfills, so it’s another bonus ordering from them. Since I needed a custom size, 8.5″ x 18″ wide), the cost was about $200 which included free shipping. I have to say, it was well worth the price, getting a custom made piece that fits perfectly and it’s very well made.
The box is incredibly sturdy, and because they are real books, they look great on the shelf. And you know what? Some of these are authors I’ve read! I can’t say enough about how genius this handy product is. Covobox also has some “ready-made” items that are less expensive if you don’t need a very specific size. They also work in other places beyond shelves, if you only need to hide a router or components that sit on a table. Some people use them to hide valuables. Since they look and feel legit, I can see why this is a great solution for valuables.
How to Plan for Wires If You’re Opening Walls
No matter how much you plan, there will always be some sort of wiring to manage, adapters to hide, but one way to at least minimize the headache of costly wire runs is to plan ahead. If you are undergoing a renovation where walls will be open, you definitely want to take into account any wiring (ethernet, speaker, coax, HDMI) installed. Here are my recommends:
- Ethernet – While most devices run just find on wireless, there are certain cases where it’s a good idea to go hard wired. For TV and gaming, if you have the option, run the cable. We installed CAT 7, just in case that becomes the new standard down the road, but CAT 5e will also suffice for most uses.
- Media Server – If you have a system where you are backing up computers or you need a large hard drive to handle larger files, this should also be hardwired and staged in a climate controlled area.
- Cable run – Even though the move to streaming services is on the rise, it’s still not a bad idea to take your existing coax cable and make sure you have it run wherever you plan to have a television. It will always be cheaper for installers to come in when walls are open and access is much easier.
- Audio – Here again, it’s always WAY easier to plan for this even if you aren’t setting up an audio system right away. Run heavy gauge speaker wire wherever you think you’ll be needing speakers. If you’re running a surround sound system, also consider where you’re putting the woofer as you may need to factor in an outlet on the floor or make sure there is speaker wiring in the floor.
- Electrical Outlets – Anywhere you plan to have electronics, make sure you have outlets. We made sure that each of our built-in shelves had quad outlets. Note that some speakers (most woofers) also require power, so do factor that in as well.
Even with wire runs ahead of time, you still may run into the same conundrum I did with all the various components (and their ADAPTERS). There are some cases where it might even make sense to house all of that in a closet nearby. We considered that option, but closet space was at a premium, and for things like the router, television connect, etc, it just made more sense for us to house everything in one place, and make it accessible.
Interested in a Covobox?
Real books hiding all your wires, so you get to look well-read and cover up the mess! Find them on Etsy or Amazon.