Old House, New (Tech) Tricks: How to Hide Messy Entertainment System Wires for Under $70

old house + new technologyold house + new technology

When we finally bought a flat screen television in November, we decided to stop using an entertainment center that used floor space. We have a lovely fireplace and mantle, and the TV fit perfectly up there (and there is an outlet in the wall) so it was perfect. Our cable box fit on the mantle as well, and the modem sat on the floor below. It was a bit messy, but not terrible.

Then we switched carriers (to save cash and get faster Internet) and the new cable box was WAY too big for the mantle. Plus around Christmas we got an Xbox 360, and that was now also sitting on the floor connected to a big power-strip, and you guessed it, we had a hot mess. Most folks are able to just hide the cables and wires in the walls, but not us; the walls in our nearly 100-year-old house are solid plaster over wooden lathe. No way to drop cables through a hollow spot because there IS no hollow spot. So what did we do? Yes, we could have called an electrician to fix it but we didn't really feel that was smart money spent. Plus I really like doing things myself. We managed to make it look pretty for only $65. Here's how:

Wire Solutions
We started out with all our lovely and expensive and critical devices RIGHT NEXT TO THE FIRE PLACE. I know, right? We're idiots. Our additional issue was the fact that some of the cords weren't even long enough to allow the power strip to be on the floor. We tried mounting the strip on the wall, but the couch is light and moves easily and kept knocking it off. Not good. So, we went to Ikea and got this floating shadowbox to store the electronics in up off the floor.

Thanks, IKEA!Thanks, IKEA!
Enlisting the Kid
It's never too early to begin teaching your child about the nightmare of putting together IKEA stuff, right? She loved helping and was able to tighten all the bolts nearly all the way.

Related: 20 home projects you can get done over the weekend

Making it Fit
So now the box is mounted. This was NOT an easy task. Our old house has walls made up of plaster over wooden lathe. Trying to put screws into these walls usually just ends up causing huge holes. We managed to install two anchors and then screwed into those, but to back up we used improvised brackets underneath that were attached to the wooden (and very well installed) chair rail that runs the length of the room. We also drilled a few holes into the box to allow the wires to pass through. Do you know what is between the particle board on this thing? CARDBOARD. Cardboard, for the record, doesn't respond well to a drill. That was a fun half hour.

Cord Management
Some wires had to go around the box, some under it. We used some wonderful D-wings to just keep the wires hidden and neat.

Wall Fix
Again, we ran into the issue of being unable to put screws into the wall, which eliminated most wire covers (also called runways). We ended up buying this one from Home Depot, but instead of screwing it into the wall we bought really strong double sided tape to make it adhere to the wall. As you can see, we ended up solving the too-short cord issue by simply buying a short white extension cord.

Hide those wires!Hide those wires!
So there you have it! We managed to put the power strip on the floor behind the couch and guided the cable wires to also be hidden behind the couch. That last black wire on top is actually now plugged in the wall right behind the TV (we have an outlet there). It's just SO much better!

- By Cecily Kellogg
Follow Cecily on Babble

For 10 more genius IKEA hacks you have to try, visit Babble!

20 things you can live without to reduce clutter

10 everyday household items that double as organizers
24 genius ways to decorate your home with a Sharpie
25 tips and tricks to make laundry day easier

Babble | Babble.com
Stay connected. Follow Babble on Facebook and Twitter.