Make Ugly Wires Disappear
A few years ago, my husband and I had our living room professionally redone, and afterward, the decorator photographed it for her portfolio. Before she even turned on the camera, she steamed wrinkles out of drapes and dressed up surfaces with funky accent pieces. Then did something unexpected: She unplugged everything. Her explanation? Though necessary in our everyday lives, wires are, well, ugly. And after scrolling through the photos of our wireless room, I saw her point.
Since then, I’ve been on a mission to conceal the mountain of snaking cords that are part and parcel of our modern life — or, at the very least, organize them. But to be perfectly honest, that’s easier said than done, especially for a less-than-crafty gal like myself. What I needed were simple strategies that really work, so I turned to Chet Pourciau, a veteran decorator and stager and owner of Chet Pourciau Design in New Orleans. Here are his tried-and-true tips for making a tangle of wires disappear.
Cover up with fabric. Just like a well-cut dress or jacket can hide many a flaw, so too can a beautiful piece of fabric conceal an unsightly mess of wires. Pourciau often hangs drapery to hide electrical cords and outlets. For maximum effect, he likes to position curtains so they make the room feel larger than it is. “Remember to hang your drapery close to the ceiling to trick the eye into thinking the ceilings are taller than they really are,” he says.
Fabric also does a beautiful job camouflaging wires closer to the ground. To clean up a home office area, try draping a gorgeous piece of fabric over the desk, or wrap a group of wires with grosgrain fabric that matches the walls or baseboards. If all else fails, you can always sneak them under a rug.
Build a false panel. I know what some of you are thinking: I thought these were supposed to be easy DIY jobs. But trust me, this isn’t as involved as it sounds. In fact, false panels are a nifty workaround when there are wires in and around a piece of furniture. “In one case, I had a bookshelf that had cords and outlets that were distracting to the eye,” Pourciau says. “I fixed the issue by cutting out pieces of wood that fit onto the back of the bookshelf. The panel sandwiched the cords between the ‘real’ back and false panel. This allowed me to display decorative items without distractions.”
Buy pre-made cord covers. Wires, like taxes or surprise visits from your in-laws, are sometimes unavoidable. (Hello, wall-mounted TV!) And when those dangling strips of plastic can’t be tucked away, there are cord covers. These handy pieces of plastic are designed to neatly house a gaggle of wires while lying as flush as possible against the wall. They’re unobtrusive, easy to install and work like a charm every time. Traditional plain white or gray ones are fine, but why not let something practical also be pretty? Pourciau likes decorative cord covers and also has painted them a fun, vibrant shade to add a punch of color to a room. “Who says you can’t have a Radiant Orchid cord cover?” he points out.
Tame the tangle. If you do nothing else to manage your wires, at least organize them so they appear tidy. You could buy cord wraps, though Pourciau swears by plain old bread-bag twist ties. “They’re easy to handle, and grouping all the wires together makes a huge impact,” he says.