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How To Hide Computer Cords In A Home Office

by - Tuesday, May 11, 2021

When I recently redesigned my home office, one of my biggest challenges wasn't picking the furniture or the paint colour, it was determining how to hide computer cords. I think it's a problem that many of us face. Your workspace might be neat and orderly, but if you're staring at an ugly mess of cords from your laptop, monitor, printer, lamp, and phone charger all day, you're bound to feel distracted.

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How To Hide Computer Wires In A Home Office

Having a plan on how to hide your computer cords or electrical wires is essential. There's lots of cable management ideas and products out there, but it all comes down to how visible or invisible do you want your cords to be?

I'm a minimalist when it comes to home office decor. I prefer for my office supplies to be tucked away, the printer to be hidden, and only my every day essentials on my desk. It's no surprise then that I wanted my computer wires to be practically invisible and neatly tucked away.

Power cords aren't going anywhere but you can find a way to hide them that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Before you decide on a solution, you'll want to ask yourself a few basic questions.

 

How Many Office Items Do You Need To Plug In?

Hiding wires for one or two items might not be an issue. But when you need to plug in more than a handful of peripherals or accessories, you need to think about:
  • how many outlets you have in the room and where they are located
  • how far the peripherals will be in relation to those outlets
  • are there a sufficient number of plugs? Do you need to add power bars? Is installing floor electrical outlets an option?
You'll also want to consider "how you work"? Do you always work at your desk and have a permanent setup with a monitor and keyboard? Or are you mobile some of the time, perhaps working at your desk one day and then at the living room sofa another day? These preferences will determine if your cords needs to be fixed in one spot, or have the ability to be unplugged and moved.

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Can You Minimize What You're Plugging In?

Think about how you can eliminate cords. Can you go wireless or have plug-in items that do double duty? For instance, this table lamp has a usb plug built in, thereby eliminating the need to plug your phone charger into an outlet - just plug it into your desk lamp. This modern desk lamp goes one step further and has a wireless charging strip for wireless phone charging.

You might also consider a cordless rechargeable table lamp, a wireless monitor with wireless charging stand, even a wireless keyboard and wireless mouse. The more visual cords you can eliminate, the better your work environment will feel.

Where To Place Your Desk In A Home Office?

The most important consideration in a home office is placement of your desk. This will have the biggest impact on where and how you hide your wires.

Do you like to have your desk against a wall, perhaps beneath a window so you have a view outside? Then hiding your computer cords is easy: just place your desk on the same wall as an electrical outlet. Your cords won't have to travel a long distance to plug in. Additionally, the cords aren't visible and distracting to you when you're sitting at the desk. When you're not at your desk, your desk chair will likely hide them from view. 

shelf to hold computer wires, desk grommet

If you have a lot of items to plug in, you might consider this idea. This was my desk in our previous basement. We mounted a small shelf underneath the desk to hold the modem and power bar. A round hole was cut into the top of the desk and a desk grommet cover was put in place to feed the wires to the shelf underneath. It was a neat and easy solution, and because the shelf was narrow, it didn't impede me sitting in the chair.

Hiding computer wires in a home office becomes a bit more difficult when you decide to float your desk in the middle of the room. This is the current layout I have in my office and it was my preference for a few reasons. Firstly, my home office isn't a large room and having a desk centred in the space allowed for traffic flow and access to the closet and storage cabinets in the room. Secondly, I prefer to work facing a door rather than having my back to it. 

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When we built this DIY IKEA L-shaped desk for two in our previous home, it made good use of the limited space, but really made me feel uneasy when I worked at the window, with my back to the door! It's all about personal preference. Position your desk in a spot that makes you feel most productive. 

My current desk faces a white wall with just a few pieces of art that won't distract me. It has a soft rug underfoot, a comfortable desk chair, and a window with window coverings that allow me to let the light shine in or diffuse it when needed. It also has hidden computer cords on my desk. Let me show you what I've done!

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How To Hide Computer Cords On A Desk In The Middle Of The Room

Here's the items I used to hide my computer wires:

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I decided to mount a power bar on the side of the desk furthest from the door. I did this for a few reasons:
  • No power bar would be visible entering the room or when seated at the desk
  • The power bar would be easily accessible
  • This set up would accommodate both 'fixed' items like the desk lamp that would be plugged once and not moved, and 'movable' items like my laptop that could be plugged and unplugged easily

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I determined that at most I would need three plugs (lamp, laptop + spare) plus a usb port for charging my phone. This power bar had great reviews, multiple outlets, was able to be wall/desk mounted. It also had a 15' long extension cord which would ensure it could reach the nearest outlet.

I could have kept this power bar more hidden and mounted it under the desk in the free area behind my desk drawers. This would have it difficult though to plug and unplug things. I would have to crawl under the desk to do so. In this instance, accessibility trumped visibility.

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The extension cord was attached under the lip of the desk with screw mounted cable clips. Down the leg, I used clear zip ties to keep the cord nice and taut. The cord was white and blended into my desk, but if it were a different colour, I would have painted it the same as my desk. You can see that the cord is barely noticeable when looking into the room.

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The lamp had a lot of excess cord so this is how I stored it. I've stapled a piece of Velcro One Wrap to the underside of the desk. If you're not familiar with One Wrap, it is amazing! 

It is basically an all-in-one hook and loop tape. The tape is self gripping and holds very tightly. I use it everywhere: to keep my headphone cord wrapped up when not in use, to keep blankets and rugs rolled up, to hold a phone to a tripod. It is reusable, can be cut to any size, and one roll will last you for years.


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I keep one additional piece of Velcro One Wrap hanging off the extension cord. I use it to hold my laptop cord when I'm working at the desk. If I decide to move to another room, it's easy enough to just unplug and go.

Hiding Wires Under A Rug

This might the most controversial part of how I hid wires under my desk. I physically cut a slit into my new rug to allow the extension cord to run beneath it.

You might think that's a terrible decision but I really did not want to have a cord that I would have to see and possibly be tripping over all the time. The rug also wasn't that expensive and it had a pattern which could help disguise any possible damage. Now that it's in, it is barely noticeable.

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You'll need to know where your desk is going to sit before you even attempt this. To minimize damage to the rug, I put duct tape on the underside of the rug before I cut the slit. This was to minimize any separating of the carpet fibres or backing. The slit is only visible when you look for it and I haven't noticed any additional fraying or loss of fibres where it's been cut. 

Note that you have to cut a big enough slit to allow the rather large plug head to fit through. This cut was about 3" long. I cut it in the direction towards the outlet, and not beyond the desk leg. The desk sits right beside the cut so that it holds the carpet down and prevents any pulling any shifting. 

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Where does the extension cord lead? It goes beneath my storage cabinet and to the plug on the wall behind me. I used to have my printer on the counter but I preferred it tucked away. To accommodate this, I had to cut a hole into the back of the cabinet so the wall outlet would be accessible.

The cabinet backing is thin particleboard so cutting it wasn't difficult. Now I can easily plug and unplug the printer and extension cord if needed.


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Hiding computer cords when your desk sits in the middle of the room is challenging but doable. This method does require slight damage to my furnishings but to me, the benefit of having a relatively cord-free home office is worth it.

Do you struggle with your power cords? How have you kept them manageable?

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