by Paul Sanders
A common challenge to setting up your home theater is hiding all the speaker wires, A/V cables and network cables that connect your home theater components. Without a proper cable management plan, the wires in your home theater can look tangled and unorganized. Cables running along the floor, ceiling and walls break up the clean lines and color schemes of your home theater room. If you don't want to invest the time or money into a professional installation or open your walls up to lay wires, there are several other cable management solutions available. Here are some of the best cable management ideas to help you hide unsightly cables and wires in your home theater.
Use flexible cable sleeves. Cable sleeves are an inexpensive cable management solution consisting of flexible canvas or nylon fiber tube sleeves that slip over bundles of connector cables. These are great for grouping and running cables from a central device, like a TV, to an entertainment center. Color choices will be limited since you won't be able to paint the cable sleeves.
Attach cable trays to your entertainment center. This is another inexpensive cable management option. Cable trays attach to the back or underside of an entertainment center, providing a ledge or channel to run home theater cables through. Typically, you will attach the cable tray using screws.
Run cables behind baseboards or crown molding. This is a great cable management alternative to running speaker wires and other cables through walls. Simply remove the molding and run the speakers underneath it; cut a channel in the drywall if necessary. If you have the tools, you can even cut channels in the molding for cable management.
Run cables under the carpet. If the wires are thin, like speaker wire, run them under the carpet in the room. This cable management option is ideal if you are replacing carpet in your home theater room.
Lay cables above your ceiling or under the floor. If your home theater is underneath an attic or above an unfinished basement, you have the perfect opportunity to run cables exactly the way you want. You can take advantage of exposed ceiling or floor joists to install a heavy-duty cable management system with PVC pipe for many possible cables.
Use wireless speakers. You can cut a lot of trouble out of the home theater equation by simply using no cables or wires at all, like with a wireless speaker system. Cable management is easy when there are no cables to manage. Make sure your home theater receiver is compatible with wireless speakers before you buy.