In wall cable management, love it or hate it, is an essential aspect of any functional and visually appealing home theater setup. A well-organized and properly managed cable system can not only enhance the overall aesthetics of your entertainment room, it can also improve the performance of your audio and video (A/V) equipment.
With the increasing number of devices and cables available for a home theater setup today, the task of managing and organizing these cables can seem daunting. However, with the right techniques and tools, it is possible to create a clean and orderly home theater setup.
In this article, we will show you our in wall cable management solution for that super clean look. Using our provided tips and product suggestions, we aim to help you create a home theater setup that is has simplistic beauty without compromise to function.
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Let’s Start at the Beginning
Here at Smart Design Living, we appreciate the simplicity of things. If you’re looking for cable management on a complex 10.2 Atmos speaker setup then you’re probably not going to find this article very useful. If you’re like us, and are going for that clean look with just a handful of critical components (but high quality components) then you’ve come to the right place. In wall cable management is definitely going to help you get that super minimalistic, clean overall look.
This is what we started with. Does your setup currently look similar? We’re running a 65″ LG OLED C-Series with a Sonos Beam soundbar. For entertainment, we’re actually using an NVidia Shield, running a PLEX server and other useful apps.
These are by no means low-end components. The TV picture quality is excellent, the soundbar sounds incredible (even without the Sonos subwoofer), and the Shield smoothly runs all the apps we need. In fact the TV’s suite of built-in apps work pretty well on their own. On heavy loads, there can be glitches and artifacts, so we prefer to use the Shield for a more flawless experience.
All the miscellaneous components are the EERO mesh router system, and the Lutron hub for controlling smart switches. We wrote an article about smart switches here if you were curious to read more on that. All the cables are just exposed and it looks like a hot mess birds nest.
Declutter and hide as many cables are possible either inside the walls, or underneath the floating shelf or inside your A/V cabinet if that is what you use
Clean! Modern! Beautiful!
We’ll show you exactly the products we used to accomplish this so you aren’t left guessing. We went through the trial and errors so you don’t have to.
Do-It-Yourself! Doesn’t matter if this is your first DIY project or you are a veteran, we hope this guide and tips can help you make your project a breeze. If you have tips of your own, we’d love to know!
Bragging rights! Post your setup on social media and tag us #smartdesignliving! Show off to your friends and family and maybe help them do the same with their projects. Joy is meant to be shared!
Recommended Cable Management Products & Tools
We’re just covering the products and tools we used for this project. We won’t be covering all the A/V components in detail other than what was mentioned earlier in the article.
We chose this kit immediately because of it’s ability to support the soundbar. Most of these cable concealing kits you fined will just be the top and bottom cutouts, so you’ll still see a cable or two coming from your TV to your soundbar, even if you did end up mounting the soundbar floating below the TV. The kit also allows you to route low-voltage cables such as HDMI or optical cables through built-in grommets.
Of course, if you don’t have a soundbar, then ECHOGEAR does have a simpler setup for your needs (cheaper too). Either way just get what suits your project, but we do recommend the ECHOGEAR brand as the build quality has been superb. We also use ECHOGEAR surge protectors around the house and so we are very familiar with their product line.
We used this mini extension cord because the bottom outlet from the ECHOGEAR kit terminated literally right next to the wall socket. The ECHOGEAR kit comes with a 5 foot extension cord would have resulted in a bundle of bunched up cable which made it look terrible. You may not need this in your setup, because you may actually need the entire length of the ECHOGEAR extension cable reach your wall socket.
We really like this one for many reasons other than the length of the cable. The plug is flat and low profile so you can easily sneak it behind furniture such as your A/V cabinet. The head also rotates 360 degrees so you can angle however you need in order to bypass any neighboring plugs. It is truly a well thought-out product.
This wonderful kit is used to route cables along your baseboard. They are modular and come in a small handful of pre-painted colors to complement your current wall color. They can also be painted to match your wall if you so choose to. We went with the basic white color, because our baseboards are white, and we didn’t want to paint all the pieces.
We used this to route our Cat-5 ethernet cable from the wall socket to the EERO mesh unit. We also use this kit around the house for other cable management needs, so it is definitely money well spend. They simply stick on to your walls via double-sided tape, and the tracks have a removeable track cover where the cables hide. Various “L” and “T” adaptors will help you create the bends and splits you need in your specific application.
We like the HumanCentric brand. They make great quality affordable products that are easy to use. Simplicity is truly a beautiful thing, and does make up for the plain design aesthetics. We actually started off with a different brand that had a much better looking design, but it turned out to be incompatible with the ECHOGEAR in-wall cable management kit.
The other product we tried had a more elegant design that spanned the entire footprint of the Sonos beam, and had some foam backing where the mount meets the dry wall which supposedly reduces unwanted vibrations. We could easily replicate the foam backing on the HumanCentric mount, but we’ve been using our Beam for some time now and we don’t detect any noise distortion. We’ll talk about compatibility later in the article, but trust us, just get this mount, it just works!
It is recommended that you have 1500-2000 Joules of surge protection when dealing with A/V equipment. Higher end components may need even more, but for most people 1500-2000J is sufficient. We are not electricians so if you often experience power outages in your area, you may want to seek more professional advice.
We liked the low profile of the power block as well as the flat profile on the plug. The prongs are also angled so the plug won’t get in the way of any neighboring plugs either. The other important factor was the fact that this one came with 4 mounting holes since we plan to mount this unit underneath the our redwood floating shelf that we picked up on Esty many years ago.
This is one of the most tedious parts of cable management for any of the cables that we were not able to tuck into the wall. As you can imagine, there were actually a lot of cables that we could not tuck into the wall, but because we have a lot of surface area to work with underneath the floating shelf, we used these cable clips to do the dirty work.
These were very easy to work with, the only thing you have to be ware of is the inner diameter. If your cables are too thin, it won’t stay in, but we got around this by routing multiple thinner cables through one clip and that created enough girth to keep the cables from slipping out.
Other things we used in the project include:
- Milwaukee M12 Fuel power drill and hammer driver combo
- Franklin Sensors stud finder and level tool
- Black and Decker auto laser level
- Various screwdrivers
- Rubber hammer
Cable Management Fundamental – Measure Twice Cut Once
The most important step of any cable management project is to plan out the design. We started with a mess, but if you are starting with a blank slate, that is the best! Plan out where you want the TV to go, make sure the holes that you’re going to cut won’t end up being exposed, that would be a total waste of time and money!
Be aware of where the studs are. Use a stud finder to make sure that none of parts of the in-wall cable concealing kit is going to hit a stud. This can be catostrophic if not planned out properly. Also realize that each of the in-wall plastic inserts have a mechanism where plastic fins will fan out to lock the plastic piece onto your drywall. Keep at least a 1 inch distance away from any studs.
Once we figured out where we want the 3 exit points to be located, we marked them with tape first. This way if we need to make any adjustments we can still do so without leaving any unwanted marks on the wall. Use scotch tape so it doesn’t take off your paint when you go to remove the tape later. You can also draw onto the scotch tape rather than onto your walls. Here our layout:
Unfortunately we didn’t get the best shot here since the floating shelf was covering where the lower opening would be, but you get the idea.
Now let’s take a closer look at the ECHOGEAR cable management kit.
NOTE: In the first picture, you can see the “Eximus” mount we initially bought for the SONOS Beam but this product was incompatible with the ECHOGEAR kit so we had to return and get the HumanCentric mount instead. The Eximus mount looks great with what seems to be a slightly better design, but at the end of the day, you’re not going to see the mount, and it doesn’t matter in this case since it wasn’t compatible.
ECHOGEAR In-Wall Cable Management Concealing Kit
As you can see it’s a very comprehensive kit. Here are some the detailed tech specs provided from the manufacturer. You want to be aware of some of the numbers when planning out your own setup.
- Cable Pass-Through Width: 1.75″ (this is for low voltage cables like your HDMI or Optical)
- Max Distance Between Top & Bottom Module: 8′
- Minimum Drywall Thickness: 1/2″
- Maximum Drywall Thickness: 1″
- Saws Included: Drill hole saw & hand saw
- Cords Included: Splitter cord & 6′ extension cable
Due to how close the bottom module was to the wall socket, we did not end up using their 6′ extension cable and we used the Maximm 1′ extension cable we purchased separately.
Once you have double checked all your measurements, dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s let’s get to cutting! Grab the bit and hole saw that comes with the kit, and load it onto your power drill.
Now it’s time to take that leap of faith and cut out the holes for the top and bottom modules. Don’t be afraid, trust yourself and know that since you measured correctly that it will turn out just fine.
Do not apply exessive force when using the power drill, let the tool do the work. Apply firm pressure and try to remain as level as possible. Too light of pressure and the saw bit will wobble making the hole lopsided. Too much pressure and the drill may choke (depending on the torque setting of your drill).
Once the holes are cut you can route the power cables, low-voltage cables (in our case we had 2 HDMI cables to route, one for the SONOS Beam, the other for the NVidia Shield). When the module is properly inserted with the cables routed, it should look something like this:
You can see the 2 HDMI cables coming out of the grommet. These two cables will connect to our TV and the power cable of the TV will plug into this socket here at the top module.
Now we can move on to the center module and the SONOS Beam speaker mount.
The ECHOGEAR kit comes with a paper template that you’ll need to cut out from the instruction manual. Take this template and tape it onto your wall with the piece of scotch tape that you used to mark the wall.
Level the template with a laser level and use the handsaw that’s included in the kit to cut out the hole. The handsaw requires a bit of elbow grease, but the point is sharp and so is the razor edge, so there shouldn’t be any issue getting this hole cut out.
Although not necessary, we strongly recommend a stud finder tool and a laser level tool to help you in this process. It will be so much easier!
Have someone hold the laser level for you while you cut the top and bottom horizontal lines, this ensures the best end result. If you’re doing this by yourself, the Black and Decker laser level comes with a pin that sticks into the drywall allowing you to hang the laser level and work handsfree. We didn’t want to do this since it would still leave a pin-sized hole in the wall and we didn’t want that.
HumanCentric Sonos Beam Speaker Mount
Once the hole is cut, you can route the HDMI cable and pop in the center module and lock it in place. This will make the SONOS Beam mount install a breeze. Just use the dry wall screws that comes with the HumanCentric kit and the laser level to mock up and drill the holes. You’ll end up with something like this (pay attention to the vertical alignment):
The HumanCentric kit is a very basic but well constructed piece of hardware. Comes with the dry wall anchors and screws which make it very easy to install into the drywall. We were even able to secure one of the screwing points into one of the studs in the wall. This should help with a more secure hold. Notice the vertical alignment of the mount with the center module.
If we could offer one constructive point of feedback for HumanCentric, it would to be make the wall mounting points adjustable so we can move the mount left to right to better center the device for a more appealing aesthetic.
Here’s what it looks like with the soundbar installed onto the mount:
Those are the 2 HDMI cables that will go into the TV. The NVidia Shield will be mounted underneath the floating shelf, so that HDMI cord actually comes out of the bottom module of the ECHOGEAR kit. As you can see, the SONOS Beam perfectly blocks the center module from a normal viewing angle.
If you go close to the wall, or view from a higher angle, you will be able to see the module, but we measured it to be at the perfect height so you won’t be able to see the module form normal viewing angles. Here’s an up close look from an almost vertical view looking down:
As you can see, the SONOS Beam is about 2″ away from the wall (which is by design, you don’t want the speaker to be up against the wall as it may affect acoustics. The power cable is Velcro-tied together and tucked behind the speaker unit.
This was probably the most difficult part, so once we finished mounting the sound bar, we clipped our TV back onto the TV mount, plugged in the power and HDMI cords and we were ready to light it up.
Here’s a view of the final setup from a standing viewing angle. You can see a sliver of the center ECHOGEAR module, but once you sit down, it will completely disappear behind the SONOS Beam.
Cable Management - Finishing Touches
When we got to this part, we thought we were done, but ironically, the details are where you can just get lost and spend a lot of time making your setup perfect. We’ll show you what we did, just keep in mind, you can really get wild with all the details of cable management if you really let loose. We’ll let you make that decision for yourself.
First we had to take care of the 6′ extension cord that comes with the ECHOGEAR kit. It was impossible to route that cable and keep it away from view, so we opted for this 1′ extension cord. Below it is just the retail packaging of the HumanCentric SONOS Beam speaker mount. On the right is the EVEO cable raceway cable concealing kit that will used to keep cables neatly hidden from view.
Underneath the floating shelf is where you’ll find the “mess”. Here is where you can really go crazy with cable management. We didn’t spend too much time on this part, because we knew we could lose ourselves in it, so we did our best and just tidied everything up as neatly as possible.
You can see the 1′ extension cord used here, and the NVidia Shield sitting right in front of it with the HDMI cord coming out of the module. The EERO unit is mounted to the Relassy wall mount holder. All hardware is stuck to the bottom of the floating shelf using clips or double sided Velcro. The Velcro is very strong and comes in long strips that you need to cut down for your specific application.
Don’t overdo it with the Velcro. We used a little too much to secure the NVidia Shield which made it very hard to remove. The whole point using the Velcro is for ease of taking it on and off the floating shelf.
For the cable clips we kept it pretty simple with a set of clear clips that mount with double sided tape:
You can see it in action clipped on to our Cat5-Ethernet cable. We also used them extensively to keep cables tucked towards the backside of the floating shelf near the dry wall.
We then used the EVEO Cable Raceway cable management concealing kit to keep any long running cables off the floor and onto the walls while blending in with the baseboards.
In this example, you can see that we routed the ethernet cable from the wall jack down to the basebard, then using an L-adaptor, we swung the cable to the left towards the corner of the wall. We ran sections all the down and used another L-adaptor to turn the cable towards the floating shelf where it exited the raceway. From there, we used the clear clips to run the cable towards the back edge of the floating shelf until it meets the EERO mesh router.
Each section of the raceway consists of 2 parts, a track and a cover. The cables sit inside the track and the cover plate keeps it hidden. Each section is pre-taped with double sided tape, so all you need to do is quickly clean your wall, and slick on each section and hold it for 10 sec while the adhesive does it’s job.
It is very important that you clean the surface you are trying to stick to. If your surface is not clean, the raceways will fall off when you try to remove the covers. Even with proper adhesion, we recommend that you use two hands to remove the cover plates. One hand should try to keep the track from coming off the way, while the other hand pulls off the cover plate.
There are a few more pieces of the puzzle we want to get down before we call this project complete to our liking. One of those pieces is that giant surge protector from 20 years ago. We are going to switch that with a more low profile one from TROND. Since we only have a small handful of devices we are trying to power and surge protect, the giant one from the stone age just doesn’t cut it anymore. The 1700 joules of protection offered by the TROND surge protector will serve our needs perfectly.
We hope you found this article helpful, and we hope that this will inspire you to do a little bit of cleanup of your own. We also hope that you found the suggested components and tools beneficial. We learned a lot from this project, and tried to pass on some of our knowledge and wisdom to you in our pro tips scattered throughout the article.
If you enjoyed this and would like to check out some of our other DIY articles, please feel free! We would certainly appreciate the support and viewership.