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Hiding Flat Screen Cords In Trim Work

by Angie on November 1, 2010

Cords make me itch. Especially those that spew from my slick flat screen television mounted front-and-center above my fireplace. It’s an issue, right ladies? The Manchild, my husband, is blind to cords… The weirdo. Is this a Mars and Venus thing?For fear of drilling into the fireplace brick and mortar and/or the flue in order to thread the cords behind the wall, and with my anti-hire mentality, I came up with a super tricky and aesthetically awesome solution that I could do myself.

Here is how I hid those pesky cords when we mounted our flat screen above the fireplace:

TRIMWORK WITH CHANNELS FOR THE CORDS TO RUN THROUGH! I nailed the trim to the wall with skinny brad nails. No caulk, so that the cover pieces can be popped off and re-installed if I want to add or replace a cord in there at a later date (change electronics or cable providers much?!).

Before the TV Arrived:

fireplace blank
yuck. sorry. keepin’ it real!

After we put up the TV:

FIREPLACE TRIM CORDS
This it the best picture I could find, my lovelies! I didn’t think to take a picture of just the cords mess. We also had a PS3 sitting on the mantle for months with cords spewing out of it at all times. itch. scratch.
~nervous twitch~
Here is a step-by-step model for how to hide your flat screen cords in a sneaky AND beautiful way like I did:

Hiding Flat Screen Cords Step 1: Plan it Out

Draw a plan out on paper. Mount the television. Center it, of course. (Notice that with our mounting kit, the actual mounting bracket did not have to be centered perfectly, the TV can slide right and left on the stationary bracket in order to find center. The important point is to screw the mounting bracket into studs behind the wall.)
Then draw all over your wall lightly with pencil or chalk. Mark center, mark left and right edges of the trim-work-to-be. Mark where your cords exit the television on each side and decide where your trim work will best go in order to hide the cords AND look nice.
I had 2 cords exiting left and 1 cord exiting right. However, for architectural interest and balance, I added additional trim work lines on the top, bottom, and sides.
I used a 6-ft. crown molding shelf that I had purchased from Pottery Barn on sale about 4 years ago as the cap for my trim work. For everything else, I used simple lattice pieces from Home Depot. They are not wood, really. They are a plastic-y type of wood composite thing. (Nice vocab, Ang!)

Hiding Flat Screen Cords Step 2: Create Vertical Channels

These lattice pieces should and could be primed before mounting them on the wall.
Makes sure the vertical channels are WIDE enough to hold the cords you have, but NARROW enough, that a piece of lattice can cover the gap and overlap the channel enough to be nailed into place. Making sense? No? Sorry.
Also, make sure that you are consistent with your gap width, because ALL of the trim work needs to be the same width in the end. I cut out a thin piece of cardstock to use as my channel guide and stuck it between the two lattice pieces before nailing them down to ensure consistency.
Use a level. Follow your chalk lines on the wall.

Hiding Flat Screen Cords Step 3: Create Horizontal Channels

Isn’t it looking nifty??
Notice how the interior lines of the wood don’t match up perfectly sometimes. Doesn’t matter. I just needed my exterior lines to be perfect, because the mess of the interior will be covered.
Also, make sure you are going deep enough behind the TV that you won’t be able to see where the channels end. I DID NOT do this properly, and had to go back and add 2 inch pieces to my horizontal channels. Oops.
hiding tv cords in trim flue fan switch
Notice the little light switch in the middle of my trim work on the right side? Dang switch. It REALLY complicated my whole project. It is the switch for my fireplace flue fan. Not sure why we need a fan, but I guess it’s a nice feature.
Because of that switch, I could not go as narrow or as wide as I would have preferred with the trim. And that caused lots of other problems, like having to split my vertical pieces in half to accommodate the mantle and also having to meet the crown molding at the top at a non-flat place.
hiding tv cords in trim odd joint
See?
Your project will have it’s own quirks. Enjoy them and the extra hours they add.

Hiding Flat Screen Cords Step 4: Add Additional Channels for Balance & Interest

At this point, I was running back and forth between the family room and the garage where my miter saw is… over and over again. And the nail gun was “pfffffd!-ing” away like crazy. It’s moments like these that I am the happiest. Excuse my little teardrops of joy. Snif!

I nailed the channel pieces and non-functioning cover pieces down to the wall, but only taped the cover pieces that I would be hiding cords under.

Hiding Flat Screen Cords Step 5: 
Re-mount the TV and Place the Cords into Channels

At this point, I had to wait for The Manchild to show his face again so that we could re-mount the TV and attach the cords. I made sure to pull extra lengths of the cords through the channels (but not more than could hide behind the TV when mounted) so that when we need to take the TV down, the trim work won’t be pulled off the wall before I can reach my hand under there and un-attach them. Does that makes sense?
By the way, I had to buy longer power and HDMI cords before starting this project. I believe they are both 12 ft long. And when the cable guy was here installing the cable, I had him use an extra long cord.

A video was the best way to show the next part:

And I was like, “Baby, baby, baby… I like the way you work with wood…”

Justin Bieber wasn’t REALLY playing when I did this, but I thought I might add him in just for fun. Except if it was real life, then I would have stopped taping down trim and started to dance. You all know that. If you didn’t, you know it now.
And now I am totally distracted and can’t remember what I was writing about…

Hiding Flat Screen Cords Step 6: Take down TV and Paint it All Up!

Secrets revealed:
I did NOT caulk the trim work, which I usually do with trim, because I want to be able to pop the channel covers off when we decide to change cable services/add another HDMI component, etc. I DID however, use some spackle on the noticeable gaps between trim pieces. It is white and paintable, but not like glue, right?
I had so much fun decorating the mantle for Halloween after finishing this project. The whole area was just a mess and NOT the focal point that it should be. And now, with the trim work complete, the cords hidden, and the PS3 removed from the mantle, it’s a whole new room!
Since first completing this trim project I have added more color and molding to the wall:
What do you think, friends? Here’s an up-close and personal shot:
I came up with this all on my own. Google didn’t help me AT ALL with this idea, so hopefully this tutorial can help other “outside-the-box thinkers” like myself solve their flat-screen TV mounting issues.
Tell me you love it?

Remember, peeps, you can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest as well.

This project is joining the CSI project Molding party, Sawdust & Paper Scraps, Thrifty Decor Chick’s Before and After Party, and The Lettered Cottage’s “How-To’s Day”
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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Caroline November 1, 2010 at 10:26 am

I love it.

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Jennise November 1, 2010 at 10:54 am

WOW that was a lot of work and I'm tired just sitting here reading it. Good for you ,looks great. Except I don't think it would work for mine because on the side of where the TV would go I have big built in white bookshelves. Hmmm. Maybe drilling will be my only option! Where does all this energy come from. You are the DIY prize winner for sure!

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missfrazzled November 1, 2010 at 12:22 pm

This post simultaneously turned me on and scared the heck out of me. WOW.

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Rachel--The Kooky Queen November 1, 2010 at 4:19 pm

You guys are freakin' amazing!

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Alibirdvigue November 1, 2010 at 10:47 pm

I think you are my new hero. This is amazing!

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Danielle November 2, 2010 at 7:22 am

Thanks for your comment! I found your blog the other day, and I laughed through the first post I read! (In a good way, haha). Great ideas too!

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woods November 2, 2010 at 12:47 pm

genius, absolute genius! You amaze me.

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amelie522 November 3, 2010 at 12:36 am

You are flippin' amazing. I mean, I fancy myself a bit of a DIY pro. Well, not PRO, but definitely not beginner, either. But this little project you took on? THIS is HGTV caliber stuff, man. So impressed, my dear :) Show me more! School me in your ways, oh wise DIY queen!

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missfrazzled November 3, 2010 at 12:25 pm

Will do. Costumes are fresh and clean and headed your way as soon as I can make it to the post office. :)

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pk @ Room Remix November 3, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Now that's just plain clever! What a great solution for adding detail and hiding the cords at the same time…

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Froufroubritches November 3, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Oh my gracious! You are brilliant! I have this same problem!!! I wonder if I would be able to talk my Hubby or dad into doing this for me? Hee Hee! Thanks for sharing!

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Christine November 5, 2010 at 12:42 am

This is cool! I have the same problem and I deal with it by hiding the cords behind a "mantle" made from wood, covered with a decorative scarf. I like yours much better

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Holly Rhodes November 6, 2010 at 12:03 pm

fantastic! my brain doesn't work that well to think of something so intricate! awesome job!

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Rebecca February 28, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Came on over from Sawdust and Paper Scraps! I am in love with this project and just might be able to handle my husbands gaming systems again! I have often said if everything could be cordless, I would be one happy woman. :) Thank you for sharing this and coming up with such an easy but ingenious idea!!! Looking forward to following you and seeing what else you come up with!

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lilyalayne February 28, 2011 at 2:11 pm

WOW. That is amazing! Hoping to recreate your genius someday in my own home. Thanks so much for sharing!

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Christin McCool February 28, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Oh my gosh – I totally love this idea! We use a projector system, but now I'm thinking I could love a flat panel!!! Oh well… maybe just the wall behind it ;)

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Lucy March 1, 2011 at 9:35 pm

absolute genius! AND it looks gorgeous to boot!

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Pegomh March 29, 2011 at 4:41 am

Totally love it. You, sweet girl, are JEANYUS (angels singing in the background). Okay, I know how to spell genius, I was just being cute.

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seriouslyahomemaker March 29, 2011 at 6:40 am

Thanks, Peg! As in Peg "OhMyHell?" Like, instead of Peg "OhMyGod?"

In that case, I am so glad you love it and that you think i am a jeanyus
(which somehow comes across as saying i look skinny in my jeans).

sincerely, AngieOML "Angie Oh My Lands!"

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Remodelaholic April 22, 2011 at 11:36 pm

This is such a great idea, and I totally needed this inspiration! I have cords taking over the wall!!!

I would be SO happy if you would consider writing a special guest post about this project for my blog Remodelaholic. Please let me know if you are interested, and I will send you the details!

Thanks,
Cassity

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Frugal Home Design September 28, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Wow!  That looks great.  One question, where are your electronics like DVD and cable box?

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Maureen Wilson November 9, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Uh, yeah. You are SERIOUSLY a homemaker!

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Camille December 8, 2011 at 6:27 pm

It was a ton of work…but thanks for the tutorial!! I am loving the transformation it made in our room! You can check it out here. http://awholelotofcraft.blogspot.com/2011/12/project-tv-mount-aka-nightmare.html

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Megan (Best of Fates) January 25, 2012 at 4:04 pm

This is seriously mind-blowing impressive. 

You're just fabulous.

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seriouslyahomemaker January 25, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Shank you!

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Doug Heasley February 1, 2012 at 12:44 am

This looks great! What a great idea. I am looking for a solution for my cords, but I have a brick wall to deal with. Any suggestions?
http://www.parentsofadozen.com/2012/01/family-room-and-kitchen-updates.html

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Daisy_barbosa March 31, 2012 at 1:39 am

I have major cord issues with my living room flat screen, BUT……it is mounted on my white brick fireplace. Any ideas??? PLEASE???? :-)

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seriouslyahomemaker March 31, 2012 at 6:28 am

Email me a pic, daisy and I'll crank my wheels on it and see if any ideas come to mind!

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Mandee Kaye Wells April 15, 2012 at 8:24 am

Now where did you put the playstation?

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seriouslyahomemaker April 18, 2012 at 7:21 am

it sits on a little nightstand next to the fireplace. the nightstand has  a drawer and a big opening on the bottom. so i drilled a hole in the back of the drawer and stuck all the cords into the drawer (and the remotes) and then we have our big CD/DVD zipper cases sitting in the opening with all of our DVD's in them (we throw away the cases the dvd's come in because we are rebels like that). sorry, does that describe it well enough? a few people have asked this question, but honestly, the nightstand is not awesome in any way and i think it looks dumb. don't want to sully the reputation of this grand wall by showing it!! now you know my secrets and we are friends forever.

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Jennifer June 22, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Awesome idea – it looks great!!! I also love how you later added the trim pieces and painted the wall below it a different color.

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Ruby February 23, 2013 at 4:07 pm

Oh this is perfection!! We are right in the middle of our fireplace remake and of course the tv is going above the fireplace for lack of a better place to put it. Oh and to top it off we also have a DVR and fiberoptic receiver to put up on the mantle so it does not sit on the side on a shelving unit, that simply would look out of place. So we plan to expand the width and depth of the mantle a bit to allow for them , but the wires were still a question as to what and how , this might just be the answer! Thank you!
Ruby recently posted..Best Laid Plans ….My Profile

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Angie February 27, 2013 at 10:11 am

Ruby, I’m so glad that this tutorial might help you with the fireplace makeover! Cords can be so darn ugly, right? I just recently changed a couple of our cords (replaced the HDMI with a higher quality one and added a wii cord) and decided that instead of using finish nails (which were quite difficult to remove) I would hot glue the pieces back on. I used a low-temp gun and waited a second, letting it cool just a bit, before pressing the cover trim pieces back into place. It worked marvelously! Try that? Good luck and I want to see pictures when you are done!

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Ruby March 1, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Turns out I hated the TV above the fireplace, so it shall sit in front of it … BUT still going to use your design ( with a few tweaks) just to build up and make our fireplace pretty. :)

OH and hubby and I had an idea for you if you ever switch out the hot glue… velcro dots! Anyway, the saga of the on going fireplace redo is on my blog at this very moment. Thanks for inspiring all the same! xx

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margo March 8, 2013 at 9:11 pm

Pretty nice job on your fireplace. Looks great.But mine is brick to the ceiling so I need to hide all the wires in a mantle that is’t there yet.Maybe I can put a mantle OVER molding wire tracks–? Any thoughts? Thanks,Margo

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