How to Hide or Disguise Speaker Wire in and Around the Home

A tangle of colored speaker wires coming through a hole in a wall
Christelle Vaillant/EyeEm/Getty Images
01
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Managing Wires

Living spaces come in different shapes and sizes, each offering unique opportunities for creative interior design. But deciding on an ideal, functional layout can prove a bit of a challenge when speakers are thrown into the mix. If you want to get the best performance from your stereo system, location matters for all the equipment and furniture involved. And if you’re thinking about planning a whole home or multi-room music system and/or using surround sound speakers, you can expect to have wires running through the house.

As much as many of us would love to have all cords/wires immediately out of sight, this isn’t always the case. At least not at first. It often takes a little extra effort to hide or disguise speaker wires so that they are less noticeable and/or not a tripping hazard. There are a number of ways to accomplish this task (you’re free to mix and match), some of which will be better suited than others, depending on your home layout. And it’s possible to also hide some power cords, too.

Before you start, make sure that everything is disconnected and positioned where you want it. Plan to have extra spools of speaker wire available–go with 16 gauge for connections up to 20 ft, 14 gauge for anything longer than that–because some methods will require the extra length. Useful tools to have on hand are: wire strippers, tape measure or ruler, pliers, utility knife, scissors, twist/zip ties, bubble level, staple gun, cordless drill, jigsaw, hammer, and stud finder. (And if you happen to be renting the space you live in, double check permissions with your landlord before making any permanent modifications to the home.)

02
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Cover With Rugs or Runners

A modern living room with wall-mounted TV, stereo speakers, and a couch
A strategically placed rug can cover wires, particularly for surround speakers. GG Archard/ArcaidImages/Getty Images

If your speaker wires have to cross an open floor space (common with surround sound speakers), a readily convenient option would be to hide them under some type of throw rug or carpet runner. Not only can a rug offer personality and draw aesthetic attention to itself, but it will help prevent tripping hazards. In most instances, rugs won’t be able to cover up every exposed inch of speaker wire. But they do offer a flexible, non-permanent solution to keeping rooms looking tidier. You’re free to rearrange the layout of furniture whenever you want, relocating rugs and wires just as easily. No tools, no installation!

Whether you choose to lay rugs over carpet or hardwood floors, it’s recommended to have a same-size rug pad with each. These pads–offered in a variety of materials – help prevent rugs from slipping out of place, make vacuuming easier, allow the carpet material to breathe, and provide an extra layer of cushioning to hide and protect the speaker wires underneath. For high-traffic areas, you can also consider getting a slim cable/cord cover to sheathe the under-rug wires for extra support. The hardest part of the decision to use a rug or runner – especially for those who are particular about the coordinated appearances of living spaces – could be choosing the size, style, color, and/or pattern.

03
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Tuck Between Carpets and Baseboards

A man tucking carpet underneath a white baseboard
Speaker wires can be discreetly tucked under the edge of carpets and baseboards. BanksPhotos/Getty Images

If your home is carpeted, it’s very likely that you also have baseboards lining most every room. Baseboards are typically installed slightly off the floor in order to allow space for the carpeting. There should also be a gap between the tack strip and the wall, underneath the carpet and baseboard. This area makes for a great way to discreetly run speaker wire around and between rooms. Take a section of wire and see if you’re able to tuck it in between the carpet and baseboard with just your fingers. If the space seems tight, try using a slim screwdriver or ruler to gently push the wire towards the wall until it no longer shows.

If all goes well, measure and lay out enough cabling so that speakers can reach stereo equipment. Tuck wires under the baseboards before connecting the ends to terminals. While this method should be easy for many, some people might find that the spaces between carpets and baseboards are just too tight to squeeze wires in with fingers. If this is the case, start at one end and use a pair of pliers to carefully pull up a section of carpet. You should be able to see the exposed wood flooring, the tack strip (it’s sharp, so watch your fingers), and the crevice between the wall and tack strip (underneath the baseboard). Slide the speaker wire in, and then push the carpet edge back down on the tack strip. Continue working your way around until all the desired speaker wire has been hidden.

04
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Camouflage With Paint

A hand holding a brush and painting a wall white
Painting speaker wires to match wall colors can make them less conspicuous. Image Source/Getty Images

If you have wall-mounted speakers (e.g. a multi-channel surround system), you can expect sections of wire to travel up the walls. And for those who don’t have the option to tuck between carpets and baseboards (i.e. baseboards rest flush against hardwood flooring), wires from any speaker may have to run horizontally along walls, too. Either way, you can make these cords far less conspicuous by painting them to blend in with the background. If you’re renting a place and are also permitted to hang pictures/frames/art with nails, you’re probably in the clear to use a staple gun (check first if you’re unsure). So you’ll need that, plenty of staples, twist or zip ties (twist are better, since you can undo them at any time), paint brushes, and paint to match your wall colors.

The idea here is to attach speaker wires straight and flush to the walls before painting over them. But rather than using the staple gun to pin wires directly, you’ll staple the twist/zip ties. Place a tie on the wall where you want speaker wire to be held before stapling the tie across the middle. Now place the wire right above the staple and then fasten the tie. Since you’re not stapling the actual speaker wire, there’s no risk of damage. Do this every few feet; you can trim excess tie lengths with a pair of scissors. Once done, use matching paint to camouflage the wires and ties with the walls. And the best part about this semi-permanent method is that if wires ever need to be moved or removed, the only markings left behind would be teeny staple holes.

05
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Hide Alongside Light Strips

A closeup of green-glowing LED light strip
LED light strips offer a decorative element that can also hide thin speaker wires. Martin Konopka/EyeEm/Getty Images

If pretty lights are more your thing than painting, you can help hide the fact that speaker wires exist by decorating with flexible LED light strips. LED light strips are offered with a variety of lengths, lumens (brightness), temperatures (warm/cool), output colors, materials, and features. Some are powered by AC wall adapters, while others can use a USB power source. Many come with remotes, while some can also be controlled through a mobile app. With these kinds of lights affixed to walls, you can run speaker wires alongside underneath, and few would be any the wiser.

Keep in mind that many light strips are just that–LEDs with a peel-away backing that lets them stick to surfaces. Some, like the Power Practical Luminoodle, are more like LED ropes that come with mounting accessories. But if you want to be able to more easily adjust/relocate light strips in the future, consider using Command Wire Hooks or Decorating Clips. These products adhere to many surfaces and (in most cases) can be safely removed without leaving residue or damaging surfaces. Just fasten the hooks where you want on the walls, hang the speaker wire behind/underneath the LED light strips, plug everything in, and then enjoy the ambiance!

06
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Install Cable Raceways/Covers

A cable cover with three sets of cables running through it
Cable raceways or covers can hide a protect wires while blending in with walls and floors. Amazon

For a more permanent wire-hiding solution, you can consider installing cable raceways (can also be called cable ducts) or cable covers. This can be a useful option for those who need to run quite a few lengths of wire, especially in homes that have baseboards and no carpet. Cable raceways (think PVC pipe, but a bit nicer) can often be found as a kit, complete with connecting pieces, covers, elbow joints, screws/anchors, and/or double-sided adhesive tape. They offer either an open or enclosed/latching channel that keeps cords and wires safely tucked inside. Many cable raceways are designed to be slim and discreet, allowing them to be installed above baseboards and painted to match.

While cable raceways are effective for hiding speaker wires, they’re not always easily removed (at least without the risk of adhesives peeling paint or plaster). An alternative that is less likely to leave any trace is a cable cover (also known as a cable concealer). Cable covers are flat on the bottom and rounded on top, which gives them the appearance of a speedbump. Typically made of rubber or PVC, cable covers offer protection for wires and do best on non-carpeted flooring, pressed right up against walls. They’re also great to use when wires need to cross open thresholds. In most cases, no adhesive is necessary to keep cable covers in place, although many come with it for permanent installation. Cable covers are offered in a selection of widths and colors/patterns, so choose ones that most closely match your floors or baseboards. 

07
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Use Flat Adhesive Speaker Wire

A close up of a spool of Sewell Ghost Wire
Sewell Ghost Wire is flat, applies with an adhesive backing, and can be painted to match walls. Amazon/Sewell

If you want truly invisible yet permanent wire placement – shy of cutting holes and installing wires through walls – then flat speaker wire may be the way to go. This type of wire, such as Sewell’s Ghost Speaker Wire, looks and deploys like a roll of ribbon or packaging tape. A peel-away backing exposes the industrial-strength adhesive side, which applies to most any flat surface. Since this wire is flexible and super thin, you’ll have no problems going around corners. And the side that faces out? It’s perfectly paintable to match the color of wall or baseboard that the flat wire is attached to.

Flat speaker wire is most often found in 16 gauge with either two or four conductors; the latter ideal for those looking to bi-wire or bi-amp speakers. When using this kind of wire, you’ll also need to get some flat wire terminal blocks (one pair for each speaker you plan to use). One side of the terminal block clips to the flat copper wiring, while the other side clips to regular speaker cable (which connects normally to the back of speakers and receivers). Carefully measure out and install the flat speaker wire per the product’s instructions. Once they’ve been painted over, the only bits that anyone might possibly see would be the lengths of wire extending from walls to connect to equipment.

08
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Snake Through Walls/Ceiling

A pair of hands stripping wire ends emerging from a hole in a wall
Wires can be snaked through walls to reach speakers in other rooms. BanksPhotos/Getty Images

Those who intend to use in-wall and/or in-ceiling speakers can certainly look forward to a bit of work. Before you start, it’s best to first weigh the pros and cons of in-wall and in-ceiling speakers. While this type of project can be done without any outside assistance, those who aren’t completely confident about their DIY skills might be better off hiring a professional contractor. It takes some deliberate planning to install in-wall and in-ceiling speakers, since there are quite a few factors to consider. But the result? Not only will all speaker wires be completely invisible, but you could also have speakers completely flush and hidden in walls too!

If you don’t have or plan on using in-wall/-ceiling speakers, you can still snake speaker wires through walls, ceilings, attics, or basements. This can be an ideal solution, such as when running wires around walls and down halls to reach an adjoining room seems way too involving. Sometimes it’s simpler to cut small holes in walls, especially if your stereo receiver will control multiple speakers in multiple rooms. And If you want to keep cabling looking clean and classy, use speaker wall plates. These plates look similar to light switch or power outlet covers, but provide binding posts or spring clip terminals for multiple sets of speakers. Some even feature HDMI ports, ideal for home theater systems.

09
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Consider Chair Rail Moulding

An empty, carpeted room with French doors and white chair rail moulding
Chair rail moulding can accent a room while providing space to hide speaker wires behind. tmarvin/Getty Images

Most of us are familiar with crown moulding – the interior pieces that seamlessly line ceilings and/or cap walls. But you can also find chair rail moulding, which is often used to dramatically accent a room. This is the kind of moulding that horizontally bisects/separates walls, and it can even be used to frame windows and doorways. Oftentimes, people choose to paint the walls so that the color above the chair rail is different yet complementary to the color below. Not only can chair rail moulding transform the appearance of living spaces, but many types feature a design that allows speaker wires to be hidden underneath.

The installation of chair rail moulding can take some considerable planning. Walls will have to be measured in order to determine the amount of moulding to purchase. Studs will need to be located ahead of time, so that chair rails can be firmly nailed to walls. Pieces will need to be precisely cut with proper tools so that all ends make flush connections with each other. There’s also sanding, finishing, and painting to be done; don’t forget to run the speaker wires safely through as needed. If you’re not enlisting the help of a contractor, consider this a full weekend project. But once complete, expect to wow all your guests and visitors!