How to Hide Speaker Wire in the Home

Cover with rugs or runners, tuck between carpets and baseboards, camouflage with paint, hide alongside light strips, or use flat adhesive speaker wire

What to Know

  • Cover wires with rugs or runners, tuck them between carpets and baseboards, or camouflage them with paint.
  • Hide wires alongside light strips, install cable raceways or covers, or consider chair rail molding.
  • Alternatively, use flat adhesive speaker wire, or snake wires through walls and ceilings.

This article explains how to hide speaker wires so that they're less noticeable. Some methods will be better suited than others, depending on your home layout.

Get Ready to Place the Speaker Wires

Before you start, make sure that every speaker and component 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 feet, or 14 gauge for anything longer than that because some methods require the extra length.

Useful tools to have on hand are wire strippers, a tape measure or ruler, pliers, a utility knife, scissors, twist or zip ties, a bubble level, a staple gun, a cordless drill, a jigsaw, a hammer, and a stud finder. (And if you rent the space you live in, double-check permissions with your landlord before making any permanent modifications to the home.)

Cover With Rugs or Runners

If your speaker wires have to cross an open floor space, a convenient option is to hide them under a throw rug or carpet runner. A rug offers personality and draws aesthetic attention to itself, plus it helps prevent tripping hazards.

In most instances, rugs can't cover up every exposed inch of speaker wire. Still, they offer a flexible, non-permanent solution to keep rooms looking tidy. You're free to rearrange the furniture layout when 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 various materials—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.

You can also get a slim cable/cord cover to sheathe the under-rug wires for extra support in high-traffic areas. The hardest part of deciding to use a rug or runner may be choosing the size, style, color, and pattern.

Tuck Between Carpets and Baseboards

If your home is carpeted, you likely have baseboards lining the rooms. Baseboards are typically installed slightly off the floor to allow space for 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 run speaker wire discreetly around and between rooms.

Take a section of wire and see if you can tuck it between the carpet and baseboard with your fingers. If the space seems tight, use 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 the speakers can reach the stereo equipment. Tuck the wires under the baseboards before connecting the ends to the terminals.

While this method should be easy for many, some people might find that the spaces between the carpets and baseboards are too tight to squeeze the wires in with their fingers.

If this is the case, start at one end and use a pair of pliers to pull up a section of carpet carefully. 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 the 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 is hidden.

Man tucking carpet underneath a white baseboard

BanksPhotos / Getty Images

Camouflage With Paint

If you have wall-mounted speakers (for example, a multi-channel surround system), expect sections of wire to travel up the walls. And for those who don't have the option to tuck wire between carpets and baseboards, wires from any speaker may still have to run horizontally along walls, too. Either way, you can make these cords less conspicuous by painting them to blend in with the background.

If you rent a place and are permitted to hang pictures with nails, you're probably in the clear to use a staple gun (but check first if you're unsure). So you'll need that, plenty of staples, twist or zip ties (twists are better since you can undo them at any time), paintbrushes, 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, staple the twist/zip ties. Place a tie on the wall where you want the speaker wire to be held before stapling the tie across the middle. Then, place the wire above the staple and fasten the tie. Since you're not stapling the 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. The best part about this semi-permanent method is that if wires need to be moved or removed, tiny staple holes are the only markings left behind.

Hide Alongside Light Strips

If pretty lights are more your thing than painting, hide the speaker wires by decorating them with flexible LED light strips. LED light strips come in several lengths, lumens (brightness), temperatures, 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 be controlled through a mobile app.

With these kinds of lights affixed to the walls, you can run speaker wires alongside, and none would be 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 adjust or relocate light strips in the future, consider using Command Wire Hooks or Decorating Clips.

These products adhere to many surfaces and can be safely removed without leaving residue or damaging surfaces. Fasten the hooks where you want them on the walls, hang the speaker wire behind or underneath the LED light strips, plug everything in, and then enjoy the ambiance!

Closeup of green-glowing LED light strip

Martin Konopka / EyeEm / Getty Images

Install Cable Raceways or Covers

For a more permanent wire-hiding solution, consider installing cable raceways or cable ducts/covers. This can be a useful option for those who need to run several lengths of wire, especially in homes with baseboards and no carpet.

Cable raceways (think PVC pipe, but a bit nicer) can be found as a kit, complete with connecting pieces, covers, elbow joints, screws and anchors, and double-sided adhesive tape. They offer either an open or enclosed channel that keeps cords and wires safely tucked inside. Many cable raceways are 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. An alternative that is less likely to leave any trace is a cable cover. 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 against the 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. Cable covers are offered in a selection of widths, colors, and patterns.

Cable cover with three sets of cables running through it


Use Flat Adhesive Speaker Wire

If you want truly invisible yet permanent wire placement—shy of cutting holes and installing wires through the walls—flat speaker wire may be the way to go. This type of wire, such as Sewell's Ghost 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 almost any flat surface.

Since this wire is flexible and super thin, you'll have no problems going around corners. The side that faces out is paintable to match the color of the wall or baseboard.

Flat speaker wire is most often found in 16 gauge with either two or four conductors—the latter being ideal for those looking to bi-wire or bi-amp speakers. When using this kind of wire, you'll also need some flat wire terminal blocks (one pair for each speaker). One side of the terminal block clips to the flat copper wiring, while the other side clips to the regular speaker cable (which connects normally to the back of speakers and receivers). Carefully measure and install the flat speaker wire, then paint.

Close up of a spool of flat adhesive speaker wire


Snake Through Walls and Ceiling

If you intend to use in-wall or in-ceiling speakers, look forward to a bit of work. Before you start, weigh the pros and cons of in-wall and in-ceiling speakers.

While you can do this type of project without any outside help, you might be better off hiring a professional contractor if you aren't confident in your DIY skills. It takes planning to install in-wall and in-ceiling speakers since there are many factors to consider. But the result? Not only will the speaker wires be completely invisible, but you could have your speakers flush and hidden in walls.

If you don't have or plan to use in-wall or in-ceiling speakers, you can still snake speaker wires through walls, ceilings, attics, or basements. Sometimes it's simpler to cut small holes in walls, especially if your stereo receiver will control multiple speakers in multiple rooms.

If you want to keep the cabling looking clean and classy, use speaker wall plates. These plates look similar to 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.

Pair of hands stripping wire ends emerging from a hole in a wall

BanksPhotos / Getty Images

Consider Chair Rail Molding

Most of us are familiar with crown molding—the interior pieces that seamlessly line ceilings and cap walls. You can also find chair rail molding (or wainscotting), a kind of molding that horizontally bisects walls. People often choose to paint the walls so that the color above the chair rail is different yet complementary to the color below.

Chair rail molding transforms the appearance of living spaces, and many types feature a design that allows speaker wires to be hidden underneath.

The installation of chair rail molding takes planning. Walls must be measured to determine the amount of molding to purchase. Studs need to be located ahead of time so that that chair rails can be firmly nailed in. Pieces need to be precisely cut 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.

  • How do I test speaker wire?

    To test a speaker wire, lightly touch one end of the wire to a battery. If you hear noise, that's a good sign. If you don't hear anything, make sure to verify everything is connected properly, and then try again with another wire.

  • How do I connect speaker wire to an amp?

    To connect a speaker wire to an amplifier, the positive speaker terminal (red) on the amp must be connected to the positive terminal on the speakers, and the same applies to the negative terminals on all the equipment. Make sure that all speakers are in-phase: positive-to-positive (red-to-red) and negative-to-negative (black-to-black).

  • How do I splice speaker wires?

    To splice speaker wires, set up your speakers and equipment, then make sure the power is off. Next, measure and cut each wire, strip the wires, attach crimp connectors, and apply heat to shrink. Finally, reconnect the speakers.

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