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How to hide wall mounted speaker wires in your apartment for under $3

Written By: James Rintamaki on May 16, 2009 15 Comments

Do you live in an apartment and have speakers hanging on the wall with wires dangling down from them?  Try this trick – use plain, off white masking tape to hide them (or at least mask them).

 

Of the four different apartments I’ve lived in, every one of them has had off white walls.  A while back, I was able to get in on what now seems to be a “semi-annual” ShopOnkyo.com refurb home theater deal (like the HT-SR600S for $99), and after mounting the speakers on the wall, I was quite disappointed at what I saw:

speaker_wire2speaker_wire3

If I had a house, I would take the time (and money for proper tools) to route the wires through the wall or behind crown molding.  However, I’m in an apartment and I’m not about to do such work in a place I won’t stay in for a while, not to mention I’d probably loose my deposit!

 

Here’s where good old masking take steps in.  It just so happens that your average roll of masking tape is probably close to the same color as your apartment walls:

similar_color

What you want to do first is wrap up the beginning part of the speaker wire coming from the speaker (you’d probably want to do more layers than I did):

wrap

Then, for the first layer of tape, tear off about a foot at a time and try to tape down the speaker wire as straight and vertical as you can while trying to keep the wire flat or from twisting – otherwise it will look a bit wavy like this:

wavy

(one thing you can do to try to minimize the waviness is to hang the speaker wire from a door frame using a tack/nail/etc and then put weight attached to the other end over night )

 

Once you have the first layer down, feel free to do another similar layer of tape on top of it – since the tape is a bit transparent, if you have dark colored speaker wire, it’ll still show through.   Once it’s almost “whited out”, proceed to cover it with one more layer of one long piece of tape.  This will help hide any of the ripped, jagged edges of the 1-foot pieces of tape. 

 

When all is said and done, this is what a roll of $3 masking tape can do to make your apartment home theater setup look a little bit better – does it look great? No.  Does it look better than just having the wire loom down and only cost around $3? You be the judge!

clean1 clean2

(oh, and I say this is a guide for an apartment, as opposed to a house/etc, only cause I would rather at least use flat speaker wire and paint it if it was a place I was actually putting money into.  This is just a cheap, easy, and fast way to make your “apartment style” life a little better looking, ha)

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15 Responses to “How to hide wall mounted speaker wires in your apartment for under $3”

  1. Savio on: 16 May 2009 at 6:16 pm

    What if you just paint the wires?

  2. James Rintamaki on: 16 May 2009 at 7:17 pm

    @Savio: Just painting the wires may be a bit more difficult than it’s worth. You’d have to be sure to match the color, otherwise you’ll probably have to repaint before you move out – (plus, matched paint will probably run more than $3). Yes, matching the color would look better (vs “close enough” when using the tape), but you may also have the problem of getting the wires to ‘stick’ to the wall :)

  3. Max on: 27 July 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Hi James-

    Interesting technique. I’m about to move, and was wondering how folks dealt w/ this. It would be nice if you provided larger images. Its somewhat difficult to tell what I’m looking at.

    Anyway nice job.

  4. Rob on: 28 July 2009 at 7:49 am

    Max, click the images for larger ones.

    I wonder if the tape, after a certain amount of time, will pull the paint off the wall.

  5. James Rintamaki on: 28 July 2009 at 7:53 am

    @Max, I’ll post some more pictures after work if you’d like (the pictures I have are kinda fuzzy and don’t show all the speakers finished – that’s my bad!)

    @Rob, I had the tape on my walls at one of my apartment for 2 years+ and there was no problem taking it off w/out also taking off paint.

  6. Smitty on: 18 September 2009 at 4:06 am

    Very cool, I was just looking up help for this problem and it all seemed too expensive and time consuming, this however is right up my alley. I live in a town house and with economics and all I just need something that would make me feel better about my aesthetics. I have a lot of art and photos and I want those to be the focal point not the copper and black wires, thanks!

  7. TRX on: 26 November 2009 at 9:24 pm

    What happen if my wall is got colour , can possible paint over it

    And using masking tape wont it turn yellowish after some time ?

  8. Willy1 on: 26 February 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Did I read that someone was afraid to use masking tape in case it comes time to remove the speakers and thus stripping the paint off the wall(s)?
    There is a masking tape available now that does not remove paint from walls. Usually in a green color tape but it has been awhile since this type of tape came out and I would be suprised if the off white color tape in this medium was not available. Best to check out your local hardware/building supply shop.
    Hope this was of assistance.
    Will

  9. xl on: 23 July 2011 at 2:53 pm

    but what if the tape pulls paint off the walls when you move, or leaves a sticky goo?

  10. James Rintamaki on: 23 July 2011 at 2:55 pm

    @xl, yah, that’s possible, but just try and use cheapo tape – I’ve had both really good stuff (that’s very sticky), and then others that hardly stick at all.

  11. Karen on: 2 August 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Thanks! I just did this today on my new green wall to hide a lamp cord. I used blue painters tape and cut the ends instead of tearing them to make a clean end. Then I used regular masking tape to lay down next to the blue tape. That way, I could paint over the blue tape and not get it on the wall. Peel off the masking tape before paint is dry.
    I can barely see the cord now.

  12. Smokee Tokess on: 29 October 2012 at 5:20 am

    Thanks! I just got a new TV and I’m trying to figure out how to mount a speak to the wall without the wires showing!

  13. Tricky Rich on: 12 August 2013 at 1:07 am

    I route and dril holes where I want. when I move I just repair and paint over. You don’t even see where they were. Paint, dry wall filler and sandpaper. Takes 24 hours but well worth it.

  14. alice spencer on: 14 May 2015 at 7:03 pm

    I am gonna try this, got tired of seeing wires on the wall cause it looks messy..

  15. gary on: 29 August 2015 at 2:08 pm

    One serious problem you need to mention is masking tape kind of rots after a time, especially in the sun but even in the dark. Look at old tape you may have (say on moving boxes to see an example. It leaves a very hard to clean shreds of paper residue. This will get your deposit in a hurry. It is probably OK for up to 6 months (I would limit it to 3). But I have a lot of examples around my garage and attic that tells me dont use masking tap except for masking.

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