Hide cables in rain gutters

Reader Geogriaberry tipped us off to a terrific cable clutter solution by Jonathan Crossman. Crossman reclaimed wood to build a desk, and then outfitted the desk to specifically hide cables. He drilled “access points” (notches) to feed cables through and then attached a rain gutter to hold the cables and feed them down toward the legs.

From Crossman’s website:

In the final photograph, you can see how he lined up the leg of the desk with the outlet so all of the cables are out of sight:

Rain gutters can be purchased at any home improvement store and most stores will even cut the gutters to your specified length. If you wish to match the color of the gutter to your desk, be sure to purchase paintable gutters and the appropriate spray paint. Finally, to drill notches into your desk, you can use either a jigsaw or a sharp speed bore bit or a hole saw.

Check out Crossman’s website for more pictures and a more detailed account of the work he did to complete his desk.

(Images by Jonathan Crossman.)

7 Comments for “Hide cables in rain gutters”

  1. posted by Wilfred Joseph on

    What a great idea. Where are the HD and power strip? Are they in the gutter?
    Another idea along those lines are using PVC piping. It would be a Tobe with holes drilled into the top for easy entry. At the B&B we have to be creative to hide the cables of lamps, TVs and DVD etc. especially when taking pictures. That’s easier that air brushing them out.
    Where did you get the kits for adjusting the legs?

  2. posted by Mike on

    This is one area in which I break ranks with many unclutterers, and I hope you’ll hear me out at least to some degree before you dismiss this:

    Cable management on the device side, I think we all agree is important. It is frustrating in the extreme to see a tangle of cords behind the otherwise sleek, clean lines of a TV, notebook computer, console, or what have you. Microsoft, Nintendo, etc have helped us out a lot lately by providing wireless game controllers that can be stored easily out of sight. Fantastic. And I dig the rain gutter idea as a good way to keep cables out of sight on the device side. Zip ties, under-table solutions… good ideas all.

    But when it comes to interfacing with the wall, not only is blocking the outlet going to increase fire danger (especially with a wooden table leg!) but having furniture or fixtures pressing against a cord on the outlet side, with the day-to-day jostling and passage (even gently so) is going to abrade the cord and eventually make it fall apart. This not only looks bad but is hazardous in multiple respects. This applies whether we’re talking about a power outlet, a cable TV outlet, a network cable outlet, or whatever. On the device side, it’s not as big a problem, but beware of entertainment nooks and such providing more and more opportunities to abrade and wear down cords in addition to what happens with furniture on the outlet side.

    I encourage unclutterers to give wall outlets room to breathe and to let cords and cables plug into them in such a way that you can readily access the outlet. Where you can hide an outlet without actually pressing furniture up to it, by all means do so. (Especially those of us with young children!) But don’t do like the table leg in the photo — don’t trade a stomachache for a headache. It is not hard to find extension cords with right-angled ends that are the same color as your wall or can be painted to be the same color. Better that there’s a subtle wire visible than to be stuck waiting for a fire insurance reimbursement check.

  3. Avatar of Erin Doland

    posted by Erin Doland on

    @Mike — There is clearly a power strip in the gutter (it can be seen above the cable outlet). My assumption is that the plug IS a flat-faced plug. I don’t think a table leg could fit that snuggly against a traditional plug. You’re lecturing when no lecture is necessary.

  4. posted by Keter on

    I would however suggest using a vinyl (nonconducting) gutter rather than a metal one, just in case something overheats or shorts out.

  5. posted by Anna on

    Great idea! My husband was an eavestrougher (gutter guy)and often had smaller pieces of gutter laying around… it would be worth phoning up your local gutter guy and seeing if he had small pieces to take off his hands… they are all paintable metal and a headache to have around.

  6. posted by Linn on

    This is a fabulous idea! I cannot stand the look of wires and cords, so I’m always looking for great ideas to hide them. Thanks!

  7. posted by Lee on

    We attached a gutter behind our iron bed, just a little lower than the top of the mattress. When I suggested the idea, I had another material in mind but my husband said it would be very easy with a piece of gutter. This holds cords for the phone, 2 c-paps, 2 alarm clocks, 2 reading lights, and a series of health monitoring devices. It’s been wonderful to have them off of the floor.

    I’ve labeled the plug end of the cord for items that don’t have a detachable cord and both ends for items with detachable cords. That way I can plug and unplug knowing which cord I’m working with. The biggest issue is the low quality of my labels.

    This looks nicer than ours, but since ours isn’t seen, it wasn’t worth a lot of time and effort to make it look lovely. It’s a good example of a project that didnt need to get an “A” in how pretty it is.

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