Ten DIY gadget charging stations

“Where can I plug this in?” is a dilemma of the contemporary age.

As phones and tablets become more popular, two problems arise. First, most wall sockets only accommodate two items each. That’s easily remedied by connecting a power strip. One plug becomes five or six, and you’re good to go.

But the solution to the first problem begets problem number two: the jumble of cables and wires is just ugly. Plus, they get tangled, swapped, and misplaced. You could spend money on a decent-looking solution or whip up your own home charging station. The following are 10 great examples I found while poking around the Internet. Each charges several devices simultaneously and looks a lot better than a power strip and a rat’s nest of wires.

  1. Hidden in a drawer. I first saw this solution on Pinterest. It keeps everything out of sight completely by placing the whole lot inside a drawer. The setup is simple: drill a hole in the back of the drawer, thread the power strip cord through and plug it in. You might want to fasten the power strip to the bottom of the drawer to keep it from wobbling around with double-sided tape or velcro.
  2. Converted storage box. This rig was inspired by ribbon boxes that store the ribbon inside and feed it through a small hole. Here, holes were cut into a storage box that you can find at any craft store. The holes were reinforced with oval bookplates, held in place with small brad nails. From there, the power strip was placed inside and the device cables fed through the new holes. It looks great and there’s really no need to open it.
  3. Night Stand recharging station. This one wins the prize for most dramatic before-and-after photos, as an upturned cardboard box is replaced by a nice-looking end table. Holes will drilled in the rear of the unit and the charging cables fed through. Just don’t look behind it, though. I fear there’s an hidden rat’s nest against that wall.
  4. Super easy plastic bin. This one isn’t long on looks but it’s probably the least expensive solution here. Plus, it gets the job done. Small holes were cut into the rear and lid so that cables could be fed through. Sure, you can see inside but it’s still nice to not have to deal with what’s inside.
  5. Vintage case. Here’s a solution that is long on looks. Ryan at Weekly Geek, who put this together, describes his love of de-tangling electronic cables: “Jaws clenched and temples throbbing the world silently fades as my focus gets narrower and more fierce. That mess is broken, and I have to fix it. Why won’t they let me fix it?” His vintage-valise-as-charging-station is a thing to behold and not for he feint of heart. You can review what’s required here. The results, however, are very nice indeed.
  6. Converted IKEA storage unit. I’ll admit that I love IKEA. Even those little meatballs in the cafeteria are good. In this example, an enterprising soul at IKEA Hackers converted the company’s Estetisk storage unit into a nice-looking charging station. Holes were drilled into the back and the “cubbies” were outfitted with custom plywood inserts. Well done.
  7. Re-purposed plastic bottle. You got me, this only charges a single item. But look at how cute and convenient it is! By deftly cutting a plastic lotion bottle and applying some decoration, Ashley at Make It & Love It has a great-looking holder that hangs on the charger itself and corrals the phone and its cable. Very nice.
  8. Old books. Some of you will balk at the idea of chopping up an old book, but the rest should check this out. Yes, it’s a single-device solution again, but it’s very nice-looking. There are several available in this Etsy shop, but I’m sure you could figure it out for yourself with an X-Acto knife and some time.
  9. Converted shoe box. Here’s another quick-and-dirty solution that works well. This is similar to the storage box – you’re cutting holes in a shoe box, reinforcing them with grommets and feeding the cables through – but less expensive. Plus, since you’re starting with a shoe box, do some decorating to get it looking nice. Time to break out the Mod Podge.
  10. Vintage breadbox. Finally, a converted vintage bread box. This one requires the most work and some basic carpentry skills (and the right decor) but you’d never guess there’s a jumble of wires and charging electronics inside of there.

I hope you found this list inspirational. You do have to charge your gadgets but the process needn’t result in a jumbled mess. Go forth and make a great little charging station.

7 Comments for “Ten DIY gadget charging stations”

  1. posted by nancy on

    love the hidden in a drawer concept!! i so hate looking at all the stuff. thanks, will drill a hole immediately :))

  2. posted by metai on

    This is a top ten list of potential fire hazards. And I am not trying to be mean or derisive here, it’s just that I have seen more than one power supply melt down and/or go up in flames, brand names and no-name brands, one of them even while NOT in use. If anything, a more or less airtight box containing several chargers will only accelerate any thermal problems.

    If you try such a thing, I can only recommend pulling the plug whenever it is unattended. For your own safety.

  3. posted by Kelly on

    For devices that use USB charging get a 2 plug wall charger so there is less to plug in at the wall. I have this one and love it, especially for traveling.

    This one is 2.4A – more Amps (A) means faster charging and it has A and N/A (Apple and Non-Apple) ports marked which have something to do with flipping a certain pin to enable fast charging for Apple devices. Everything will still charge on either port, just may not be as speedy.

    As far as cords, I have the super simple cord solution. I keep my charging cables under the nightstand. Of course if your nightstand doesn’t already have legs you’re probably not going to change out all your furniture just for this!

  4. posted by G. on

    metai – you make a good point about heat. Leaving them on all the time also adds to the electric bill.

    I wonder how many wall warts overheat due to bad cables from being pulled and yanked on by a frustrated detangler, not the wall wart itself being the problem.

  5. posted by Pat Reble on

    My problem is a cat that chews thin cables. He’s munched his way through $350 worth of phone chargers, TV and stereo wires – anything small and crunchy. So I’m thinking that some of these ideas might thwart his activities nicely (powered off between uses!) Currently I have to upend a bin over my gadgets while recharging them.

  6. posted by Pat Reble on

    Job done! I looked at the top drawer of my computer desk with new eyes and discovered that I didn’t even have to drill a hole to fit the power cable through as it has a gap at the back – good ventilation! All chargers neatly stowed, ready to go, and cat successfully thwarted! :))

  7. posted by Jacquie on

    But most of these presuppose that the devices are all only ever going to be charged in the same place. I looked at some of them and thought that looks good, but realsied for me it wouldn’t work.

    My devices get charged at different times and places depending on how much I’ve used them. In the UK at least, many of the chargers now are USB port type, so I leave one plug upstairs, one down and one in my suitcase. Yes, I have to move the leads around but for some of them I now have multiples too, which can stay in place.

    Reading through, I thought the one that would be most useful to me was the one that hangs on the plug to hold the device. However, quick reality check. It in itself is more clutter. A holder instead of just the wire? And it would only work for my phone not my Kindle or my tablet.

    I do agree with other posters who warn of the fire risk to these permanent, closed-in solutions (especially with the older style large transformer plugs which can get quite hot), and the waste of electricity; they should all be unplugged when not in use. The plug-in bit gets warm because it is using power even without the device connected.

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