When I splurged recently on all things home theatre-related, I had dreams of a clean, beautiful high-tech theatre look in my new home.
The reality is, in my new home, my speakers are falling over on the floor, and there’s a big gaping white space above the television.
Many of you relate, I’m sure. The quick, easy solution is to run out and buy some great art, but that seldom does anything to help with speaker cables. Oh, ho, you pesky cables!
With theatre cables I’d like to hide, I recently began thinking up creative solutions to this ugly modern problem.
First, get a plan, man
In this post, I’m writing about something I’ve not actually done, but every project needs a plan, and I think this “thinking out loud” planning process can be of use for some of you who haven’t tried imagining your own solutions before. It helps if you tell yourself all glitches can be overcome, and the hardest part of most of these projects is just getting it started.
With an idea nailed down, it’s time to start sourcing all the parts to make it come together, which I’ll do as I enjoy my summer. When rainy “projects” weather comes in the fall, I have a plan on hand.
Here’s the idea: A wall “panel” installation using just 2.5 yards of fabric, a staple gun, a half-dozen screws, and three planks of 4”-wide wood trim.
Here’s my scenario. With a 42” TV and a 60” TV bench, I’m keeping an eye on specialty fabric sites for the right colour and style of fabric I’d like, which will hopefully be 54” wide.
The thinking is, this wall installation will hide all my cables, bring drama and colour into my living room, save me from buying more art, and make my TV stand out like the thing of beauty it is. So, as a renter, it solves the problem of beige walls and also makes cables invisible — a seriously double-duty project.
And I won’t have to use the stupid cable housing they try to sell you that’s “paintable,” but looks ridiculous.
My project should run about $100 and an afternoon’s work, while creating a piece that will probably pack the most dramatic decorating punch out of everything in my home.
Okay, now what?
I’ll simply run the fabric full width from floor to ceiling, with a 4”-wide flat wood trim overlapping the fabric by one inch on either side, and completely at the top. Beforehand, I’ll stain the trim the same depth as my oak furniture, so it complements my antiques.
The fabric will be stapled to the wall, and the frame attached with 3 or 4 screws on each side. Grommets will create defined holes for speakers and prevent fabric fraying around the whole, so I’ll use one for each of the two speakers to be mounted on each side of the panel.
This will take planning, of course, as the speakers will be mounted where these grommet holes are, and the will cables run down under the back of the fabric, to the theatre system. Enter the trusty measuring tape! (And a large cup of coffee.)
The fabric and frame will be exactly 60” wide, or 66” if I find a a 60” fabric, so my TV bench (60″ wide) will get centred perfectly in front of it.
There are considerations to keep in mind, such as making sure the cabling is fixed straight and proper, so it’s not loose and causing unruly fabric ripples, and another big consideration is fabric weight.
I’m only looking at either thick upholstery or outdoor fabrics, so their weight will help disguise any cable bulges, which might be unavoidable. It might be easily solved with cotton batting, too, so I’m keeping that in mind.
Another option I’m open to is grass matting of a similar width, for something very exotic and natural feeling, but while offering a rigidity that would better hide those cabling bumps yet prevent me from the hassle of dealing with batting. I do so like the easier way out.
That’s a wrap
What’s great about this big-impact project is that I should be able to do it in an afternoon, but if I want to change out the fabric for something else, it’ll always be an afternoon project, and only 2.5 yards of fabric, so even rich, luxurious fabrics will be in my budget for new looks every year.
When we’re only looking for solutions through products available in stores, we miss some opportunities to solve our problems in a way that better reflects our style.
Hopefully this inspires you to look at your problem projects with a different perspective.