By Rebecca Bradshaw
From kitchen appliances that can cook a gourmet meal with the click of a button, to computers that control everything from recording your favorite TV show to automatically adjusting the thermostat, our homes are more tech savvy than ever before.
Along with all of those gadgets and systems, however, comes a multitude of cords and plugs necessary to keep them all operating. Rather than crowding walls with unsightly sockets, here are some creative ways to streamline your home with hidden power outlets.
With all the interest in cooking these days, most kitchens are filled with an abundance of small appliances just waiting to be used. The plethora of necessary power outlets, however, can make even the sleekest kitchen look cluttered. Hiding sockets behind false drawer fronts on kitchen islands, or mounted between the lip of the countertop and lower cabinets are just two design options to streamline the space, as is tucking multiple sockets behind a pull-down backsplash. If a hinged backsplash isn’t possible, keep outlets out of sight by having them installed in molds mounted beneath upper kitchen cupboards.
Hiding computer cables and wires has long been a key aspect of achieving a streamlined workspace; interior designers are now finding clever ways to hide electrical outlets. Regardless of your furniture style, desks, credenzas, and filing cabinets are being manufactured with built-in outlets that are either tucked away in drawers or behind false fronts. Sliding baseboards that cover outlets when not in use will keep your office looking sleek, or opt for an innovative, pop-up power strip. Built into desks or other furniture, the retractable towers neatly recede out of sight when not in use. Pop-up towers are a great option for busy kitchens as well.
Much like kitchens, bathrooms require several power outlets to accommodate all of our electronic gadgets. Streamline your bathroom’s look by hiding sockets for electric razors and the like behind levered tiles, or inserted into molds under medicine cabinets and mirrors. For clever, at your fingertip ease, install outlets for your hair dryer or curling iron into the back of the same drawer where you store them. Tucking sockets inside a cupboard or storage closet also works well. For safety’s sake, be sure that power outlets in both bathrooms and kitchens are grounded, and are at least a yard away from faucets or anywhere that water might splash.
One way to hide power outlets from plain view doesn’t involve secreting them away at all. Paint outlet faces the same color as the walls, or cover with matching wallpaper to make them less obvious to the eye. This can be especially effective on an accent wall, where colors or patterns are typically dark or bold. Some new home builds are installing electrical boxes in a way that allows outlets to sit flush to walls, all but disappearing when painted. Or, for truly clever camouflage, sockets can be incorporated into wall hangings or other pieces of art.
Sources: Houzz, This Old House, odee.com, Architectural Digest