How to Hide Your TV Components (An Ode to the IR Repeater)

designsponge_wires_before
Last Friday I finally realized one of my biggest home project dreams: having all of my wires and TV components completely hidden behind a cabinet. For years I’d been getting closer and closer to having better cord management systems, but I always stopped short of having all the wires completely hidden from view. In my last apartment I had a fauxdenza that housed my TV, but all the components (cable box, Apple TV, etc.) were inside, so I had to leave the cabinet door open any time I wanted to watch tv or change a channel. I realize that in the grand scheme of life this is not a real problem, but it was one that always bugged me and made me feel embarrassed. I was never embarrassed of my TV (Daniel summed up my feelings about TV perfectly), but I hated having something that looked nice but wasn’t actually functional. Enter: the IR Repeater.

DESIGNSPONGE_AFTER_CORDS
Julia remembered that her parents had some sort of system installed that allowed them to control their TV and music (with a remote) through a close cabinet door. I did some googling and discovered that there were several systems, called IR Repeater Kits, that looked fairly easy to install and would allow me to finally tackle my cord hoarding situation. I ordered this one online ($49.99) that allows you to control up to 8 devices while their hidden behind a cabinet or wall (up to 6 feet away, depending on the brand you use).

DESIGNSPONGE_IRREPEATER1
Outside of the whole fauxdenza movement (which I still can’t quit), this system is the most exciting- and functional- change to come to my house in ages. All of our cords are now inside the cabinet and we just aim our remotes at a tiny “eye” that sits on top or below the TV. I know I don’t normally talk about tech products here, but this one is just too wonderful not to share. Here are some details to know and consider before installing:

  • The issue I ran into was locating the IR sensors/eyes in each device. These are the infrared dots inside your cable boxes, etc. that interact with the remote. You may have to fiddle around with the placement of each sensor until you find the right spot (the flashlight trick didn’t work for me).
  • The new IR eye that goes on top of your TV still has a cord attached to it. We drilled a hole into the credenza behind the TV so we could pull the wire into the credenza and make it “disappear” as much as possible.
  • To keep things extra neat, try using a paddle bit to make a hole in the bottom of your credenza so you can drag an extension cord into the cabinet and hide all the plugs inside.
  • To give all your components enough breathing room, try mounting your router or other small boxes to the wall/back of the cabinet. We did this to give our cable box more room.
Catherine

Awesome! I hope this works for games consoles as my boyfriend’s gadgets take up so much space and have all the cables just hanging out all over the place. Thanks for the tip, Grace

Steph

@Catherine I wouldn’t recommend it for gaming consoles, they’ll overheat if they don’t get enough airflow.

Maggie

Hi Grace! Can you tell me which Ikea cabinets you used for your fauxdenza? I think it’s the Akrum door, but what is/are the model/dimensions of the cabinet? Thanks!

hannah

i thought you all were doing a butcher block project top on the credenza or am I thinking of someone else?

Grace Bonney

hi maggie!

they’re akurums. we did two different sizes (to fit our weird wall sizes). they’re 18 inches wide and the others are 21 inches wide.

grace

Grace Bonney

catherine

gaming consoles do generate a lot of heat when used for hours. but the bigger issue is the slight delay an ir repeater causes. i’m imagining that would drive gamers nuts ;)

grace

Cassie

This post is kind of confusing. I get that this is a device that lets you access hidden devices with a remote, but what happened to the cords coming out of the bottom of the cabinet? Where is the outlet and power strip? That seems like a totally different issue.

Grace Bonney

cassie

those cords were pulled inside the cabinet (you can see them bundled inside the cabinet in the picture). we just plugged an extension cord in the outlet (right below the cabinet) and pulled that inside the cabinet so everything plugs in already inside the cabinet.

grace

Ania

We have an RF universal remote and that takes things to the next level! You control everything with one remote and you don’t have to point it at an “eye” because it uses RF instead of IR. It also involves putting little tabs over the IR sensors, but once you have them placed, it’s good to go. Put your gear anywhere you want and use just one remote. (My boyfriend is a tech nerd and has our place tricked out with all of these gadgets).

Steve

@Ania: Would you be able to ask your boyfriend (and report back) what make & model of RF to IR devices he uses? I think it would be much better to use RF over IR. I have looked for RF to IR repeaters and can only find one or two that only do a single device at a time. I would like to find something like this IR Repeater that can do up to 8 devices through one repeater.

LEAVE A COMMENT