loomIf peeking behind your media center makes you cringe, it’s time to tackle your AV cables. Here are 8 ways to clean, reduce, and pretty up the mess.

Behind the wall: If your TV is mounted to the wall above a media center, consider snaking your TV cables behind the wall. There’s a bit of a learning curve, but with a YouTube tutorial and about an hour of your time, you can end up with a professionally-installed look. (DIY approach only recommended for drywall and simple setups. Know what’s behind your walls before cutting into them, and remember that some HDMI cables are directional.)

Wiremold: If running cables behind the wall is too far out of your comfort zone, wiremold is still a big improvement to your mounted TV’s look over loosely dangling wires. Cut to the right length, wiremold can easily be attached to your wall, run the distance between your TV and components, and keep all wires out of site.

wiremoldSleeve / Loom: Similar to wiremold in effect, wire sleeves and looms can be even easier to implement as they don’t attach to the wall. A step above zip tying or velcroing your wires together, these hide the bundle as well. The OmniMount, for example, has cutouts every 2” for multiple entry and exit points, allowing each device to feed in and out with minimal slack, even if devices are on separate shelves.

Chromecast: How many source cables are running to your TV? Now how many of these sources do you actually use? Chromecast is an HDMI stick that plugs into the back of your TV, hooks up to your Wi-Fi network, and streams loads of media. With apps for (among dozens of others) Netflix, HBO Go and YouTube, Chromecast can also play whatever is on your phone through mirroring. The image is impressively high def, and since it can be powered via USB, a USB input on your TV means zero dangling wires.

Cut down the length: Have a 15-foot cable where a 1-foot cable belongs? If the back of your media center is doubling as a dust trap, consider replacing some cables with the right length. Audioquest carries just about any cable in whatever length you’ll need.

cable trayWireless Transmitter: Wireless transmitters replace your cables with a transmitter and receiver that can stream your media wirelessly over short distances. In our experience these are not very reliable, but online reviews beg to differ.

Paint / hide them: Have leftover paint from the last time you redid the living room? Camouflage your AV cables by painting them the same color as their background. Sometimes a strategic placement of a plant or stack of books can take the focus off of your AV eyesore.

Put them on display: For the ever-evolving system requiring dozens of cables, cable trays are a great way to keep your cables organized yet accessible. For an industrial look that’s very functional, a cabling tray might be the way to go. Or, you can always turn them into art.