How to Hide Unsightly Electrical Lamp Cords

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One fabric cord cover will typically fit up to three lamp cords.
One fabric cord cover will typically fit up to three lamp cords. (Image: Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

To streamline their photos, home decor magazines often airbrush to remove any cables or wires. Dangling lamp cords distract the eye and add clutter to an otherwise organized space. Although lighting specialists can rewire lamps with more attractive cords, an easier and less-expensive option is to conceal the wires. In one afternoon, you can mask cords with ready-made covers. Ruched fabric covers make table and floor lamps seem more chic, while wall raceways camouflage wires that suspend from sconces.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Fabric cord cover
  • Adhesive raceway
  • Latex paint
  • Level

Table and Floor Lamps

Measure the length of the electrical cord with a tape measure. If you’re covering more than one cord with the same cover, measure the length of the longest cord. Ensure that the cords are not fraying, as covering worn wires with fabric is unsafe.

Select a cover at least twice as long as the longest cord; this will ensure proper fullness. Fabric covers are typically 5 to 9 feet in length. If you have an extra-long cord, simply use two covers.

Use a cover that is wide enough for the cord. The cover should be about 5 inches wide to hide multiple cords. Choose a cover that will blend with the background or match other colors in the room.

Unplug the lamp. Wrap the fabric around the cord. If the cover is longer than the cord, simply scrunch up the material. On very short cords, it may be necessary to cut off excess fabric.

Keep the cover in place by securing the closures along the length of the cover.

Wall Sconces and Swing-Arm Lamps

Measure the length of the cord. Select an adhesive raceway long enough to hide the cord. Raceways are typically 4 feet long, but you can use two raceways if more coverage is desired.

Paint the front and sides of the raceway in the same color as the wall. Ensure that the manufacturer has labeled the product safe for painting. Allow the surface to dry for four hours before handling.

Unplug the lamp and move the cord aside. Position the raceway vertically below the lamp. With a level and pencil, make a horizontal line just below the bottom of the lamp. This is the point at which the raceway will begin.

Remove the adhesive backing and adhere the back of the raceway to the wall, ensuring that the top perfectly aligns with your level mark.

Push the cord into the raceway. Depending on the design, you will either open a hinged door and snap the front cover shut, or you will tuck the cord into a flap that runs down the front of the raceway. Plug the cord into the outlet.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you want to put a table lamp or floor lamp in the middle of a large room, electricians can install outlets in the floor. Floor outlets reduce the risk of someone tripping and breaking the lamp.
  • Do not attempt to hide lamp cords underneath a rug. Foot traffic may cause the cords to wear down and start an electrical fire.

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