CableWhen a couple of guys mounted a plasma on my wall I told them the bottom of the screen had to be exactly 72 cm from the floor. That was the height of the components cabinet with the centre-channel speaker on top, meaning all the cables between screen and electronics would be hidden behind the speaker.

They stuffed it up, of course, and there’s not much you can once the holes have been drilled. So there was a 5 cm gap between speaker top and screen bottom exposing the cables. She-who-must-be-obeyed found this entirely unacceptable. The only thing uglier, she said, was in the cat’s litter tray.

So the guys drilled a couple of holes in the wall and routed all the cabling through a U-shaped channel in the wall cavity.

Complex? Certainly. Inconvenient? Utterly. Expensive? Oh my god. But no one likes looking at cables and so I’m predicting a big future for an emerging industry called cable management.

So is Nicole Kersh. She runs a company that sells cable management hardware to installers and lately she’s had so much inquiry from people like you and me that she’s getting into retail.

Her stuff is not just about hiding cables, but also about making them more convenient.

Take, for example, a brilliant little idea called the cable drop, a bubble about the size of a dollar coin. You peel the coating off the back to expose the self-adhesive surface and stick it where you recharge your phone. Or where the USB cables currently-not-in-use-but-necessary-to-keep-handy live. Insert the cable-end in the slot and there it is, ready for action when next you need it. Smart or what? $9.95 for six.

Or you could go for the little plastic fireman (the cable forms his hose) at $15.95. He’s red of course.

Cable ties are a staple in any installer’s toolbox but now there’s a smart cable tie. It’s called the Rapstrap and its great advantage is that unlike a conventional cable tie it’s not a one-hit wonder.

Wrap it around your cables, pull it through tight, cut it off and you can use what’s left over to tie up another section of cable. One Rapstrap can be used for four or five tie-ups. And the bonus is that, with patience, you can unpick it and use it again elsewhere. Two dozen for $4.95.

If neatly tied up cabling is still too ugly for you go for a spiralled spine to wrap it in ($59), or nicely squared-off conduit ducting that looks just like skirting ($3.75 for two metres). Or there’s braided, flexible cable wrapping complete with a zipper ($14.95 for two metres).

Power boards have never been noted for their aesthetics. Now you can buy a box to hide them in, complete with slots for the power cords to exit, from $39.

While you’re at it get some cord identifiers so you know which cable is connected to what. Oh, the pain they can save. Ten for $9.95.