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Having electrical outlets, USB charging ports, night lights, etc would be nice to have on some pieces of furniture, like side tables. Several receptacle manufacturers make combination fixtures with USB and power, for instance, or power plus a night light.

I've thought about nailing an electrical box to a (hidden) portion of the table and putting one of those receptacles in it, but what things do I need to consider doing this? Is it as simple as it sounds, and then just fashioning some kind of plug out of 12/2 or 14/2 wire? Does the answer change if the box is concealed (though still accessible) vs it being completely visible?

  • You do not have to conform to the NEC or local electric codes. Though, you do have to use common sense. No wire thinner than 14 AWG unless it is protected by an appropriately sized miniature circuit breaker (they are very cheap.) – Mister Tea Nov 28 '16 at 13:33
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Assuming your furniture has Locations X and Y where you'd like to mount the receptacles, and location Z that would be a suitable, safe place for a power cord to exit the furniture without being underfoot or hazardous:

To connect X, Y and Z, I'd use steel or plastic junction boxes with steel or plastic conduit between them. Preferably steel (though it's harder to work with). Route between boxes doesn't matter. You can go with plain old ugly stamped boxes or they make some fancy cast ones with threaded ports. Whatever works.

At location Z, I'd have a flexible cord with proper grommets and strain reliefs. This is "cordage", or cable specifically made to be flexible equipment cords. (obviously cordage is common since every appliance has it; but you must use cordage, not random Romex or whatever.) I would use a minimum of 14 AWG, preferably 12 since it will assure a breaker will trip before it overloads.

Inside the conduit, I'd see what makes sense. If I can spare the length, I might pull the cordage through whole. Otherwise I'd splice it to THHN single-conductor wire run in the conduit between the boxes. Either go Z then Y then X, or branch Z-Y and then Z-X. Either way is fine.

I would NOT staple Romex between the junction boxes, because Romex is vulnerable to physical damage, that being the point of the conduit.

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For a task like this, I would go with using fixtures which are already meant to be furniture integrated, such as this:

enter image description here https://m.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/art/90360267/

They have standard connectors to plug into normal charger. Same kinds of things exist for power outlets, etc.

The bonus is, you don't have to do your own custom wiring, just attach normal charger somewhere under the table, and run a slightly longer ordinary cable to wall.

For power outlets, you can use a simple normal extender cable.

The task then becomes only to route the cabling + attach a charger. For that you can use just some surface mounted plastic electricity box such as this or whatever is suitable in your country:

enter image description here

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