I need to run some standard AC wiring for wall lights etc. in the living room and some telephone/broadband wiring too. The problem is I can't do it in-wall for various reasons. The only option I am aware of is run a casing+capping made of PVC which does the job but looks hideous is a no-no.

So what I am looking for, is some known solution which is on-the-wall and still looks nice or can be made to. Or maybe some start-up/innovation which has come recently which I may not be aware of.

  • 2
    What are the various reasons it can't go in the wall? There may be ways to install this without surface mounting that are easier than you think they'll be.
    – Comintern
    Commented Mar 22, 2014 at 16:37
  • @Comintern I was stupid enough to get the room painted and woodwork polished before I realized the wiring needs to be fixed :) on top of that I am also trying to install a couple more wall lamps where there are no studs anyways. Commented Mar 23, 2014 at 15:14
  • 4
    Do you have access to the top or bottom of the wall from the attic or basement at all? If you can get a wire into the wall from the top or bottom, cutting some old-work boxes into the wall won't require any refinishing at all.
    – Comintern
    Commented Mar 23, 2014 at 15:52

6 Answers 6


When someone says surface wiring, the first thought that seems to pop into almost everyone's head is something with all the panache of this:

conduit on shop wall

This doesn't have to be. What about building a cover over wiring which looks like a fireplace mantel or deluxe shelf?

enter image description here

It could serve multiple purposes depending on its depth: bar, furniture-wall protector, decorative display, storage, art display, etc.

  • 2
    this is what I call innovative. Lemme run it by the women of the family :) Commented Mar 23, 2014 at 15:24
  • 2
    Wiremold (steel, not PVC) looks a shade better than conduit, but the "chair-rail with power" (don't live with ugly, make it an architectural feature that looks nice!) is the definitive solution.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Mar 23, 2014 at 22:17

One option might be a product like FlatWire (I have no affiliation with this company/product). This is a flat flexible wire that adheres to your wall and can be painted over. They have audio and data variants as well. The wire intended for lighting is low voltage and needs to be used with compatible transformers and lights. While more expensive and restrictive than running exposed conduit, it definitely looks better.

Flat Wire
(source: flatwireready.com)

  • I have seen the product used on This Old House. It was years ago, they skimmed it over with joint compound to blend it into the wall surface. I was impressed with it.
    – Jack
    Commented Mar 22, 2014 at 16:58
  • nice .. if my budget fits, then this could be the best one' Commented Mar 23, 2014 at 15:24
  • 1
    I can just feel the screws, nails and picture-hangers itching to get in to this stuff. Of course, I can see that in most cases they could poke a hole and it would still work, but the possibility of getting one in just the right place to short it out is assured by Murphy's law.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 0:27

Orginally from this twitter:https://twitter.com/craigstone_/status/446315965135851520/photo/1

We have "make art with cables":

enter image description here

  • 1
    I have to wonder if the left picture is safe - it looks like there are lots of sharp bends in the wire and there is probably a fastener at those spots too. Damaged wire has higher resistance so it generates more heat, and too much heat can cause a fire.
    – Steven
    Commented Mar 23, 2014 at 16:12

I'd be tempted to run all the wiring along your existing (brick or concrete?) wall(s), put up studs just thick for whatever conduits and junction boxes you're using, then put drywall on the studs, essentially building a new wall over the old. The room will lose a few inches but the final result should look perfect.

  • Thanks for the suggestion but read my answer to Comintern :( and it a brick and stone wall with cement and already painted. Commented Mar 23, 2014 at 15:15
  • Sorry, hiding all the work you want to do behind studs and drywall still sounds like a good solution to me. Commented Mar 31, 2014 at 19:25

Check out some of the hollow baseboard products-- I don't know if Plugmold makes one or not-- but it has duplex outlets along its length. I've seen pictures of 'standard' plugmold with the outlets every foot or so 'built in' to a standard baseboard-- a flat board the same depth as the plugmold, the plug mold on top, with decorative molding at the floor and the top of the plugmold. With care it looks like a baseboard with outlets every foot. Paint everything to match. Only 'issue' is that the outlets are a bit lower than normal.

PS-- just google "Hollow Baseboard" for some neat options!


There are really no products that allow for surface wiring that look decent at all. Almost all of it is ugly and distracting from a nice looking wall.

With all that said you really only have a couple of options. First off you could work out how to get the wires inside the wall even if that is way more work than you had anticipated. Often the "right" solution is the most painful.

If in-wall wiring is totally out of the question then your already considered surface mounted wiring may have to be used. Some considerations to think about...

  • Can you mount the surface mounted wiring channels so that they are mostly hidden by furniture sitting along the wall?

  • Could you use one of the low profile PVC types and mount it along the floor so it is less noticeable than a line across the middle of the wall?

  • You could consider placing a low profile PVC type raceway in place of the baseboard along the floor. Then cut the curved part of the top of the existing type of baseboard as a strip to mount alongside the raceway. This would tend to blend the added wire channel into the existing baseboard.

  • Another similar option is to put up crown molding and hide it behind that, but this depends on being able to easily drop down a wall cavity (which is usually easier than running across studs).
    – Steven
    Commented Mar 22, 2014 at 16:35
  • @Michael Yes, in-wall is out of question but I am thinking options 2 and 3 but in both, the final leg will still rise from the floor to the wall lamp in the middle of the wall, right ? Commented Mar 23, 2014 at 15:21

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