Cables and Cable Trays don’t have to be an eyesore and there’s no need to hide them. We look at some of the most stylish design ideas for cable runners.

When you just can’t hide them

It’s not often that the word ‘cable trays’ is used in the same sentence as ‘sexy’, but there’s a truth to the saying ‘function begets beauty’, and it’s optional that they should be an ugly inconvenience in the room. There’s no doubting that the cable tray is the most cost efficient, versatile and easy to maintain of all the cable management systems out there. A faulty wire in an overhead cable tray can easily be replaced with the help of a step ladder or very tall electrician.

Whether you’re thinking of running cables around your private office at home, or have been advised to run a capable across your commercial shop floor, cable trays can look mighty stylish. In the last few years reclaimed interior designs has been all the rage, particularly popular among the more environmentally and socially conscious of designers. At its height is shabby chic. The principle behind this is reclaiming ‘old and worn’ furniture and celebrating its antiquity with only superficial modifications. No longer will that tatty, plastic veneer 1970-style coffee table be the elephant in the living room. Strip it down, give it a fresh varnish and pair it with similarly tasteful 1970 decor, as seen in the example below.

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And how does that apply to cable trays?

It’s one thing to harmonize furniture with its surroundings, but another thing entirely to do it with metallic or worse, plastic. But it’s essentially the same principle. Embrace them! They’re a necessary part of how the room operates. In many cases, cable trays will already have been laid before you move into a new office or commercial space. If they are incredibly obvious (such as running all along the ceiling) you should blend them into their surroundings. Match the colour scheme to the metal or, more elaborately, match the angles and design that will compliment the room.

1. Incorporation

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In this Admedo office in London, the cable runner is too large to hide and so by simply pairing it with a similarly coloured (and patterned) stylish chaise longue (foreground), the designers have seamlessly incorporated the metallic finish. Further points can be given for the novel use of the cable tray to draw the eye down the room to the modern and contrastingly warm company logo.

2. Style it Out

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The sleek design here for this clothing shop has gone one step further than incorporation. Most often overhead (and unsightly) cables are used for lighting and have the advantage of more evenly distributed lighting than centre room lights. For a clothing shop in particular, even lighting is very important and can even be considered the extra salesman. Here, the designers, KINZO, have fully embraced the cables and laid them in a pleasing, ordered and dynamic fashion to provide the customer with all round lighting from spotlights and pendent luminaires.

3. Colours make a world a better place

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This design is an amalgamation of the last two design ideas. Again the cables are a necessity for the tech heavy TED Manhattan office, but they’ve gone a step further and highlighted the cable trays. The plain and cold white walls picks out bright furniture and fittings to create an overall playful and warm feeling without going too far.

4. Back to basics

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Everyone who has drunk coffee in a trendy coffeeshop will instantly recognise the design here. Formerly of the hipster persuasion, this design is all about going back to basics and stripping paint and paper for a bare brick, ‘less-is-more’ approach. Often these cafes and restaurants open in former industrial units and seek to retain that ‘postmodern feel’ as hilariously described in this parody. In this design, little to nothing needs to be done to the cable trays as the metal finish goes well with the concept.

Hopefully, this article will help illustrate that they CAN be stylish when you fully embrace the idea of them. Most good online electrical suppliers stock cable trays, but RS Components offer a wide range of shapes and sizes in varying materials.