How to Hide an Electrical Box
Our electrical consumer unit is in the corner of our living room. Obviously the last thing we wanted was a shiny cabinet on display, so we had to come up with some way of disguising it. Our solution was to box it in with a cabinet, which had the added benefit of providing us with a bit of storage too.
If you’re looking to do something similar, here’s how to do it:
- Start by deciding the material you want to build the cabinet out of. We used high white gloss effect furniture board. It’s around 15mm thick. We also bought a door (as opposed to more furniture panel) for the cabinet too as these have pre-formed edges We also wanted some feature doors so we used solid ash doors which we plained down to the same thickness as the furniture boards. If you’re using wood then it’s worth being aware that wood is very prone to warping. You’ll need to make sure it’s dried properly so that it’s stabilized and doesn’t twist or shrink.
- Sketch out the layout of the cabinet so that you know the size of each panels. We build one large area around the cabinet, followed by two small ones to the right, with a feature shelf in between. We left the cabinet backless with plenty of room around the electrical consumer unit so that an electrician can get to it to work on it, or in case we ever expand the unit (if we get solar panels for example).
- Cut all of your panels to size. Consider where you’re making your cuts and edges: you’ll be able to add iron on strips to the edges to give the panels a ‘finished’ look, but they’ll never look as good as the actual edges that the panels come with, so wherever possible try and make sure you have the good edge on show, and hide the bad edge. Make sure your tools are sharp too, you don’t want to be using a blunt blade as you’ll get a terrible finish on the cut.
- Consider how it’ll fit around skirting. We have a double panel on one side so that it’s flush to the wall, but so the doors still open without hitting the skirting.
- Connect the panels – all of our joints were glued and doweled, but we added L-shaped furniture brackets inside to add extra strength.
- Before you secure it in place, consider what you’ll have on top of the cabinet. We have a Google home and a lamp on ours, both of which have wires running into the cabinet. As it’s in the corner, we have a hole in the back corner to feed these through, but if you were building a cabinet that would sit in the middle of a wall then you could always make a semi-circle shape in the middle at the back.
- You could stand your cabinet on the floor, or you could also give it ‘feet’. We added small ones to the middle of our unit as we preferred it to have a ‘floating’ appearance.
- Secure brackets to the back of the cabinet to fasten it to the wall so children can’t pull it over.
- Think about your handles. We wanted ours to look minimal, so we have push fit openings but obviously traditional handles would be an easy fix too.
- Consider whether you need to keep the cabinet extra secure. We have two young kids in the house and we don’t want them being able to get anywhere near the electrical unit. To prevent this, we have a magnetic child proof lock so that they can’t get through the door. It sits on top of the unit so we have it near by for when we need it.
- And finally if you want to fill the cabinet with electrical appliances that generate heat, be mindful that they might overheat and it would be wise to build a vent into the cabinet.
It’s really important to be aware that under no circumstances should you ever remove the front cover of your consumer unit.
Have you had to make furniture to hide things in your own home? Do you have any quirky solutions?