How to Hide a Wall Phone Jack

Lorna Hordos

With the cellphone boom came the landline lag, turning exposed wall-phone jacks into unattractive "fossils."

Hide the jack under an antique phone -- one in working condition or not.

But if you think you don't need that rectangular telephone receptacle, think again: For starters, personal response services sometimes require hardwired telephones, and it doesn't hurt to have a corded phone on hand for power outages or cell-service interruptions. So rather than removing the phone's wiring and patching the hole with drywall, find ways to hide this outdated but sometimes necessary device with furniture, accessories or color.

Eye Level Ideas

Typically, wall-phone jacks are installed so that the bottom of the phone sits 58 inches from the floor -- about 1.5 feet higher than the bottom of standard light switches. This means that, unlike light switches, phone jacks stare average-height folks in the face. Eye level, however, is the ideal height for artwork, making your job easy: Simply find a fitting piece of art to hang over the jack. Alternatives to art include mirrors, framed photos and corkboards.

Hidden in Phone Sight

Honor telecommunications technology by hiding the jack under an antique phone -- all the better if the vintage device is rewired and in working condition. A non-working boxy wood phone acts as a marker for locating the jack -- if it's needed -- and, working or not, such a piece makes a great conversation starter. If you like, go for a feature wall, showing off a historical collection of telephone styles over the decades, or simply mount three or five old phones to create a waggish focal point -- similar to a wall of clocks set to different time zones.

Accessible Receptacle

You might want to shove a tall, enclosed-back bookcase in front of the jack, and then load the shelves with contents, but, if someday you need to plug in a landline telephone, you'll have trouble accessing the receptacle. Instead, hang a wall-mounted storage basket or small bin system in front of the jack. The right bin or basket might have slots for mail, magazines and the phone itself. Shadow boxes, wall cubes, curio cabinets or open-back bookshelves are other options.

Paint It in

Basically, a phone jack has a cover plate with a small hole. Likely, it's white or beige, which is fine, if your walls are white, beige, off-white or a pale color. If they're dark or bright, however, the plate can be as annoying to look at as a bad ring tone is to listen to. You might be surprised by how well a couple of coats of paint camouflage it. Remove the plate, abrade it slightly with sandpaper, and brush it with primer and a couple coats of the wall's paint color -- or a similar shade. Return the cover to the wall, and forget it's there.