Surround sound speakers for your home theater are awesome until you have to figure out where to run the wires. This article offers some practical advice on several ways to go about hiding those wires, including my own installation as an example.
Watching movies in surround sound in your own living room is great. You can't even call it a home theater unless your living room is surrounded by speakers. The only problem is that those speakers need to be connected by wires that are on the opposite side of the room from your surround receiver, and some people (like my wife) don't want speaker wires running all over the living room. This article will give you some tips and advice on how to properly run those wires without making your living room look tacky.
Wireless surround speakers, which would be the speakers that go on your rear or side walls, seem like a pretty good idea. The problem with them is that they need a power source, and I've seen some that actually require an AC outlet. What the point of calling it 'wireless' if you still have to plug it in? It's either that or batteries. There's also the problem of signal interference and sound quality degradation. For the money you'd spend on a good set of wireless speakers, you could get a great set of wired speakers. Personally, I don't think wireless speaker technology is quite where it needs to be, but I wanted to get that concept out of the way for the purpose of this article.
The best way to run the wires for surround speakers is, as you might expect, the most difficult. This would involve drilling holes in the wall behind your receiver, then fishing the wires up into the attic and running them over to where you want the speaker to be, then drilling another hole for the wire to come out behind the speaker. You also have to be careful not to run the wire across any electrical cables or risk interference. While this is the best way, it is also the most difficult and slightly dangerous depending on how much you know or don't know about drilling holes in walls. If you have the goods to do it this way, then go for it.
The Easy Way
The second best way to run the wires for surround speakers is to use crafty methods of hiding the wires behind objects in the room. Carpet is easiest to work with, since you can take a flat head screwdriver and hide the wires between the carpet and molding at the bottom of the wall. This way you can hide the wire all the way around to wherever you need it to go up to the speaker. If you have crown molding, you could run the wires up a corner and then hide them behind the molding, which makes a great hiding space.
Any time you run a wire up a wall, it is best to do so in a corner, then put something in that corner to cover the wire. A tall lamp or ficus tree works great for this. A bookshelf or something similar is also very good. To hold the wires in place, you could use double-sided tape or putty, or small brackets meant just for the purpose, and you can always paint over wires to match your walls. It doesn't take much work to hide the wire so that nobody would notice them at first glance.
In my own living room, I used a doorframe to hide one wire and a window to hide the other. All I did was run the speaker wires between the carpet and the wall until they go to the point where they needed to go up to the speaker. Since one speaker is right above the corner of my front door, I just ran the wire around the outside of the door frame and held it in place with small pieces of double-sided tape. You can't even see the wire there when looking directly at the door. At the window, I just ran the wire along the edge of the window frame, between the wall and the blinds, then used the top of the blinds to hide the wire. The other rear speaker is located right above the window.