What can you do with an unsightly router and modem? Hide them in an antique radio cabinet.
Long before we got our entertainment via apps on our phones, radios broadcasting news, music, and entertainment were housed in ornate wood cabinets. Some sat on the floor. Others sat on tabletops.
These radios became obsolete ages ago. Even I’m not old enough to have grown up with an antique radio. I had a boombox with two tape decks AND a CD player. I thought I was so cool. And modern.
I see antique radios at thrift shops somewhat regularly for not a lot of money because no one really wants them. Even if they do work, to put it generously, the sound isn’t great.
Our house happened to come with its own antique radio cabinet, a 1933 Silvertone 7046 made by Sears, Roebuck & Co. The previous owner left it here and I decided that it was an appropriate fit for our home, so I kept it.
Our house was originally built in the 1780s and then added onto over the years. It’s very likely that a family in the 1930s bought one of these radios and gathered around it in the evenings to listen to the news, a baseball game, or one of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Fireside Chats.
We’re a Spotify family. If I wanted to keep this antique radio cabinet it needed to be more than a dust catcher.
One idea lead to another and I decided the antique radio cabinet would be the perfect vessel to hide our router and modem.
Here’s how the antique radio cabinet looked when it became ours.
I can’t speak for all antique radio cabinets that sit on the floor, but the back of ours is a wide-open cavity. It is the perfect spot to stash away our router, modem, and all the cords that come with that setup.
So. Many. Cords.
You could make this project SUPER easy and just cram your router and modem inside the radio cabinet. We did that for a while, in fact, while we tested whether or not this was a good spot for the internet components to go. Can’t have our wifi signal compromised!
It worked out great for us, so we knew we could clean up the cord mess, get the components off the ground, and make better use of the inside of the radio cabinet.
Our plan for organizing all those cords was pretty simple.
First, we left the radio itself in place because we wanted our radio cabinet to still look like a radio.
Second, we removed the speaker. This is probably an unnecessary task for most people converting an antique radio cabinet into a holder for a router and modem because the speaker shouldn’t be in the way.
However, our radio had lost the acoustic covering that hid the speaker. At some point, someone used a colorful needlepoint to cover the speaker opening.
Since we weren’t going to use the radio as a radio and sound was not an issue, we replaced the speaker with a sheet of 1/4-inch plywood that we stained. This gave it a cleaner, more streamlined look than the colorful needlepoint that was originally there.
Third, we ran a shelf along the bottom of the antique radio cabinet to get the router, modem, and power strip off the ground. We left openings on either side of the shelf so that we could run the cords up from the floor and under the cabinet.
If your cords come out of the wall instead of the floor, you might design your shelf differently.
We also made use of the vertical space and attached the modem and the power strip to the sides of the cabinet. If you look at the back of your modem and power strip, they likely have a built-in spot where you can hang them from a screw, nail, or hook.
I admit, our internet setup might be a little more involved than other people’s internet setups.
In addition to our modem and router, we also have a hub for our Google Mesh Network in this cabinet.
Our home’s stone walls can weaken the wifi signal sent solely from a traditional router, even a good one. We use the mesh network to bounce or link our wifi signal around the house.
A mesh network is a really good solution if your home is really large, oddly shaped, or has obstacles (concrete, brick, or stone) that prevent a wifi signal from getting to where you need it to go. It’s also easy to set up and that’s coming from someone who isn’t super techy.
Did we go through a little extra work to turn this antique radio cabinet into a super functional spot to hold our router and modem? Yes.
Was it worth it? 100 percent.
The cord mess is cleaned up.
Our wifi works great.
We created a practical purpose for an obsolete bit of technology.
All three of those things make me very happy.
How do you manage all of your cords? Do you have a clever way of hiding all your internet components? If so, let me know. You can always comment on this blog post, email us here, or reach out via Instagram or Facebook.
P.S. I think this idea is very adaptable. Even if antique radios aren’t your thing, maybe you’ll look at other console cabinets or other vintage items in a new light. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll come up with a modern use for something obsolete.
P.P.S. This is the Google Nest Wifi Mesh Network that we use.
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