If there is a suspiciously large, flat, rectangular TV-shaped package under your tree, you may be about to encounter a new decorating dilemma for Christmas. OR maybe you finally caved and purchased one for a family member who wants to watch the Super Bowl in gloriously large detail. You are not alone. Nearly every household these days has more televisions than occupants, and how to integrate them into the décor is always an exercise in creative problem solving. The huge screens where a close up results in teeth that are, terrifyingly, the size of a small toddler are baffling to me, but they are still in demand and so let me offer some ideas to help solve the problem of decorating around a TV.
First, let’s take a moment to be grateful that advances in technology have allowed for televisions that are mere inches thick and can be hung on a wall or mounted in/on a fairly shallow piece of furniture. It was not so long ago that they also hogged an incredible amount of floor space as well as wall space.
Now many will argue that televisions are perfectly wonderful out in plain sight and there is no reason to pretend we don’t have them. While I agree we shouldn’t pretend they don’t exist, when it is off, a television is just a large black rectangle. And there is nothing more soulless than a big black rectangle on a wall by itself.
Here are 5 ways to incorporate a television into the décor of your room
Create a Gallery Wall
One solution is to incorporate the television into a gallery wall. Surrounding it with interesting art and accent pieces that also contain some black gives it some friends and makes for a more inviting view. Be sure at least some of the pieces are large enough in scale to stand up to the size of the TV.
Camouflage with Paint
No, not paint ON the TV…paint on the wall behind it. If your architecture and room style works for it, painting the wall the TV is on a dark color helps blend the large black rectangle into its surroundings…(I’m hearing that sentence in a National Geographic documentary voice in my head!) …kind of the same way it works in nature with chameleons.
Hide it in a piece of furniture
Another possibility is to mount the TV in a piece of furniture or custom built-in in order to surround it with some interesting millwork and shelving and with doors that cover it when it is off. Pieces designed for this also might have lower cabinets for other components with screen type panels in the doors that allow easy use of the remote. There are even cabinets/chests where the TV rises up on a motorized lift system at the touch of a remote for viewing. This is an especially nice option for a room without a blank wall big enough to house the TV. These types of cabinets could be placed at the foot of a bed or under a window, for example.
Hide it behind artwork or decorative panels
It is often necessary to mount the TV over the fireplace so that the furniture can all be oriented toward those two competing focal points in the room. If you are creating a fireplace surround that will also house a TV, be sure the width of the firebox plus stone surround is at least as wide as the television or the whole thing will look out of balance and top heavy. Also, consider creating a recessed niche for the television so you can accommodate an arm to tilt and lower the screen for an optimal viewing angle. A recessed niche for the TV would work without a fireplace too! Decorative sliding panels, shutters, or doors comprised of artwork can conceal the TV when it is off.
Other creative options include hinged decorative mirror panels, or a retractable tapestry like this brilliant solution by Houston designer Kara Childress as shown on Joni Webb’s blog, Cote de Texas. I pinned this image years ago, but I still think it is an intriguing solution to use a retractable textile as a TV cover.
And I’m sure there are people who will use the ubiquitous sliding barn doors as well…I’d recommend that particular solution be used only for TV’s that are actually located in a barn or carriage house.
Hide it in plain sight
Televisions are now available with frames and with mirrors or artwork displayed when they are not in use to combat the soulless black hole look. This is, by far, the cleanest and best solution for a wall hung TV and, I suspect, the wave of the future. If wall space is short, there are TV easels available to display your TV/art. And if you can’t be away from a television…ever…you can even get a bathroom vanity mirror with a TV built in that is only visible when it is on - allowing you to brush your teeth while you catch the morning news shows.
When you are mounting a TV on a wall, make plans for the wiring and cables. They can be concealed in the wall, or camouflaged with strategically located furniture and accessories. Also, be aware of the side view. Consider adding something to camouflage the gap created by an articulating arm assembly if you need one to adjust the viewing angle, or even just the thickness of the television, mounting hardware, and plug. Wall sconces, buffet lamps, and plants can all be helpful for this and are nice finishing details to include in any arrangement.
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