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The television can be the source of so many household dilemmas. It’s bad enough when two people can’t agree on what show to watch, but what about when one person doesn’t want to look at the TV at all?

Cabinets were fine in the days when TVs were big and bulky, but with today’s flat screens, hulking furniture pieces don’t make a lot of sense. To keep your screen from feeling like the center of attention in the living room, here are some tips to redirect attention back to your decor, without hiding your TV behind a cabinet.

How to Hide the TV, No Cabinet Required
Eduarda Correa Arquitetura & Interiores, original photo on Houzz


Televisions are decor black holes: When off, the large black surfaces suck up light and draw way too much attention to such an undecorative piece. One of the simplest ways to hide them is to fight fire with fire. Place a TV in front of (or even set into) a very dark wall. This will literally camouflage your screen to the point where you barely notice it at all.

Accomplish the method with stone cladding or inky paint (either as a full accent wall or just the area around the TV. For the ultimate effect, a glossy black wood finish will mimic the sheen of the screen itself for the ultimate in chameleon-like camo.

Media Walls

Modern media centers, rather than full-height cabinets to enclose the TV, often simply surround the TV with a wall of floating shelves to help visually distract from the screen while adding useful storage (which often would be filled with DVDs in the past, but are more often just decorative in the age of streaming).

Positioning the TV asymmetrically within a media wall helps de-emphasize it further, making the wall feel like a composition that includes various items (such as flowers and vases), instead of making the screen the central star of the show.

How to Hide the TV, No Cabinet Required
See Materials Inc., original photo on Houzz

Keeping a Low Profile

So often TVs are installed far too high, as people tend to place them where they look best from a standing position, forgetting that they will actually be viewed while sitting down. Placing your TV at a proper low angle helps take your eyes off it the rest of the time, especially if you tuck it under some shelves painted in a fun hue. Dark floors or a dark rug will help it visually sink away into the ground where it won’t be noticed until it’s TV time.


To take a less hypermodern approach, place a TV in a full bookshelf system (rather than free-floating minimalist shelves) to create a more transitional look. Encasing the TV in custom framing helps it blend even further into the casework, so only the essential screen is visible (and not shiny brand names).

Keep in mind that a frame will block the remote receiver, so you may need a device to reroute the signal from a receiver tucked on a nearby shelf.

Again, asymmetry can be your friend here, as placing the TV off to one side in a wide bookcase or pair of cases will keep it from feeling like the visual focal point. Depending on the furniture arrangement, this can also leave a TV well-positioned to be watched from a sectional sofa or favorite chair, even if it’s off-center from some of the other seats.

How to Hide the TV, No Cabinet Required
LexMcMillan Architects Ltd, original photo on Houzz

Competing Focal Points

Whether a TV is placed in the center of a wall or not, it will still be a large punch of black in your color scheme. You can try to ignore it (which won’t make it go away), or you can embrace it, adding black in other items to help balance out the look.
This room includes some sizable black artwork, a black chest of drawers and the dark fireplace, which helps keep the TV from being a visual standout.

How to Hide the TV, No Cabinet Required
Quezada Architecture, original photo on Houzz

Don’t forget that we see rooms in 3D, and not just as a series of separate walls. Sometimes the best way to balance out a TV is by putting something with a similar visual weight on the opposite side of the room, like this dark bookshelf.

Blocking Sight Lines

While it may not seem practical to place items in front of the TV to block it (after all, it is meant to be seen at least some of the time), keep in mind that the TV doesn’t necessarily need to be hidden from all angles. A chair placed between you and the TV will hide it (at least partially) when people are traversing the hallways and passing by, so the screen is at least hidden when you aren’t plopped down on the sofa.

Note that pushing a TV into the back of a deep bookshelf will similarly minimize it from many angles, making this technique doubly effective.

How to Hide the TV, No Cabinet Required
Sarah Greenman, original photo on Houzz

Hiding in a Crowd

Gallery walls are an enduring trend, so why not take advantage of this style and hide your TV in plain sight among a crowd of paintings or framed photos? Use artwork with black frames, and even consider mixing in some other items (such as plaques or busts) to create a full-on mixed-media installation.

This works especially well if some of the pieces are as large or even larger than the TV. The unusual square piece in the upper left draws attention away from the TV, and the other little pieces keep the eye moving around.

You can also simply lean a few pieces against the wall on top of a TV unit, which can be a great way to try out the look if you aren’t ready to commit yet. It carries a relaxed appeal that works with modern or traditional spaces — especially a casual cottage.

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