Rebekah Zaveloff, Houzz
Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish.
A Houzz reader recently asked, “How do you decorate the wall around a flat screen TV?” It’s a popular question. For years, a primary task of a designer has been to play Hide the TV. When the flat-screen television arrived, I remember the relief and joy! Finally — an end to huge furniture pieces attempting to hide the eyesore of the living room. Homeowners had no problem embracing the flat screen, even with the hefty price tag. But as the novelty faded, many found their flat screen as challenging to decorate around as their old tube TV. Whether you have a fireplace to contend with or not, arranging a room around the big black rectangle can be a struggle. Here are 5 ways to pull it off.
Add a bit of black
Unfortunately, the big shiny black box that is the flat screen TV just dominates a room. In more traditionally decorated rooms, and when white trim is involved, one solution is to have other black accents and accessories. Here the TV is over a dark stone fireplace; along with the darker brown floors, it helps ground the room. These elements and the black accents in the pillows and side table help to bounce your eye around the room and balance the black hole of the tv.
Tip: Even though there’s symmetry with the two yellow chairs and the two urns on the mantle, the asymmetry of tall shelving on the left and the lower cabinet on the right help to fill the room with texture and interest. This helps to diminish the TV as a focal point.
Here’s another traditional living room with the TV directly over the fireplace. Again, a bit of black around the firebox helps to balance the floating black rectangle. The dark trim around the windows gives balance to the lights and darks in this room as well. Giving the eye something to latch on to and go from object to object really helps. Color is often a unifying element, but in this case, it’s the dark tones.
Tip: Be careful not to hang your TV too high or you’ll feel like you’re in the front row of a movie theater. Lower mantles are better when installing a TV over a fireplace.
Camouflage with a dark color
Still not loving how much the black shiny rectangle jumps off the wall? Camouflage your TV with a background wall of black, brown, navy, charcoal gray — any dark color of your choosing. This room takes it all the way with the black stone fireplace and ebony floors. I especially love the recessed niche with what appears to be a moulding detail on the inside.
Draw attention to something else in the room
The stunning mirror over the vintage fireplace steals the show in this living room. The TV is set off to the side, giving it secondary importance.
Tip: There’s no need to put all eyes on the TV when arranging furniture in a room, especially if it’s your living room. Even if the sofa faces the TV, a few occasional side chairs that act as if they’re ignoring the TV help take the focus away.
If you have modern space, make the fireplace more of a focal point by tiling it to the ceiling.
Fill in the space
Books, accessories and pictures around this TV make the screen practically invisible.
Tip: If you don’t have built-in shelving to fill in with books, just pack your wall with art and photography.
My number-one pet peeve is a TV that floats on a wall with nothing under it. I don’t mind if it’s over a fireplace, because that helps to ground it, but a floating TV reminds me of a hospital or bar — not desirable looks for a living room. Even when the TV is mounted to the wall, adding a console or media cabinet helps to fill in the space. Add a few artfully placed objects and you’re done.
A few floating shelves and a cabinet below help to fill this wall with texture, color and interest other than the TV.
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