Q: The townhouse that my boyfriend and I are renting has a “place” for the TV above a gas fireplace we use for heat. The room is small, and we don’t like feeling like we are looking at the ceiling watching our shows. Instead, we have our old TV in an antique style “secretary” desk with doors that close up when we’re not watching. Now our new TV won’t fit. Honestly, I never liked opening and closing those doors, but I also don’t want the TV to take over our whole living room. What can we do to avoid this?
A: TVs are a major part of our lives, both in the amount of time we watch and in their physical presence in our homes. That doesn’t mean your TV has to take over anything, though. You can incorporate a TV into any decor and enjoy your favorite shows. It doesn’t have to be just a giant shiny black rectangle on an airy white wall.
Any room should have a primary focal point, and traditionally the fireplace was the center of most living rooms. In many homes, a fireplace still is a strong selling point and why wouldn’t it be? They’re big, beautiful, dramatic, and interesting — all aspects you want for a good focal feature. But as TVs became bigger, no one wanted their TV to be an afterthought. So placing the TV near or above the fireplace seemed to be a no-brainer to share the focus of the room.
Today, it seems less important to hide the TV than it used to be, but it still needs to work with your decor and be comfortable to watch. So figure out where you want to sit first, then determine what would be a good eye level. Do you like to lie down to watch, or sit with your feet up? Do you have kiddos who like to watch from the floor? Do you need to see the TV from another room, such as the kitchen? How much additional equipment do you have?
Once you decide the location, camouflage the TV a little more by creating a wall with less contrast. A darker wood-tone cabinet, bookcase, bench, or low table will help, or paint the wall behind the TV a darker paint color. Or, include your TV as a part of a collage by adding black-and-white photos or bold artwork in dark or black frames next to and above the TV. Shelves with books and artful treasures around the TV will also create a stronger composition.
And remember to create a seating arrangement that works for the rest of your lifestyle as well. Other chairs, a bench, floor pillows, and seating options that aren’t pointed to the TV will make your living room just as great for conversation and living.