Practical, attractive and inexpensive solutions to disguising or hiding that TV that we love so much.
Hiding TV’s can be like trying to hide a bad haircut with a worse wig.
Like this guy. He’s bald and sure, that’s not the #1 choice in hair genetics, but this Prince Albert wig isn’t exactly fooling anyone.
I get it, we don’t want the holy TV to look as important as it actually is to us. We want to be like, ‘Oh yeah, this? This is just our TV that we sometimes watch documentaries on’, even though its the most used piece of electronics we own and has pretty much replaced all conversation in the house. I’m kidding!!
There are a lot of high-tech options that are VERY expensive that technically hide the TV, but i’m actually not super drawn to any of them.
Yes they hide the tv, but they are a fortune for a decent sized TV and obviously cost a lot to install and then your ceiling looks weird, plus i rent so thats never going to happen. Would i do it if someone gave it to me for free and i owned the house? Probably. But due to the cost of it its not a viable solution right now. PLUS your TV is kinda high. (I think they start around $5000)
OR you can buy one of these fairly ugly cabinets where the tv actually lowers into it:
But then YOU’D HAVE TO OWN THAT $2300 PIECE OF FURNITURE!
No offense if you own it, but buying something ugly to hide something less ugly doesn’t seem to be a good option. I’ve shopped around and there are truly no beautiful options of these. Some are better than others and just simple and white, but again, for that price i’m not going for it.
You can put one of these weird mirrors over it:
Great. Now you have a huge generic mirror in a really important place. If there were really beautiful mirrors that could hide TV’s this would be a VERY good option, and i’d be all over that shit. But they all look generic. I actually just did a big search and there are some that are kinda attractive and definitely not ugly BUT they are are expensive and again, style is too important to me to have to look at a huge non-amazing mirror on a wall in our living room In a bedroom or bathroom i think this is a good option, but in the living room i’m less of a fan of it because then it has just too much importance, and i’d rather just look at a tv that’s not trying to be something its not.
So all snobbery aside what do you do to disguise your TV in your main living room? I’ve tried building the cabinets (twice) and i was never really happy with them. They just looked like a box trying to hide a tv.
Here are my 5 best options:
1. Create a wall of art around it to diminish its importance. Incorporate it into a gallery wall. NO, you aren’t hiding it but you are taking the focus off it. I’ve done this A LOT and it works.
It’s there, but so are a bunch of coordinated pieces of art so its not the only thing you are looking at.
This is the solution that i’m doing in my own home and while its not totally genius it will add syle to your house whilst not doing something totally weird and tacky, and at the same time not costing a ton. Just buy art you like, in a specific color palette and surround the TV.
If black is in your color palette then use a lot of black frames and it will make the black of the tv actually work in the space better. Yes, there are white tv FRAMES but the screen is still black when its off. Next tv we’ll buy one of these anyway because at parties you could upload a funny side-show or a pretty colorful photo and at least its interesting and then you get a white frame around the image instead of the black one.
2. Build shelves around the TV again taking the importance off of the TV itself and creating a focal wall that grounds the room.
I really like this option but obviously custom built ins are expensive, so another good option (and what I’ve done before) is to set the TV on top of a credenza and then flank it with two bookcases on either side. It takes up a lot of vertical AND horizontal space, not leaving the tv to be the lonely piece on the wall. I actually think that the above unit is from Ikea and i think its totally fine…you can see that they styled the room with a lot of black to make the tv look coordinated.
Yes. This is good. These people look interesting and their room is totally functional. Of course that built in is amazing and a $5000 carpenter job, but it works really well.
3. Paint or wallpaper the wall a dark color so the TV gets camouflaged in the space.
Yes. That is a VERY good option. Man, why don’t they make navy blue tv’s? This is such a great option.
3. Hide it behind a painting or piece of art:
This is room (below) i designed for the show and while i don’t think it was a perfect solution i think its a pretty good one. Basically i designed a unit that surrounded the mounted TV and then Orlando painted a beautiful painting that was placed on top/in front of it.
Just make sure that the frame is deep enough (like 5 inches) so it fully covers the tv. We used 5″ ‘furring strips’ to build the frame, and then painted it white. We put ours on French cleats, which is a really simple system that makes it easy to take on and off the wall:
I’m very curious how much my former wonderful clients actually take it off and put it back on. If it were me i would only put the artwork up if we had people over, but it looks really, really good when it was covered. It was just a really big piece of art so it was strangely cumbersome.
These people put it on hinges in a shelf behind a piece of art. This works well because it is a smallish tv. If it were bigger then you’d have to have a LOT of clearance to swing out and then there is the problem of where that door goes when you are watching it? Does it stay swung out and stationary? We tried this a few times and it always swung back so then we put a ‘lock’ on the wall to hold it open, but that looked weird. I think you could definitely perfect this system, for sure. But there isn’t something out there that i’ve found that is readymade that i like enough.
This is a pretty good solution. The reason it works is because the art isn’t generic, it looks like decent artwork that looks really good in the space, so its still pretty when closed. Although yes, they are STRANGELY close together.
4. Put a screen in front of it. Mount it on the wall since there is no room for media storage, then find a BEAUTIFUL screen to block it. I’m a massive fan of folding screens and i think they are totally under-used. Don’t buy a boring one that looks generic and will look like you are trying to hide something. Instead go for one that really makes a statement like a piece of art, so it looks really cohesive in the space.
Or if you find a huge one that is worthy of a whole wall (like below) then you can put a couple chairs in front of it and put your sofa opposite it, and then when people are over, BOOM, screen is up and you just look super interesting and risky. Again, it has to be a good screen or you are just giving something else that is kinda ugly a lot of importance in your home.
5. Hang a really large beautiful textile in front of the mounted tv, like artwork. In this case it really has to be vintage or a handmade piece. You don’t want to choose a simple fabric that is just pretty and then give it a ton of importance.
Instead choose a tapestry, vintage suzani or amazing quilt. Something that looks handmade is the key to this looking intentional and not like you threw a bunch of yardage on your wall.
I can’t find any pictures of someone actually hiding a tv behind it, but i truly think it could work. You need to splurge on the hardware that is mounted on the wall, and make sure it looks high end and not a dinky little rod, and don’t do a pocket on top and thread the rod through the fabric, instead attach the fabric to rings so it can slide easily and will look more high end. Lastly make sure that it comes out far enough that it clears the TV. I don’t see why this couldn’t work and be a viable and less expensive option that could look really amazing. You basically treat it like a curtain, open when watching, closed with friends are over.
But i do think that ultimately we can stop being so obsessed with hiding our tv’s and learn to just live with them because its the reality and EVERYONE has one. The amount of effort and money we put into buying those high tech gadgets trying to hiding them might be better served into how to embrace them, disguise them and coordinate them with the rest of the room.
It’s like plastic surgery: unless you have the money to do it right and can go to the best surgeons with the best scalpels, then being comfortable just being yourself is going to look better than a botched facelift.