If there is one question we get asked more than anything it might be, “how do I work my TV into the design of my room”? And for very good reason. The TV is something that so many people want to have easy access to, yet they don’t want to see a massive screen on their wall every day. Beyond that, having your TV out in your living room/family room/bedroom in a very visible area might mean it is the first thing you turn on when anyone walks into the room and although we do love a good binge on netflix or a good juicy episode of the Bachelor, there are times when we wish it was a bit more “out of site, out of mind”.
So, we decided to do our research and pull together a few solutions for you. And, while there is no simple answer or solution to this massive TV-epidemic, there are some answers…. which is what we have on the blog for you today. So let’s get into it and talk about all the different ways that your TV can still exist within your room without it dominating it.
First and foremost let’s talk about a TV that has changed the “designing around your tv” game and made it much, much easier and far more beautiful. If you are new here or missed our collaboration last year where we designed four spaces around this TV then head back to those posts (greenhouse, boathouse, barge, and barn) to read more about each project but in short, this TV basically looks like a high-end piece of framed art on your wall and can act as one as well when it is not in TV mode. I mean, do you even notice it up there mixed in with all those art pieces?!
We photoshopped it above here (as it wasn’t quite yet available when we were doing this project) so that you could see what it would have looked like in Design Milk’s family room, but the frame of the TV comes in either a white, walnut, or black frame and with the way that it is constructed it doesn’t hang out from the wall and instead hugs the wall closely like any other piece of art would. Not only is it beautiful but it makes the TV appear far less like a TV when it is not in use so that you don’t have a big black box hanging on your wall.
It can live on its stand like it does above in the shot, or you can surround it with other pieces of art like they did in these gallery walls below. These shots are making a pretty compelling case for this TV and show you how easy it is to work it into your decor so that you have the TV right where you want it without anyone actually seeing a massive black box.
But, we get that not everyone is ready to purchase a brand new TV, nor does this specific TV work within everyone’s budget which brings us to our next solution.
The good ol’ hide your TV in a gallery wall trick. The concept is pretty straightforward, and although it has been done time and time again, it works which is why so many people still do it. We did it in Cup of Joe’s living room which was the first picture in this post and although we did place the TV in front of the gallery wall versus working it into the arrangement, the concept is the same in the fact that it helps to visually break up the black lines of the TV against a stark wall.
Above they treated the TV as if it was a piece of art and worked all the other pieces around it, playing the visual trick on your eye that the TV is part of the art wall.
Either way you do it, the art around the TV will help to not only fill the wall so that the TV doesn’t stand out as much, but it will also help to create some visual interest behind the TV which will distract from the black box that is staring at you.
Built in to a Bookshelf:
If you do have the resources, budget, or possibility of building your TV into your bookshelf then this is one of the best ways that we can suggest to help hide it.
Although it doesn’t totally disappear it is far less obvious than a massive TV that the room is focused around, and it also helps visually hide it if it is tucked back into a shelf a bit. A tip with this: you can install the TV on a long mount that pulls out from the wall quite a bit, which will allow you to pull it out and tilt whichever you want when you do want to watch and then you can tuck it back into the shelf when you aren’t watching.
Not only does this bookcase help to ground the TV but by adding in a few hits of black in the styling around the TV it helps pepper the color throughout the bookshelf again making it appear less visually heavy.
Hidden in the Wall:
If you want to take it one step further than the bookcase option then there are a few different options for completely covering the TV with a set of doors and building it into the wall or a piece of cabinetry. The image above shows a room that has a large TV above the fireplace but that is covered with two simple bifold doors which completely covers it up but still allows the room to enjoy the TV when and if they need it.
This room above got very custom with their TV cabinet and had the TV installed so that it could not only be covered but so that it could slide out and offer some storage in there as well for DVD’s and CD’s (remember those?!) And below they show how you can build it in and house it to the side of your fireplace behind some doors allowing it again to be totally hidden away when not in use. The age-old dilemma of “do we have a TV in our living room has been solved”. But… we’ve got more for you.
Sliding Doors or Art:
This solution leans a bit more modern and minimal in its approach but is the same concept as above. Here they mounted the TV behind a large sliding door which allows you to cover it when you don’t want it in use, and then if you do want to watch you can slide the doors to the side opening up the TV to the room.
Below they took it one step further by having the “sliding door” be a piece of art. Would this work in everyone’s home? Probably not, and it does work best here in a more modern setting but the concept and idea is a good one and something that could be applied to a room that leans more modern or in a house where you are able to build the TV into the design from the get-go.
Hidden in Furniture:
Remember when Brady redid his bedroom and showed us all how to repurpose a vintage hutch into what now holds his TV?
His TV is housed in this vintage MCM hutch that he found on Chairish and then to make it work for his space, the TV is mounted on a long arm which allows it to be pulled out and tilted towards the bed for viewing. When he is done he can push it back in, close the doors and keep everything (including all the cords) confined and concealed. He talks about it a bit more in his bedroom reveal post HERE. The same concept is applied below where they mounted a small TV inside an old secretary desk. A pretty great solution for those of you looking to completely cover it up and don’t have the ability to build something into your walls.
Hide on Dark Wall:
So, this next trick is something that we came along when we started doing some research, but from the visual proof below it seems to work pretty well. The idea is – make the TV less obvious by mounting it on a wall or surface that is the same tone as the TV, thus making it disappear into the wall.
Amber Lewis made a pretty compelling case for it here where she mounted it on a black tiled fireplace which visually makes the TV a lot less noticeable than it would have been had it been on a bright white surface like the rest of the walls in the house.
Here they used the trick but also balanced out the black on the fireplace and the cubby area to the right with its black shelves, chair and desk legs which really helps it to feel visually equal on both sides of the fireplace.
In our research for this post we also came across a few other options that although we didn’t find enough examples of to create their own category, we did think they were pretty helpful and were worth showcasing to you.
Above they used a set of curtains that were installed in front of the TV so that when they weren’t watching it they could pull the curtains below and voila – no TV anymore.
We’ve been seeing the idea above for quite a few years where you mount the TV to an art easel (which some companies now make specifically for TVs), but this one is a good option that showcases how it can be used in this space without feeling too heavy or jarring. Just be sure to turn the TV to a channel that has an old western movie on it right before your friends come over so that it blends with your decor like they did here 😉
This one is SUCH a simple solution and we love it. In this space, they mounted the TV on the wall and then used a vintage school pull-down map to cover it up. Keep the map pulled out when you don’t want to watch TV and when you do want to watch, just pull it closed so that you can see the TV.
And last but not least, these two options really only work if you have a new-build planned or are totally going to remodel, but we love how integrated these TVs have become into the decor. Basically, they built a false wall out from the drywall and then housed the TV behind that wall to conceal it. When they need to watch TV they can open it up but when they don’t, it can easily disappear into the wall.
And last but very not least, we have rounded up some of our very favorite media consoles on the market for those of you that may not necessarily want to disguise your TV and are fine having it out and in the open. With all of these, we checked to make sure that there was a hole in the back to allow for cords to come out of the console, and also that all of them have some sort of closed storage for you to stash your different devices behind. Let us know if you have any questions on any of the solutions above, and if any of you have tried the consoles we’ve rounded up let us know below in the comments.
1. Dang Low and Long | 2. Oberlin | 3. Metalwork Media | 4. Clad 3 Door | 5. Tamboured | 6. Windham Large | 7. Geometric Triple Door | 8. Kasse | 9. Antwerp | 10. Wooden Oval | 11. Aura Large | 12. Seno Walnut | 13. Rigby | 14. Darryl Carter Hampden | 15. Spencer 3 Drawer | 16. Modern Console | 17. Line Media | 18. Mostorp | 19. Shale 2 Drawer | 20. Mid-Century Console | 21. Audrey | 22. Blake Grey Wash | 23. Amherst Mid-Century Modern | 24. Stratford | 25. Workstead Beech Wood | 26. Modernist Wood + Lacquer | 27. Forma | 28. Posner | 29. Reflect Rattan | 30. Andrej | 31. Windham | 32. Ethnicraft Oak | 33. Allure | 34. Kersh | 35. Stockholm | 36. Stockholm
Hi. Great post! Where are the sound bars/speakers in the setups with the Samsung Frame TV? Thanks!
I love these! I much as I love The Frame TV, we already have 5 TVs in a house with 2 people so I just can’t justify the purchase. We are planning a fairly large kitchen remodel and can hopefully do the fireplace at the same time. Our plan is to make the wall section to the left of the fireplace charcoal so the TV blends better and the fireplace wall isn’t just 2 black boxes.
I love the wall mounted TV behind the pull down map, but I don’t know if a map works with my room décor. I have a woven rug that I’ve wanted to hang as a tapestry in there for a while and now I’m trying to figure out if I could rig it in front of the TV somehow. The map works so well because it’s designed to roll up, but I think there’s gotta be a way to make this work.
Can you have someone make your tapestry into a ‘folding blind’? That way, if deliberately made into a type of curtain it looks good both up and down.
Roman shade – that was the term I was looking for.
Good Suggestion – thanks!
I like the tapestry idea. If the TV is near a wall, you could put the tapestry on a swing arm to move it out of the way to view TV.
some great ideas but it’s funny how many of the set ups aren’t conducive for watching TV. The sofas and chairs aren’t facing the TV! You’d have to twist around or lean over to see the screen.
Is there a rule of thumb for how high a TV should be mounted above your media console? Our console is fairly low so my boyfriend mounted the TV 19 inches above the console, SMACK in the middle of the wall, and it’s driving me nutty that it’s so high above our console. Would you suggest we move it down?
The best rule of thumb to mounting your TV is to have the center of the screen at eye level when you are seated in front of it. This not only looks the best but it will keep your eyes and neck from straining when you watch. Lower consoles are ideal for this since most of us have pretty large TVs. Mount your tv so the center of the screen is around 40″-42″ from the floor. The bottom of the TV should be about 6″-10″ above your console. Hope this helps!
I just did an art ledge above my tv and it’s a similar effect as the bookcase around the tv, without the financial commitment or floor space. Basically, it distracts your eye away from the tv and makes the tv feel recessed a bit. I used to have a gallery around it, but needed a change.
Such a good idea!!
I’d love to see this. I have been considering this idea. Could you post a link?
I’ve been looking for a media console! It’s hard finding options narrow enough for my old, tiny home, but some of these look like possibilities!
We purchased a vintage credenza / buffet. Looks great! You can also use a dresser. But you have to consider where the dvd player, speakers, etc. are going to go. We drilled a hole in the back for the electronics and have to keep the doors open when using the receiver or dvd player.
I, too, have an old tiny home, and the only place for the TV is wedged in the corner. I have the Mid-Century one from West Elm (#20) in white, and it fits perfectly and holds a ton of DVDs and other stuff. Highly recommend!
Super, super helpful!! And it’s nice to see some ideas that I’ve never come across before — the pull-down map! the curtains! painting the bookcase/wall black! And even better is that those ideas don’t cost an arm and a leg. You guys rock.
I noticed that you didn’t mention a projector? I know its not a physical TV so I guess thats why it is not on here? Love all these solutions!
Yes! Agree! This is such a cool option: https://abeautifulmess.com/2017/02/project-projector-why-we-traded-in-our-tv-for-a-projector-at-home.html
Ha! I actually could. not. find. the TV in the photo where it is hidden in the black bookcase to the left of the black fireplace and black upper shelves above the desk. Definitely filing the black paint tip away for future use after seeing it executed so beautifully.
Any chance you know where that fabulous green media console could be found?
I love this post. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! So many designers don’t cover this very real option, or they say something high brow like the focus should be on life in the living room instead of television. I get that and I hope to get to that place some day but right now I need to know how I can watch Netflix without sacrificing style, so thanks Em!
I’m one of these people who just doesn’t give a fig about seeing a tv in a real room where real people live. Most people have and watch them. I just can’t see jumping through hoops to conceal it. I like the black wall, gallery wall and bookshelf options because the tvs are integrated into the room design. The , curtain, poster, false wall options are all seem a bit silly and try hard to me.
I agree–I don’t get how it could be that big of a deal…but I can see if I’d hired a designer how I would want him/her to do their best to conceal it. I get concerned with all these expensive built in options, though. My parents had a GIANT expensive media cabinet which perfectly held their (big at the time) tube TV–then when big flat screens got cheap, that nice piece of furniture more or less to waste. I get cold feet when purchasing furniture or designing a fixture for technology that changes rapidly like TVs. Who would have ever thought 10 years ago how big and cheap they would be now! What kind of craziness are we going to have in a few years?
This is INCREDIBLE helpful! Thank you so muc for all the great ideas!
I love the gallery wall idea and have it filed away for “one day”. For now, we live in a 700 sq foot apartment in Boston and were lucky that the tenant before us left this now discontinued Ikea Expedit which has a cutout for the TV! We have the black one, so the tv basically disappears! I get so many compliments and always have to tell people it’s discontinued 🙁
I have been shopping for media consoles online lately. thanks for this great list!
Any suggestions for how to decorate around a TV in the corner?! The TV has to go in the corner or it will block a doorway, but I’m at a loss at what to do around it. Most corner TV cabinets are ugly (if anyone knows of a non-ugly one please let me know) and a gallery wall in the corner seems weird. So right now we just have a giant black box shoved in the corner all by itself, taunting me. Someone help!
Deuce Cities Henhouse just posted a day or two ago about a corner TV in their vacation cabin. She created a corner unit for underneath the TV using floating cabinets, I think – anyway she shows the whole thing. Good luck!
Bethany, Alison over at the Henhouse did a post on it this very week. Good luck.
Thank you! That solution is a lot better all the others I’ve seen. I like that she included a google image search of all the terrible corner media cabinets, ha!
I have an odd placed tv and this really helps me visualize what to do. THANK YOU!
Thank you!! I am in need of a low long closed storage unit for under a picture window and didn’t even know where to start looking. Three of your options are huge contenders!
Now the real question is – how do you make a sound bar or speakers look decent?? (Sonos really needs to come out with the sound bar in white…)
This is what I am struggling with too. I didn’t see a speaker or sound bar in any of the images. Where do people put them?
Great roundup! I have had #22 from crate and barrel for almost two years and it is one of my all time favorite pieces. You never have to open the doors to control the cable/dvd/game system. It works perfectly and everything is out of sight. It is the second time in my life I bought a full price piece of furniture and I do not regret it. I think the height of the piece also makes it really versatile. so it could be used as a sideboard and not just a media console. I think you used it in an office for a client.
Loved this, but would love even more to see your ideas on what to do with all the media components, like cable box, apple tv etc
We are in the market for a new tv, which we unfortunately have to mount above the fireplace. I thought the Frame was the answer but the hubby wants a soundbar, which pretty much negates any “it’s a piece of art” vibes. Please please – some examples with actual TV and audio equipment installed would be really helpful!
Question for Emily: When are we getting an update on what you’re doing with your TV and that former TV room-turned-playroom? That curtain idea above reminded me of the curtain idea you started to do in that room. Can’t wait to see an update…
Kelly Hoppen had a solution which I’ve seen a few times. Black mirror glass attached to the wall as a floor to ceiling column with the tv mounted on top- cables in the wall, obvs.
This post could not have came at a better time. I was just looking for a console.
This post is very timely since I just refinished some cabinets I found on Craigslist for TV/media components. Just moving all of the components to the new cabinet was a big project. We like our TV, movies, music and games and we’re cable TV cord cutters, so there’s a lot of stuff. Those cabinets hold a PC for media & DVR, surround sound, turntable, CD player, stereo receiver, 3 game consoles, tape deck, and more! I don’t mind having the TV out in the open, but having all the components tucked away in a cabinet is definitely necessary.
The last thing we did was to consolidate our remote controls, and it’s been MAGICAL. We got a Logitech Harmony 650 remote and now I have one remote control for everything, instead of using 3 or 4, and the coffee table is a lot less cluttered. It did take us almost 3 hours to get everything 100% working but we have a lot of devices. You can DIY or you can pay Amazon $100 to set everything up. Highly recommend!
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Great post — I’m interested in learning tips on how to style a mantle with a tv. We have ours hung above the fireplace as it’s really the only place, and the house was wired that way. The problem is, I’m just not sure what to do with the mantle itself — I’ve tried a few photos, but they look awkward, have thought books and candlesticks, but unsure how. Would love to see a mantle styling roundup, with tv’s thrown in the mix sometime!
I was reluctant to read this post because I’m generally frustrated by the “same old” suggestions. Well done! Organized, well written, and a great range of ideas for different decorating issues and budgets. Thank you!
THIS is the post I’ve been hoping for! Every single idea for the TV is great, and the consoles are terrific! Thank you!
Thank you for all of the GREAT ideas Emily. We are planning on moving out of state this year and purchasing a new home. I am definitely going to incorporate one or two of these ideas into my decorating scheme. We will most likely have TV’s in our family room, bedroom and guest rooms so I will be pouring over this post over and over again in the coming months.
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I Craig’s listed 20 almost a year ago and I still love it. It’s just a beautiful, simple piece.
I’m using Internet Explorer and the picture of the roundup doesn’t load, just a blank space on the page. Any idea why?
What Options do you have when your tv is standing In a corner of the living room?