Dealing with a TV in your living room

Posted on Tue, 13 Nov 2007 by KiM

David, who has a 32″ flat screen TV, sent us an email about a design dilemma he has and it goes a little something like this: “Why does it seem that no one in the magazines or design sites has a TV? We have a micro-sized house with one living area. We like to watch movies every now and then on our couch in said living room, but we don’t want the TV to be the focal point of the room. We feel like a grouping could be done that would minimize the impact of the TV while still having it across from the couch, but I can find no inspiration in magazines or online to help me find the answer I seek.”

I personally think flat screen TVs are kind of nice to look at and don’t need to be distracted from, but hey, I see David’s point. My favourite is when the TV is positioned in a convenient place in the room in terms of design aesthetics, but you can’t view it easily from any given chair or couch. I saw this exact scenario this afternoon on an old episode of Home to Stay. Gimme a break people!!! So I went digging around my photo stash and came up with some photos to help David and anyone else out there with this common problem. Hope this helps. (I added a photo of my living room – I found that by filling the wall around the TV with photos, the TV was way less obvious.)

kontakt Magazine Christopher Gaona
Form Architecture Domino
Studio Ilse Kenneth Brown
Robyn Karp BKSK Architects
fernlund + logan architects Jerry Jacobs
The Lawrence Group Pappas Miron
PointClickHome Domino
Nicholas Haslam my living room

court. says:

I’m having the same dilemma. Our TV is a honking 50-something inches (notice, I have no idea-a total man-purchase) and dominates our living room. These are some great examples of how to blend these monsters into the room. Thank you!

Mélanie says:

I hate TV screen and it is hard to deal with it ..the solution : to live without TV ..isn’t it simple

I'm sorry I can't post a picture on the blog (it's scanned and I have no reference) but here's a link to a tv solution I love. The tv is recessed and the recorder is in the hinged drawer below.

David says:

Wonderful! These are great. Some of them (Karp, Brown) I actually had to look for a bit to find the TV. Lessons learned: 1) Group furniture so that not all seating faces the TV. 2) Use accessories (art, lamps, books, candles, furniture, animal heads, etc.) on the same wall to make the TV seem like an accessory of the room rather than its purpose. Check.

Thanks so much. -The David

These are all very visually appealing ways to deal with what can be an eyesore. How can you achieve a similar aesthetic with a non-flat screen TV? I think it’s more challenging to make a box look like a piece of art than a relatively two dimensional piece you can hand on a wall, chimney, etc.

Thanks for all the great tv ideas! I have a client now who is getting a flat screen and doesn’t know where to put it!

kim. says:

I’m glad my post for David was able to help him and some of you out. 🙂 And thanks Jessie.

I adore the photo of your living room – very much my style.
Lovely blog!

kim. says:

Thanks twenty twenty-one!

Anonymous says:

I have a friend who built the tv into a wall and put a one way glass/mirror over it. When the TV was on, you could see it, but when it was off, it looked like a mirror. You could then play with interesting frames etc…

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