TV time…
decorating for the big black box

Most of us have at least one TV in our homes. In fact, they’re often the focal point of the room—the furniture is all oriented toward the TV, and traffic patterns are arranged to make TV watching more pleasant. Unless you’ve completely given up television or ditched the giant flat screen for a smaller, portable model, the fact is, there’s a big black box you need to contend with and decorate around. The design dilemma is as old as the television itself—how do I decorate around this thing?

  1. Use frames, and frame it
    Place your flat screen up against a plain wall, or hang it. Then surround the TV with framed artwork and photos, and don’t be afraid to go big! If your TV is wall-mounted, go ahead and build a frame for it as well.
  2. Hide it
    It may be old school, but it works. You don’t need a bulky TV armoire to house a flat screen. You can use curtains to mask a wall-mounted flat screen, use a folding frame, or invest in a TV lift cabinet, or sliding panel to keep things out of sight.
  3. Bookcase it

    It doesn’t matter if you have built ins, or you just surround your TV with bookcases and shelves, this trick distracts from the TV by surrounding it with carefully curated things of beauty. Fill your shelves with books and favorite art pieces.

  4. Match it

    That big black box sticks out in pale-colored décor. Make sure to incorporate other dark elements to help offset the weight of the TV. Or you can even paint your TV wall a darker color.

  5. Distract from it
    Create another focal point, like a large mirror or stunning view, then place the TV in a less conspicuous arrangement to give it secondary importance.
  6. Embrace it
    It’s a TV, we all have them. This works especially well in more casual family rooms, but if it suits your lifestyle, go for it. Make the TV the central focal point of your décor.
  7. Skip the TV and get a projector
    One option is to ditch the TV in favor of a projector. You’ll need a dark room (or heavy curtains) and a blank white wall or retractable screen, but it does solve the decorating around the TV dilemma.

There are a couple of points to consider when deciding where to place your TV and how to decorate around it.

  • Don’t go too high. Tempting though it may be to mount your TV over the fireplace, if the mantle—and therefore the TV—is too high, you’ll feel like you’re in the front row at the movie theater. Check the comfort of your viewing angle before deciding where to place your screen.
  • Distance counts. There are several schools of thought on how to calculate the ideal distance from the screen, the most common recommends 2.5 to 3 times the TV’s diagonal measurement. So, for a 32” TV, the ideal distance would be between 5’ and 8’ away. For projectors, the ideal distance is closer to 1 1/2 times the screen’s diagonal measurement.
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