Limited Budget? Small Space? Open Floor Plan? Here’s How to Incorporate a Large TV in Your Home
Creating the perfect design for your family room is already a serious challenge, but what do you do when you need to work with a wall-mounted TV on top of everything else? Just like the actual installation process, integrating a large-screen TV into your home decor is not always as easy as it looks.
If you’re working with an open floor plan, a small space, or a limited budget, you might wonder if wall mounting is even the best option. Thankfully, you can rely on these essential tips on how to design a family room around wall-mounted TVs to show you how to make that fancy new flat-screen the shining star of your home.
Designing a large room around a sizable flat-screen TV can be challenging, especially if the TV competes with a natural focal point in the room. Here, the fireplace remains the focal point, with the wall-mounted TV taking its place as a room ornament. The furniture is strategically arranged to accommodate viewing the TV while also being able to enjoy the warm roaring fire (courtesy Nan Palermo).
Make Use of Fireplaces
One of the best ways to design your living room around a wall-mounted TV is to make use of your existing room layout, especially when you have a fireplace. The fireplace has been the centerpiece of family rooms for hundreds of years, so odds are the layout already treats this as the natural focal point of the room.
The TV in this cozy family room seems to be an integral part of the room's custom decor. By incorporating the unit into the built-in fireplace surround, the TV recedes into the overall fireplace structure, allowing the entire dark unit – rather than the TV itself – to be the focal point of the room (courtesy Julie Williams Design).
By simply mounting the television above the fireplace, you’re giving yourself a serious advantage when it comes time to decide where to position your furniture because you know exactly where to focus. Also, the height makes watching TV easier and more comfortable because people will be looking straight ahead or slightly upward instead of tilting their heads down.
You can't get more simple than this over-the-fireplace placement of a large-screen TV in a 3-bedroom, 2.5-bath Country home plan with Craftsman influences (House Plan #106-1275). Its position on an understated mantel that echoes the ceiling beam structures takes full advantage of the focal point of the beautiful stone fireplace and chimney.
Divide and Conquer Space in Open Floor Plans
In large rooms with an open concept floor plan, consider adding a wall divider to help create more definition of space without fully disrupting the open flow of the room. Placing a traditional media center or TV stand free-floating in a room is both dangerous and lacks cohesion, whereas a wall divider securely connected to the ceiling gives you the grounding and stability you need. It then frees you up to be more creative with the space and the home decor you choose.
Take Advantage of Built-Ins
Built-in bookcases are another huge benefit for designing an attractive and functional room around a wall-mounted TV because of all the storage space they provide. Traditional media centers often come with large hutches to store items such as DVDs, video games, or pictures, which are generally very bulky and tend to take up a lot of space.
But by mounting your TV in between built-ins, you can keep the walls clean and open while still having ample room to store everything you need. If you have the space, you can mount the TV inside the built-in for an even lower profile. Consider painting the backs of the built-ins to help avoid harsh contrasts and create a more soothing tone across the room.
The wall-mounted TV in this room blends in with the wall. Installed between vertical shelving in a built-in storage unit, the TV becomes even more inconspiuous with the addition of "kid art" that surrounds it. The seating is arranged so that everyone has a good view of the TV when it's on, though (courtesy Jeffers Design Group)!
Soften the Transition from TV to Wall
Harsh transitions are one of the biggest hurdles when it comes to home decor and wall-mounted TVs, since a big black screen can quickly swallow up a white wall and make your family room feel tiny, even if it’s a Great Room. One option is to place curtains or decorative fabrics on either side of the TV to help ease the transition from dark to light. Alternatively, you could place flowers or pictures next to the TV to help fill in some of the blank space nearby.
The flat-screen TV in this family room is installed above the fireplace, making it feel like part of the decor, and the curtains on each side of it help the effect of blending the unit into the surroundings even more (courtesty Paula Henry).
Another way to create a more delicate transition, especially in smaller homes with limited space, is by adding a feature wall. Features walls directly behind the TV create less contrast and help signify the separation of function within the space. However, be cautious with bold colors and patterns, as these can easily eat up just as much space as a TV would on a blank white wall.
Mounted Bookshelves for Form and Function
It’s important that you have the right amount of storage space around your wall-mounted TV, both for ease of use and to avoid any unsightly complications such as a cable box sitting on the floor. Try mounting a single shelf below the television to simulate a traditional media station without the large, bulky hassle of one. Make sure the shelf is wider than TV, otherwise it will throw off the entire balance of the room.
You can also place multilevel bookshelves on either side of the TV to create a more full and symmetrical design. This option can work especially well if you have a lot of movies and games you want to store in easy access, or if you prefer to display books and pictures as part of the family room’s overall aesthetic. Just remember that a little bit of purposeful asymmetry with the shelves can add some flair and attitude to the room, but too much can make the room feel sloppy.
The asymmetrical design of this large TV installation goes the extra mile to make the TV really seem as it it was intended to be part of the room design from the get-go. The closed storage area under the TV and on the other side of the fireplace keeps TV paraphernalia pout of site (courtesy House of Turquoise).
Repeat Color Patterns
The key to creating a cohesive theme within your home decor is to use repeating color patterns within a single color scheme. This helps create a sense of continuity within the family room and gives you plenty of space to incorporate different accent pieces. In terms of a wall-mounted TV, a strong color scheme allows you to downplay its presence by surrounding it with the colors of your theme, such as wall art in varying shades of blue that match a dark blue rug and lighter blue throw pillows.
If you are working with built-ins around the mounted TV, then you could also paint the back of the shelves to match with the room’s scheme. Alternately, you could paint the backs of the built-ins a light charcoal to help connect with the darkness of the TV screen, which often sticks out against light walls.
Reduce the Impact with a Gallery Wall
Creating a gallery wall around your wall-mounted TV helps to liven up the space and stops the TV from swallowing up the room. This is a great option for those who prefer a full and vibrant family room, as you can take the design in many different directions.
The lively gallery wall treatment in this contemporary room take the flat-screen wall mounted TV along for the ride. On first look, the TV definitely feels like just another element in the display – until you turn it on and it is easily viewable by everyone in the room (courtesy Steve Hall/Wheeler Kearns Architects).
Some homeowners choose uniform layouts with themed pictures, such as flowers or vintage records, while others opt for more complex assortments of family photographs. Whatever you choose, make sure you keep a bit of distance from the TV’s edges to avoid creating a cluttered and hectic look.
Hiding the TV in Plain Sight
If you’re looking for a more elaborate and exciting design project for decorating around your wall-mounted TV, you can break out your DIY skills to more seamlessly integrate it into the room. On the lighter end, you can repurpose an old picture frame and place it around the TV to make it feel like a painting on the wall (which also covers up the unsightly black edges of many TVs).
On the more elaborate end, you could create a hidden wall-mounted TV by crafting a split-away painting or using a roll out cover or even repurposed old window shades.
The options are limitless, so you can really let your imagination run wild on making your wall-mounted flat-screen TV both an intrinsic part of your home and the center of video entertainment!