Decorating Dilemmas: Where to Put the TV?


Deciding where to put the TV is one of those decorating dilemmas that people can get quite heated about. Some decorators will tell you not to put your TV in your living room, or if you do, make sure it isn’t the focal point—and most importantly, don’t hang it above your mantel! However, I think that our homes have to work for us, which means that ultimately, we can’t make decorating decisions based purely on aesthetics—our decor also has to be functional and practical.

I’m so thrilled to have finished our basement because it finally gives us an ideal spot for the TV, since the room was designed with that purpose in mind from the beginning. However before we renovated our basement, our living room was really the only place where it made sense to put the TV. Furthermore, the wall above our mantel was really the only logical spot for it, since we wanted to place it opposite the couch. If you are struggling with a similar issue in your home, here are some tips for decorating with a TV:

1) Blend the TV by using a dark feature wall. A large TV can stick out like a big black rectangle against a stark white wall, but you can easily blend your TV into the room so that it is much less noticeable by simply painting the wall behind the TV a dark color. If you don’t want to paint the whole room dark, create an accent wall, by painting only the wall behind the TV a dark color, while keeping the rest of the room much lighter.

2) Make the TV an attractive focal point using built-in shelving. This has been our strategy with our basement. I decided that if TV-watching was an important activity within the home, then we might as well embrace it and design a room that was especially suited for that purpose. By framing the TV within a beautiful wall of built-in shelves and cabinets, the TV becomes an intentional part of a room’s design and decoration.

3) Integrate the TV by using a gallery wall. A gallery wall can be a perfect way to disguise your TV, because it allows the TV to blend into the visual play of shapes and become just one more rectangle on the wall. Personally, I’m not always the biggest fan of gallery walls—they’ve been all the rage for a little while, but they are hard to really do well because they can easily end up looking cluttered. But I love this gallery wall in a NYC apartment by Emily Henderson. The images are strong and dynamic, but they each play well off of each other. All of the pictures are also framed simply which helps to eliminate the potential for too much visual clutter.

4) Find a clever way to hide the TV altogether. This option can be a tricky one to figure out, but if you can pull it off, it solves the issue of decorating around a TV altogether! I think this solution of a folding paneled painting from House Beautiful is just brilliant and so visually appealing! You could also hide your TV behind sliding barn doors or a large antique map that pulls down over it. Alternatively, for a really simple solution, you could simply hide your TV inside a large cabinet.

5) Add visual interest to your mantel by displaying a long low object and/or a tall items on either side of the TV. Although it may not be ideal, sometimes hanging a TV above your mantel is really your only option, and adding a few carefully curated pieces to your mantel can definitely make this arrangement more attractive. In general, I would advise sticking to only two or three objects, because the mantel can easily start to look cluttered, but there are always exceptions. In the example below, the designer has created a whole vignette on her mantel, but because the objects are visually related and fairly quiet, they blend together harmoniously to create a simple and attractive display.

I hope you find these ideas helpful! Thanks for reading!