tv placement in living room

A Stylist s Charming Family Home | The all, Home and TVs

Q: "Where should I put my TV?" —Deirdre H.

A: Deirdre, ahh, the perpetual question about where to put the TV. Interestingly, this issue has become both easier and harder to resolve over the past years — here are some thoughts.

This dilemma has become easier — I can still remember 15 or 20 years ago when one could always easily spot the oversized armoire looming over the family room with the poorly concealed purpose of housing the TV (as well as blocking the rat's nest of wires and cords involved in any kind of video entertainment). You would see one in practically every home in America, and it wasn't like they were fooling anyone. We all knew there was a TV in there and all played along with the conceit that by closing the doors the TV magically disappeared. When the new, sleek flatscreen televisions first hit the marketplace it seemed to solve all of those issues. The very simply-styled television no longer needed to live in some sort of mysterious closet — it could live out and proud in almost any room in the house.

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But it's also become more complicated. The other side of this decorative coin is now that since we can place the TV practically anywhere, one can get a little overwhelmed with options. The family room is the first, and most obvious, location to place your main entertainment center. I've never been a fan of seeing the TV over the fireplace because often the proportions are wrong in the room and the location (and thus the viewing angle) becomes too high when placed over the mantel. When we have the option I always place the TV to one side of the fireplace. I also like the use of small televisions in a kitchen or breakfast room — just so you can be able to keep up with the news before starting your day. The new wrinkle in this whole debate is the number of people watching their entertainment on personal computers. With the overwhelming amount of movies and TV series available to stream over the net, quite often it's more important to have a strong WiFi system for your home than to have televisions mounted all over the place.

For those rooms where you need to place your TV, my best suggestion is to be intentional about it. I love this family room from my good friend and designer Ashley Whittaker. She gives the television a place of honor — without it being the "star" of the room — within a wall of library shelves opposite some very comfy seating. Plus, the closed-door cabinets below can house all of the various components. But, the room is clearly more functional than just for watching TV. The gallery lighting on the shelves and the ample seating mean that this room could easily be used when hosting friends. And one other thing: Keep window treatments in mind when designing a media space. Blackout linings can help to produce a more "theater-like" darkness in the room — even on a bright afternoon.

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