How To Design Around a Screen
06/14 Design Tips

How To Design Around a Screen

Our tips on incorporating TVs seamlessly into a space

One of the most significant design challenges we run into in almost every project is designing a space around the television or screen.

How can you avoid making the TV the focal point of the room, when let’s face it — the primary function in the room is to gather and watch TV?

Over the years, we’ve come up with a few solutions for designing around the televisions and screens, and today we are sharing our favorite solutions from some of our favorite watch spaces.

No. 1: Above a console

As an alternative to the typical media console, selecting a pretty piece of furniture to go under your TV is a great way to section off the area. When choosing a console, we prefer that they are longer than the length of the TV.

How To Design Around a Screen

From The Sunset House Basement. 

How To Design Around a Screen

From our Historic Loft Netflix Remodel. 

How To Design Around a Screen
How To Design Around a Screen

We like to hide our media equipment instead of putting it on display and add low-height accessories like stacked books and objects to finish the look.

No. 2: In a built-in

Balance the visual weight of the TV and provide storage for media equipment by centering your TV around a built-in for a custom, streamlined look.

Whether they are on either side of the fireplace, or wall-to-wall, built-ins are a great way to distract from your TV with a great display of accessories! We really love built-ins flanking the fireplace because it still allows you the opportunity to add a mirror or art above the mantle, shifting the focus off of the TV. Built-ins are also great because they provide storage for media equipment.

How To Design Around a Screen

From our SM Ranch House.

How To Design Around a Screen

From our Swan Lake House Project.

How To Design Around a Screen

From our Mercer Island Project.

How To Design Around a Screen

From our Modern Lake House.

How To Design Around a Screen

From our Calabasas Remodel.

No. 3: On a dark wall

A dark wall color behind the TV helps blend the TV into your space, making it feel a part of the design.

On the flip side, if you have a projector, going dark on the walls can help create that cozy movie room feeling.

How To Design Around a Screen

From Episode 3 “Movie Room Remake” of “Dream Home Makeover”  

How To Design Around a Screen

From our Swan Lake House Project.

How To Design Around a Screen

From our Red Ledges Project.

How To Design Around a Screen

From our Swan Lake House Project.

No. 4: Disguised as artwork

We love designing with TV’s that have an art setting, allowing them to blend into the rest of the room effortlessly. In some of our most recent projects and even in The McGee Home, we chose The Samsung Frame TV, and we love how you can rotate the art and change it with the seasons. Plus, it looks good when you’re not watching it!

How To Design Around a Screen

From our PC Contemporary Project.

How To Design Around a Screen

From The McGee Home Great Room.

How To Design Around a Screen

From our Modern Lake House.

How To Design Around a Screen

From our Modern Lake House.

* This post has been modified from its original version

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21 Comments
Studio McGee
  1. Love this! Thanks for addressing this concern, it is the bane of my existence to decorate around my t.v. At first I thought I should just get rid of it but Netflix is a need for me. Right? Lol

  2. Love this post! Weird question… what is the best cleaner for a tv? I have tried and few and feel like they leave streaks and don’t leave my tv looking clean.

    1. Hi Amy – Searching old posts as I age this exact scenario. White price fireplace with glass doors on both sides. What did you end up doing for hours?

  3. Love this topic! Any suggestions for a TV mounted above the white painted brick fireplace? Our fireplace is in the center of the room too with door ways on both sides, so built-ins would look odd 🙁 That one was a compromise I couldn’t win with the hubs!

  4. Can all of the media equipment work through closed doors? This has been a debate between my husband and I recently; we are doing builds ins and are trying to decide between open shelving throughout, or open in the upper part and a few cabinets on the bottom. The cabinet doors are my husbands concern and he thinks every time you would turn your tv on you would have to open the door? Your input would be great:) thanks, Whitney

    1. There is a device you can buy that hooks to those things then you mount the small sensor on the outside.not sure what it’s called but my friends had one and it worked great

    2. There are now universal remotes (that can control everything in your house) and infrared sensors that work through walls/doors and solve all of these problems:)

  5. Hello, I live in Atlanta, GA. and Studio McGee is my favorite design firm by far! I wish you were here!!!!!

    I have noticed you have a beautiful camel leather sofa/sectionals in your work. I have been looking for that exact color and I was wondering if you would not mind sharing your source?

    Thank you, Christine

  6. Hi there!!! Love love love your work. Can you tell me where the couch from your windsong project is from???Looking for that exact color for my playroom.
    -Jenny

  7. Can anyone else not stand to have the TV to high. it strains my neck and looks odd. like a painting to high, eye level is a must our family

  8. Hello. How did you mount that Frame TV on the last picture, the stone fireplace from the modern lake house? We have a stacked stone fireplace, so it’s not exactly smooth, and I’ve thought about putting a Frame TV above the fireplace on that stacked stone, but can’t figure out how without damaging the stone. How on earth did you do it? or did you photoshop out the wire? Thank you.

  9. Thank you for this blog! But. Of course, one more question/condition…, When you use the Samsung frame with a tv over the fireplace, any other suggestions how to Hide the equipment/sound bar from sitting on the mantle or being attached to the wall underneath the tv? It was suggested by a “tv installer” person, that the sound bar be front and center for sound quality. Surely, something else can be done? Thx. M

  10. After years of resisting — I’m way too form over function for my own good! — I put a TV in my bedroom. To hide it I had a wooden rectangular frame build, about five inches thick, painted it the same color as the wall, and then mounted the TV on the wall inside it. Then I had a picture (same size) with it’s own frame installed on henges on the top inside edge of the frame. I used pneumatic arms on the inside the fame. When it’s open, it’s not as attractive as I might have wanted — the TV shows, Ha! — but it’s great otherwise. If I’m not watching TV, it’s closed and looks fantastic!
    Love all your stuff!
    Nicole

  11. This is a great post! Thank you for sharing. Do you have a formula for what size tv to put on a wall (ie how much space around the tv do you leave) if let’s say mounting above a fireplace?

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