Before & After Mantel: Covering the TV Niche Above the Fireplace

 

I have had quite a few questions about how I covered up that giant black hole above the fireplace known to builders as the place to put a TV.

In case you are wondering why we don’t just put our TV there, here are the reasons. One, the fireplace is too high, probably close to five feet tall. Our sofa is to the left facing the right wall, so turning our necks up and to the side would be painful trying to watch a movie. And two, I like to decorate my mantel so having a TV there puts a damper on the fun. You either would have to decorate in front of the TV or only on the sides. Our TV is almost as wide as our mantel which left little room for decor. Lastly, if we put the TV there and then covered it up, it would be a pain in the rump to remove mantel decor in order to watch TV.

My TV is now directly across from the sofa on the wall to the right, which means we can look straight across to watch TV. I’ll show you how that is working out in another post.

So what did I do to cover up that black hole? You have seen my fireplace many times. As you know, there are “shutters” on the mantel. The shutters are actually just painted cupboard doors (that I took off my kitchen cabinets to make “open shelves”) but “shutters” sounds so much more classy and cool. I chose to use the cupboard doors because they were the only thing I could find that could cover the entire hole without looking ridiculously too large and awkward.

From the side, hopefully you can see the cupboard doors are really and truly just leaning back against the wall. They are tall enough to not fall in the hole. I do not attach them to the wall.

I used three doors, and the middle door is overlapping in front of the two side ones. This is just how it looked best to me. Also, because I didn’t plan this project out ahead of time, the two white cabinet doors are not even the same size. So the green door helps give the illusion of balance with the two white ones.

You can see in the before photo (below) that we do have an outlet in the niche. So if I want to plug in lights, it is not hard to put an extension cord around the shutters on the mantel to plug something in. That is the beauty of this set up, nothing is permanent so I can be flexible in what I do.

Because I like to evolve my decor with the seasons, I have changed the center cabinet door from blue to green, and I’ve also used a mirror in place of the center shutter to warm it up for fall and winter. I have plans to make a couple of extra center doors to update and change with the seasons. This is a very flexible and versatile solution!

Here are just a few of the various ways this mantel has been decorated:

Winter variation with mirror and wreath

Summer mantel with blue shutter

Fall mantel with wreath hanging on green shutter

Christmas Mantel

So let’s see the before & after of the black hole!

If you want to know about the wall paint, you can find the paint colors here.

Hopefully this helps explain my fireplace black hole solution!

 

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Comments

  1. I love the wreath and mirror! Where did you buy the mirror?

  2. Barbara (WA) says:

    It is brilliant, Melissa, really. And so versatile – love it!

  3. Love! Love! Love! I have the same horrible black hole above my fireplace and long to do what you have done; however, we have no other place for a tv, because of the dimensions of the living room. In the next house, I will refuse to put the tv over the fireplace.

  4. I love our “black hole” we have our TV there. We watch TV all the time and our necks never hurt us. I still decorate our mantle too! I love having the space in our living room that a TV stand is not sitting! Looks less cluttered to me.

    Yours is pretty though. Glad you found a good fix for it.
    Holly Rhodes recently posted..Everyone likes to save money rightMy Profile

  5. Great solutions Melissa and I like the way you show your readers how versatile it is for seasonal decorating!!! Love it,Kathysue
    Kathysue recently posted..Play room ProgressMy Profile

  6. Brilliant solution – love it!
    Lorrie recently posted..For TodayMy Profile

  7. I cannot get excited about a tv over a fireplace. Love the shutters and mirror. Lovely.

  8. What a great idea with the “shutters”. We have the same thing going on but ours was a huge “cavern” instead of a hole. We ended up putting up some studs and a piece of oak board with trim to create a sort of Niche. We wired it in case we wanted to ever put a flat screen tv up there but will probably put a piece of art instead. Our tv was moved to our new family room in the basement. I really like how versatile yours is and you have it nicely decorated…thanks for sharing!

  9. Great solution! I hate TVs over fireplaces, they then have to compete to be the focal point!! Not to metion, the heat and the soot can’t be good for them.
    SimplyLKJ recently posted..Ooooh- AaaahMy Profile

  10. Perfect- my daughter has a hole just like that….I will have to forward this on to her. =)
    Happy weekend
    teresa recently posted..Spring Surprise-My Profile

  11. This is a great solution, we used to have one of these at another house, but that was before the flat screens, so you talk about a BLACK HOLE!!!…it was a cave. hated it. never put a tv there, wish I would have come up with this idea. Your mantle looks great!

  12. We are in the process of looking to buy another home. The newer, open, models we are liking have ‘the big hole’ over the fireplace. Neither of us like that but I, like you, knew it could be handled. Why?! So many talented ones such as yourself had already shown the way :) Thanks for sharing and I love following your blog. I always learn something and leave here feeling happier.
    Nancy Hood recently posted..Simple Things Make Me HappyMy Profile

  13. What a perfect solution. I like how you changed it out with decorative accessories – so versatile – the best type of decorating!
    My best- Diane
    Diane recently posted..How To Make a No-Sew Round Ottoman&8211Part 1My Profile

  14. THANK YOU! I am so confused as to why people like to put their tv’s over a fireplace! There is NOTHING attractive about tv’s. They belong where they are comfortable to view, not where they interrupt a nice mantle display :) Nice camouflaging work!
    CB recently posted..Bedroom Closet pt 2My Profile

  15. I had to get rid of my black hole a few years ago. I actually had it drywalled over. So glad I did. Those years of decorating on either side of the TV were quite annoying. I love the shutters!!!
    Mary Jean recently posted..Pinterest – Are you Pinning yetMy Profile

  16. Absolutely love the winter variation! What a great idea to hide that niche….
    Jackie recently posted..Yay!!!My Profile

  17. Jut a thought but why don’t you just sheetrock it up?

  18. I am still trying to wrap my brain around what were they thinking with that big hole above the fireplace. A TV!?? Oh my…
    But I love what you have done! Smart and lovely, and I love how you change it with the seasons.
    Gayle recently posted..Prayer WavesMy Profile

  19. I like what you’ve done. Pretty. I am always looking for extra storage area…shelves built into the space behind the shutters could come in handy. Have you ever hidden an Easter basket behind the shutters!

  20. Wow, that is a really big hole! What a great solution you came up with. All of the photos are beautiful, but I especially love the one with the mirror.

  21. Franki Parde says:

    I placed a huge palladian window frame that I found in the trash abvove our mantle (I cover particle board with different fabrics in back of it to change the seasons) Great minds…. :-D franki

  22. Great solution! And the flexibility it gives you is enviable. Love seeing the before and after– thanks for sharing, Melissa!
    Heidi Milton recently posted..Door Bucket Loveand a Giveaway!My Profile

  23. Looks great! I love how you change the mantle and shutters for the season.
    Stephanie recently posted..Happy Birthday to Me!!!My Profile

  24. This is such a fabulous, versatile treatment. How in the world did you come up with it? Looks great.
    Terry recently posted..Make Your Own Decor BoxMy Profile

  25. Melissa!
    These SHUTTERS are fabulous!
    That is amazing how you have created different looks for the seasons.
    I miss my mantel!
    And I would never want a tv WAY up over a mantel.
    This is GREAT!
    Love those black and white BIG checked pillows.
    I used to have an ottoman slipcovered with the same fabric!
    Your home is LOVELY!
    Just like YOU!
    xo
    teresa recently posted..Im LOVINCONSISTENCY!My Profile

  26. Very nice solution!
    I really can’t imagine actually putting a tv there. If you do I suppose yeah, you are making both the tv and the fireplace a focal point. But, my eyes would be confused. SHold I look at the fireplace? The ginormous tv? The fireplace? The tv?

    I get dizzy just thinking about it.
    LOL.
    Dana recently posted..Artist Feature Friday- Darcy Baldwin Fontography and Scrapbooking With 2 Specials You Wont Want to Miss!My Profile

  27. Your shutters are a wonderful solution! I simply do not want to invite the TV – to be the center of the living area. So… I love to see areas such as that one ‘repurposed’ into something new and exciting … I see glass shelving for displaying treasures such as family photos, iron stone, or pretties. Loving your blog!!
    Connie recently posted..The New-Life BenchMy Profile

  28. I LOOOVE that mirror and the bamboo on it! Have you seen OUR mantle and the bamboo trim my hubby did??? I love ANYTHING oriental so I was over the moon to find bamboo moulding!!!! You found a VERY creative solution to the BIG BLACK HOLE:):):)
    Pinky recently posted.. SPRING FEVER hit me HARD!!!My Profile

  29. I love how you’ve covered up the black hole. Especially with the mirror in the centre. I love mirrors.
    Jo recently posted..Old Mirrors on the WallMy Profile

  30. Our tv would NEVER fit in that hole! It’s a 32″ monstrosity that weighs a ton. Even if it would fit (depth-wise), there’s no way we could lift it up there! Besides, like someone else said, I can’t imagine the heat and all from the fireplace would be good for the tv.

  31. Melissa – You are totally brilliant. I love what you did with that fireplace through all the seasons. Have mercy! That is a black hole, isn’t it! Always enjoy your posts.
    Elen recently posted..March TBR revealed…Atlantis RisingMy Profile

  32. Ha! That’s hilarious that houses are now coming with built-in tv holes. Lol. Too funny. I like what you did with it instead. :)
    Jennifer M. recently posted..Date a Girl Who ReadsMy Profile

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