Decorating with a Television In the Living Room

Decorating with a Television In the Living RoomMuskoka Living

If you saw my last Life Lately post, you may have noticed that over Christmas break we had our TV on a console table in front of our living room fireplace. I got a few questions about that, so this post is inspired by those questions. :)

In all of our homes, we tend to leave the TV out of the main living room. We picture the living room as more of a ‘conversation space’ rather than a loud entertainment room, especially since our living space is pretty open to the rest of the house. Whenever we have family gatherings, though, we love watching movies together and playing games on the TV. We usually gather downstairs for that, but this year since we have our basement set up for some work projects we decided to bring the TV upstairs.

Having it up here for Christmas made me rethink the idea of how our living room would feel with a TV above the fireplace. Generally I always feel like that arrangement doesn’t seem ideal because of the height above a fireplace, but since we have more modest height ceilings in this house I think it would work. I gathered up some inspiration for living rooms with a TV and I think I’m warming up to the idea, especially if beautiful built-ins could be involved! What do you think? Do you have a TV in your living room or do you keep it in a separate space?

Decorating with a Television In the Living Room
Lauren Liess

Decorating with a Television In the Living RoomStudio McGee – Windsong Project

Decorating with a Television In the Living RoomSita Montgomery Interiors

Decorating with a Television In the Living Room
Crisp Architects

Decorating with a Television In the Living RoomStudio McGee

Decorating with a Television In the Living RoomMuskoka Living

Decorating with a Television In the Living RoomThe Glitter Guide

Decorating with a Television In the Living RoomColors and Craft

Decorating with a Television In the Living RoomSarah Sherman Samuel

PS. I’ve also shared this great idea for a hidden TV behind a map from Mrs Rollman Blog!

Related Posts:

My White Painted Fireplace Makeover

Fireplace Makeover in My Previous Home

7 Clever and Charming Built-Ins

Decorating with a Television In the Living Room

Comments

  1. In a small house, there aren’t a lot of options for TV placement, so ours is in the living room – visible from the living room, dining room, kitchen, and even the upstairs if you stand at the balcony (and it can be heard ALL OVER the house). In order to keep it from looking like a giant altar on the wall, we installed wood planks behind it, stained a medium/dark tone, so your eye is drawn to the wood rather than the TV. The TV is a moderate 42″ so it doesn’t take up a huge amount of space. You can see the wood above, below, and to the sides of the TV. It was an easy installation and has a nice rustic look to it.

    • Yes, an altar! I feel like a large flat screen feels like an idol being worshipped! Not exactly what I want for the vibe of my home!

  2. Alison Shanahan says:

    You should check out the new Frame TV by Samsung. It hangs flush to the wall and looks just like a piece of art when not watching TV. It was even one of Oprah “favorite things” this year! Just waiting for my to get installed this week! Problem solved!

  3. I really don’t have a problem with a tv being visible. We have a small house and it’s on a set of white bookcases that my dad made. The sofa and chair are obviously pointed toward it. We like to watch tv and I’m ok with people knowing that. I wouldn’t want mine above a fireplace.

    • Anne, I’m right there with you. I’m quite surprised the number of bloggers and commenters who dislike tv in the main living area. It would drive me nuts NOT to have one. I have news or sports on most of the time I’m home from work. I can’t imagine having to tromp down to a basement to watch it. It sounds like some of these commenters feel they value their decor more than reality.

      • We don’t all have the same home layout, goals or TV habits. And it’s ok to see it differently. :).

      • I agree wholeheartedly with both of you. Having a family we have a TV in the main living area which is open to the dining room and kitchen. I would love to see more bloggers take on the challenge of showing a real living space. Not everyone has a fireplace and not everyone can put in built in shelving. I am always looking for creative ideas on how to make the tv work instead of hiding it and living in my basement.

  4. We have a finished basement, and for about 10 years we had a TV down there, not in our main floor living area. It worked for us because it made watching a movie or sports something of a special event and cut down on mindlessly putting on the TV as background noise.

    A few years ago, we reorganized the basement space as more of a tween/teen hangout area, and we wanted a TV upstairs again. We have a fireplace facing you as you walk in the family room and didn’t want the TV to be prominent. To solve that, we got a flatscreen that my husband mounted in the corner to the left of the fireplace. It’s easily visible to the room, but not obtrusive when it’s not turned on. Just another idea!

    • That’s a great option. I have thought about having one that we just set in the corner to pull out as needed. I don’t like having a TV on all the time front and center in room, so I like your suggestion. I don’t even watch any shows by myself, although once in awhile I watch Fixer upper :) but my husband and I like watching shows together or with our son in the evening, so I think having one somewhere in our main room might be worth considering.

      • In our previous VERY tiny house (850 sq ft) with no basement, we had the TV installed on the wall to the right of the fireplace. It was on a pull out thing, and we could angle it toward the couch or the other way toward our easy chairs, depending on how many folks were watching. Worked very well…When not on, we could straighten it out & push it right back to the wall.

        In our current house, we have it place in a bookcase in our office/guest room/TV watching room. It’s at the back of the house, so that we’re tucked away in the evenings away from traffic, passersby, etc. which makes it really cozy!

      • Cathy Mapes says:

        We also have our TV in the corner of the living room in front of a dark wall, with a lovely black TV cabinet that it sits on. Next to it we have placed a small round accent table with a long skirt and a lamp, candle, and candy dish. The fireplace is centered and therefore the focal point of the room. While watching TV we can see the fire, and I can place snacks on the small round table. We love it!!

  5. My rule is no TV in living room or bedrooms. I especially dislike TV mounted above fireplaces because as you said they are always so high and strains necks to watch. I am lucky to have a nice size den with a fireplace but the TV is on a console with bookcases on either side. I do a a very small tv (13″) in my office.

  6. Our TV is in the corner, near the fireplace, sitting on my Grandmother’s blanket chest. It doesn’t bother me a bit. We live in our living room. We have a beautiful view out the window there.

  7. My husband wants a tv in the living room I don’t. For Christmas I gave him a tv for his man cave and he hasn’t taken it downstairs yet, it’s still in the living room. Over the holidays when all the kids were home we watched tv in the living room and it was cozy. That being said I want that tv out of my living room ASAP!

  8. We turned a spare bedroom into a “media room”. Our new home has an open concept living area with the kitchen/living room/dining area all one giant space. I refuse to have the TV in that space – knowing my husband and grown son that darned thing will be on 18 hours a day on high volume. And it won’t be any channels I can even tolerate. Its not relaxing after I come home from working a 12 hour day. The downside is that I rarely get to watch TV as my son and husband monopolize it but at least our main living space is pretty quiet.

  9. I really didn’t want our TV above our fireplace, but alas, it really was the best place for it in our new home. We have a large high fireplace mantle and 9 foot ceiling heights thru out the home, so it really is nicely situated in the room height wise. My mandate was that I would be able to fit an accessory on either side of the mantle ( tall items) and about 5 inches space between the mantle and bottom of screen so I can still have small items/garland, etc when I choose accessorize that way. Our home is all open concept and we truly live in our living room…didn’t want or need a separate family room here. We do have a small library room with a smaller tv hung on the wall. Both TV set- ups have all wires, cables in wall..and the cable box’s are hidden behind TV. Very clean looking! That, too, was another mandate for me…no wires showing. 😀

    • It sounds like you got a perfect set up for yours in your new home, Jo Jo! That’s the other issue I have with it, how to get the design right so it just feels appropriate in the space. (I agree on not wanting to see the wires, cables and boxes, that’s a must for me, too!).

  10. We keep our modern TV in a freestanding, vintage cabinet with doors — kind of 1990s, but the cabinet is definitely not a 90s TV cabinet. We have a house full of boys who throw balls, so the cabinet doors protect the TV. And we rent, so keeping a TV in a cabinet is easier than installing on a wall. The bonus is that it also looks nice in a room with a fireplace but without a great view of the outdoors.

  11. Lisa McCracken says:

    I’m sure any of these homes would look “better” without the tv on the wall, but if it’s something you enjoy (like my family) then a tv on the wall/console it is. Because that’s real life! :) All of these homes you listed are gorgeous and to me it looks just like part of the décor, because that’s what’s normal to me. I’m sure to others it just doesn’t look nice….to each his own, I say!

    • I know just what you mean! I actually think flat screens have made such a difference in how the blend into a modern space. They do look normal these days and if they are an enjoyable family activity in that space, it makes total sense!

  12. We’ve always had a tv in our family space because we didn’t have a separate room for one. Since we moved to a house that has more options, we still preferred to have the tv in the main living space. It’s where we have a Sofa big enough for all of us and we love watching movies together on friday nights or Christmas time.
    Howver, my husband I think picked the biggest he could fit above our fireplace. It’s too big for my liking, but in the big picture (no pun intended), it’s not that big of a deal. However, there’s no real good way to conceal it, so I am going to paint the wall behind it a dark gray to help it blend into the wall when it’s off, which it’s off 90% of the day.
    I loved the idea pictures you added to this post. Wonderful ideas.

  13. I have never wanted a TV in the living room either. For me, the living room is the first room people see when coming into our home and I don’t want a big TV greeting them. That room is a place where I can peacefully read or chat with friends. Although there are great design options now that can hide the TV, I still couldn’t do it. We have a never ending “discussion” about picking up in the TV room that never seems to go my way!

  14. Our tv is over an antique marble fireplace. We walpapered the wall above in a tonal black wallpaper. The TV doesn’t look like a big black box anymore because it blends into the wallpaper. We usually cycle pictures from our travels (not family ones, but artistic ones) on it so it looks like artwork. We hardly watch TV but that was the only place for the TV for when we do watch. The Frame TV from Samsung is appealing to me in the future. What a brilliant idea!

  15. No tv in our main room, but we have a basement rec room where the tv is. I actually have better than average hearing (which is actually not that great–I’d much rather have excellent eye sight!) and I HATE the sound of tv, especially if I’m not watching it. Keeping it in the basement saves my sanity. And we still have control over it as parents, because if one of our kids turns it on without our permission, they get no screen time for a week. It only happened once or twice before they realized it wasn’t worth it. Good luck with whatever you decide–it really is a personal choice and as much as I hate to admit it, form should follow function ;)

  16. Karen on bainbridge says:

    Personally I have never liked the tv above a fireplace. As you said it’s too high plus it’s competing focal points. I couldn’t watch a screen if a fire was burning in the same line of sight

  17. Not sure if I am correct, but apparently, TV should be set at eye level, which keeps the skull steady and sitting straight on the spine. It’s early days yet, who knows what might come out later when spinal problems emerge! Our TV sits on a low dresser (at eye level) at right angles to the fireplace (where your big window is, Melissa, so no good for your room). But placing the TV within built-ins would be a good idea for you, but a big job – although one all your readers would be keen to see! Good luck now.

  18. Ours is in our one and only living room (many homes don’t have the option of an extra room) but we have it placed in an armoire with doors that close it off from view when not in use.

  19. Mary King says:

    I know this works for many, but as someone who suffers from complications of cervical spine disc degeneration I cannot comfortable watch a television at that height. I have to keep it at a seated level height.

  20. We are wanting to build a house and the tv over the fireplace has been one of my biggest dilemmas. I don’t want it over the fireplace at all. I want the fireplace to be the focal point in the room. We are planning a large open kitchen and living room with vaulted ceilings. My problem is where do I put the tv so that we can still enjoy it with out looking like all my furniture is pointed at it instead of a nice seating area around the fireplace. We have a large family and my husband and kids all love to watch shows together so a tv in living room is a must. I’m just lost on furniture arrangement/comfort/style.

  21. I hate having a TV in the living room. That being said, we only have one living area right now. Having our TV hidden is our best solution by far.

  22. We have always had the TV in the living room/den. When we want it to be a conversation space, we just turn it off! Now that our children are grown, we gather there for watching a big game on TV or for just visiting with one another when we have folks over. Otherwise, the hubs and I are catching up on favorite programs, or reading with it off, or just lounging and surfing the net.

    I prefer when the TV is not over the fireplace because rarely is a room large enough for seating where one doesn’t feel like the screen is high above and one is sitting on the front row at a movie theatre, sitting with head craned back to see the screen clearly. In a large gathering room where the kitchen, breakfast area, and living area are all joined, it is easy to see from a distance but when seated for dedicated movie watching or something, I still get that sensation that I’m on the front row in the movie theatre. Good luck!

  23. Thank you. I enjoyed the images of TV placement in living rooms since I have no choice but to have the TV in the living room. Our house is an open plan and so the TV is seen and heard almost everywhere. My husband is at home on hospice care and that is his only entertainment as he doesn’t see well enough to read anymore.

    • Marilyn Holeman says:

      Hi Melissa,
      When my kids were little, we kept the TV in the closet, so we had to intentionally get it out to watch videos (which is all we watch.) Now that the kids are grown and mostly gone, we do have it mounted in our living room for ease–but I’d love it if it were behind a pretty cabinet or especially a great map. (I loved the maps you had in your last home!) Our home is pretty small (less than 700 square feet) so we don’t have a lot of options. Great discussion.

    • Marilyn Holeman says:

      Katy Beacher–praying for you and your husband!

  24. Jackie Allen says:

    Right after last Christmas we moved the TV to over the fireplace too! We love it and it makes for a larger gathering space when we have friends and family over – especially this time of year with the Football Playoffs!

    It also allowed me to move my main Christmas Tree to a new spot that would have been in the way if our set up was like it was. I am for the TV over the mantle.

    I miss the decorating space but then I don’t have to redecorate it for every season and can focus on other areas of my home!

  25. I agree that a TV over the fireplace is a bad idea if it’s too high to watch comfortably. In our house the fireplace is in the dining room, so the TV is in the living room, part of a media wall unit that has a large area in the middle where you mount a flat screen TV so it’s right at eye level. I love our TV in the living room because that is where we live! When we watch TV or a movie, there’s plenty of seating for everyone. If we want just conversation (and wine), we turn it off. Right before the holidays we hosted a music night in the living room with friends and family, playing guitars and singing. I love that our living room is the place we always gather. My choice is that living rooms are for living and family rooms are where the kids have all their toys and games. I hate the idea of having a perfectly beautiful room that no one ever spends time in.

  26. Boy! I’m sure glad I don’t even own a TV. lol

  27. Personally I am not a fan of having a t.v. installed over a fireplace unless one has no other option. Reason being it is recommended firstly that they be installed so the mid point of the screen should be at eye level when in a seated position. Secondly in many cases having it there will not only dictate the placement of furniture but also the size of your T.V. i.e.: Measure the horizontal ↨ width (not diagonal) and for a minimum distance multiply x2 and for maximum distance multiply x5. With respects to its aesthetics in most cases being a rectangular black box; I would prefer it to be hidden ….. ☺…. but that’s just me. As for it being located in the living room and all said; I feel to each their own as necessity and lifestyles do vary.
    -Brenda-

  28. Lots of comments !
    I do not like tv’s mounted above a FP (or higher than about counter-height) due to the neck strain issue others cited. That is the main factor for me.
    Our house has a formal LR area and a family room area off the kitchen. I would not want any tv in the LR !
    So our tv is in the family room and is visible from the kitchen so I can hear/ watch news while I cook.

  29. p.s.
    I LOVE the photos of doors hiding the tv in Muskoka Living, Colors and Crafts and Crisp Architects !

  30. Julie Briones says:

    Love the pics and inspiration! Like other readers, I also have a small home, and my living area doubles for my office, so the TV does double duty as a computer monitor, as well! You kinda gotta do with what you have, and make it look as nice a possible. :-)

  31. I to love the mounted tv cover. Nice! However, I am also ok without having a cover over our mounted TV. Beautiful job, love what you did.

  32. What about all the cords and stuff when mounted over the fireplace? we are considering it — but not sure how to deal with that!

  33. Lynn Fallows says:

    My husband insisted on the big tv, which I consider a design distraction, above our great room fireplace. Found a place in Bellevue, (I live in Mukilteo), to make a mirrored frame around my the tv cabinet. When the tv is off it just looks like a huge mirror above my mantle.

  34. We have a NO policy in our house to: t.v. in the bedroom and t.v. above the fireplace. However, a t.v. above the fireplace and behind doors when not in use seems to be completely acceptable. My #1 vote is the room by
    Studio McGee since it is at a lower level and not above a fireplace.

  35. Pam Green says:

    I would only mount a TV over a mantel if it was the only option. I love to change up the fire place decor with the seasons and feel it provides a focal point for the room and brings in the homeyness of the seasons. I have seen great TVs that have a screen that can be art work for the room that is kinda cool, but reality is we have a TV in our main room and its perfectly fine, we live here and I want the family all together that is what is important in our busy lives.

  36. I really like the Lauren Leiss room. The architecture of the room is stronger than the TV so it works, I think.
    We have never had a TV in our living room… but that’s because we have had it in a den or family room. Bedrooms are off limits. However, since everything is still in storage, we haven’t had a TV in a long time and I don’t miss it at all. Okay, I would love to see Fixer Upper and the upcoming Olympics… a pretty short list. I’m actually so glad to not have it in my home now. There’s no media drama to impact my day and that is wonderful.
    If you family LIVES in your living room than it makes all kinds of sense to have it there. Your view is amazing… I don’t think I’d want to be in the basement except to work or sleep. ;) I look forward to seeing how you work this out.

  37. A very timely discussion- thank you! We just removed our old style tv and tv cabinet from our main floor, I love how much more room we have, but miss listening to the news while cooking dinner. Does anyone have a tv in their kitchen? If so do you like having there?

  38. My thoughts begin here:
    1. Can you/your family keep each other the priority, and not the TV/show?
    2. Can the TV be used in such a way that it contributes to, rather than detracts from, family interaction and bonding?
    I am 58. Still, one of the defining moments of my life was when, about age 5, my father yelled at *me* to be quiet so he could watch the TV! I replied that I thought the people who were with you were more important than the people on the TV. His reply was to slap me. Even if you don’t physically strike your children or spouse, can you watch without communicating that the made-up distant world on the television is more important to you than those you say you love best in the world?

  39. I’m not a fan of the TV above the fireplace, primarily because I’m short and I already have neck problems. But, also aesthetically, whether it’s a big black screen above the fireplace or whether you cover it with doors, it seems to call attention to itself whereas that same big black screen at eye level and worked into the room (not just plunked in a spot) doesn’t have the same effect. As to whether it interferes with other aspects of living, I think it depends on your and your family’s viewing habits and also the room or rooms you have to work with. I prefer the three examples in your post where the TV is more at eye level. and the Studio McGee and Glitter Guide examples are particularly attractive. Color expert/designer Maria Killam did a good post on TV decorating back in 2015 – 7 Best Ways to Decorate Around the TV at her website http://www.mariakillam.com – there are some good pics there. Of note, if you do choose to hang the TV above the fireplace, a large movable art piece is another idea. My late husband’s daughter and son-in-law have a large screen TV sitting to the left of their gorgeous Montana stone fireplace in their great room and when the TV is not on, no one even notices it . In their bedroom, however, they have a smaller TV mounted over the two-way fireplace (bedroom/bathroom) and this one is hidden by a lovely piece of art which slides to the side when they want to watch TV from the bed but which integrates beautifully with the bedroom otherwise. I look forward to seeing what you decide because there are some good thoughts and ideas here, pro and con, and you always take those into consideration when you make a decision, a real compliment to all of us.

  40. It’s so interesting reading everyone’s comments and opinions. I guess TV placement is like so many other decorating decisions we’ve made over the years in all of our small houses. Sometimes you have the luxury of accommodating your preference (like hiding the TV), but often you have to work with the space and finances you have and what makes the most sense for your stage of family life. And it’s certainly a first world problem, isn’t it? :) I’m excited to see what you do, Melissa! In my book you’ve never made a bad decision!

  41. Where do you place the cable box if you have the tv over the fireplace?

  42. Thank you, Marilyn for your prayers and Kathy for reminding me what is important.

  43. Re the black TV screens on white or light colored walls — They really stand out! If you want to minimize their appearance, make the space they’re on an accent wall and paint it a dark color.

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