Mad About . . .

Five Ways to Hide the Television

21st July 2020
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I mentioned the other day following the podcast gardening post that I would return to this subject as it’s a perennial problem. We all have televisions and we all seem to want to hide them. But when I first wrote about this, probably when I first started the blog way back in 2012, the most commonly cited solution was to paint the wall dark behind it. Admittedly this is what I have done but, as Sophie mentioned on the podcast the other day, if you don’t want dark walls what do you do?

paint the walls dark to hide the tv in the home of madaboutthehouse.com

paint the walls dark to hide the tv in the home of madaboutthehouse.com

And it was during the recording of this segment, that I got to thinking (yes you know it…. cue SJP and her musing) that I have quite a lot of pictures of the various different ways that people I have interviewed over the years have hidden their tellyboxes so I thought I would gather them here for you.

pink fireplace and trestle legs image by James Balston

pink fireplace and trestle legs image by James Balston

First up, yes it’s my solution: dark walls make for a hidden tv. After all the television is a big dark box so you might as well disguise it against some big dark walls. The reason this works for me is that we only tend to be in the sitting room in the evening, under electric light, so dark walls work. It’s not really a day time room for us but if it is for you then you might want to find a different solution.

This is what used to be the spare room with the television over the fireplace. It was occasionally used as an office too until the 19yo commandeered it as his bedroom. And yes it’s over the fireplace and yes it’s too high, but as there isn’t a sofa in there the normal rules are suspended. Particularly as there are cupboards in both alcoves making it hard to put it elsewhere. The dark walls mitigate its position a little.

the samsung frame tv in the home of emma jane palin

the samsung frame tv in the home of emma jane palin

Of all the options I have to say I am very keen on the Samsung Frame TV idea as seen in the home of Emma Jane Palin above. The screen is matt so it doesn’t catch and reflect the light in the same way that a standard tv does- see the first image above of my house). If you remember the house tour we did with Michelle Ogundehin (also for the podcast) she has the same one. Emma has also surrounded her tv with art (as does Michelle) but instead of a black box in the middle it just looks like another picture. This is even more realistic if you hang the tv on the wall although I should point out that Emma’s flat is rented so there may have been issues with drilling and wiring it in.

orla kiely's sitting room has a navy blue serif tv

orla kiely’s sitting room has a navy blue serif tv

Another option is the elegant Serif TV seen above in the home of designer Orla Keily and below at Cate St Hill. Designed to look from the side like a capital I (not this one but one with serifs – my font won’t allow) this was designed by the Bouroullec brothers (again for Samsung) to reclaim the television as a piece of furniture that deserves its place in your home rather than something that should be hidden. And yes it’s expensive (as is the Frame) but then again it probably takes a significant amount of space in a room you use every day and you might also use it every day so it’s one of those calculations you have to make. The hairpin legs are optional by the way so you can just stand it on a cabinet.

white serif tv in the home of cate st hill

white serif tv in the home of cate st hill 

Or there is the build it in idea as Sophie did when she was designing her Mum’s annexe. Here, the television sits in a specially created shelving unit where the objects around it distract from it and prevent it from dominating the space.

The hidden televsion at the home of Sophie Robinson's mother

The hidden television at the home of Sophie Robinson‘s mother Photography by Tim Young.

Of course you could go one step further as the designer Sophie Ashby has done here in her flat at BBC Television Studio where it is hidden behind a picture mounted on a roller that slides across to cover it when not in use. It’s worth noting that Sophie R’s mother doesn’t have enough space to do that in her arrangement if the television is to sit in the middle, but I have seen a similar arrangement with two sliding doors which could be pulled back over the books when the television was in use and closed to cover it when not.

sophie ashby hides her television behind this print by Nigerian fashion photographer Lungiswa Gqunta

sophie ashby hides her television behind this print

Now there are ways to hide the television but that doesn’t always solve the problem of all the wires. I have built a false wall between the two shelves in my alcove. The television sits on the top, and the boxes (sky, dvd, modem etc) sit on the shelf below. A row of sockets is concealed by a piece of plywood painted the same colour as the wall behind which all the wires are tucked so they don’t show.

kimberly duran of swoonworthy painted a piece of card to hide the wires from her lamp

kimberly duran of swoonworthy painted a piece of card to hide the wires from her lamp

Kimberly Duran, of Swoonworthy, created a similar effect by painting a piece of card to conceal a bunch of wires trailing down behind a table. You can read about it here. It’s so clever and so easy to do.

kimberly duran of swoonworthy painted a piece of card to hide the wires from her lamp

kimberly duran of swoonworthy painted a piece of card to hide the wires from her lamp

I hope that has given you some ideas for your own televisions and of course there is the other one – don’t feel you have to hide it in the first place. That might seem a bit radical for a design blog but I’m just going to put it out there before someone else does!

 

This information first aired as part of the podcast The Great Indoors by Sophie Robinson and me, produced by Kate Taylor and sponsored, for series 8, by Neptune.

 

Light and airy bathroom with wooden cabinets and wooden parquet floor.

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  • Bristol 11th August 2020 at 4:51 pm

    I’ll admit that my television is getting more use than normal these days. We did make sure to hide all of the wires since our tv is mounted on the wall. Definitely not a fan of all those cables hanging out!

  • CJ 11th August 2020 at 4:49 pm

    I love some of these ideas! The dark wall is genius. I really like mixing the tv in with frames and putting it in the middle of a built-in has always been a good look to me.

  • Rachel 5th August 2020 at 1:27 pm

    Hi Kate
    I think we all need to just get over it and admit we all binge on TV from time to time and we all have one!!! Rather than trying to pretend we never watch it and that we would rather sew a doily

  • Vicki / Wheel Chic Home 28th July 2020 at 1:33 pm

    Intersting post Kate! In our living room we have opted for the dark wall and dark TV cabinet (a dark feature wall – gasp!) but it works well for us, we like the one dark wall. In the kitchen we’ve gone with putting a gallery wall around the TV. It’s not a fancy Frame TV but putting lots of pictures around it helps to disguise it a little!

  • Anna 26th July 2020 at 5:06 pm

    Hiding the TV. Well in the 80’s you could have a side table with a shelf and a skirt of chintz that drew back to reveal the telly inside it! In the 70’s we hired, YES hired, a bright scarlet TV on a stand, a show piece!! We once built a cupboard in our sitting room where a low shelf was on a pull out mechanism and out came the TV from the cupboard.
    The best idea I have seen to hide a HUGE Television, is a sliding wall in front of it. It simply looked like the chimney breast. Again a designer making a beautiful flat for her mother. Think it was in House & Garden 2019.
    We no longer have an actual TV but use our computers to watch what we please in our old age.

  • Elaine Fraser 21st July 2020 at 7:15 pm

    We have The Frame (Samsung) – all wires behind wall – enough free art work choice comes with it so no need to buy extra.The art options aren’t great but easy enough to find something simple that blends in with your own decor/colour in rest of room. Only way tv truly disappears

  • Jeff Clipse 21st July 2020 at 2:46 pm

    Katie, I also remember the cabinet televisions and had three (Zenith) during the 70’s and 80’s. They doubled as a family photo shrine and lamp desk. Several older brands had radio, turntable, and 8 track players as well. No, I am not old.
    I truly prefer the new slimline LED smart televisions. To think of it – my TV is a radio – jukebox, internet browser, local area network browser, and I can watch local channels. I can’t play vinyl with it yet and 8 track is dead. Check out the ones that offer custom frames to match decor or the “cover up” style that are concealed by a mirror or art frame. The style with a mirror raises on a hinge like a ladies makeup compact. These require a bit of recessed wall work for mounting and wires – but worth it. I think we can see the beauty in designing for the television. [ I heard a joke – a wife walks into the living room and asks “what’s on TV?” – the husband says “dust!”. Cracks me up every time. ]

  • Katie Sears 21st July 2020 at 12:59 pm

    This reminds of my grandparents whose TV came in a special cupboard on legs, and you had to roll back the front to reveal the screen. Of course everyone knew it was the TV because it was he height of luxury at the time and something to be proud of, but at first glance it was just a cupboard with a lot of ornaments on!

  • Lily 21st July 2020 at 10:22 am

    Many thanks Kate! I’m in the process of buying a Victorian cottage that has had all the character stripped out of it, including the lovely Victorian fireplaces. I am planning on putting some of the Victorian character back (ugh don’t get me started on the spot lights in every single room…). The fireplace has always been the focus of my sitting rooms and without that I am more than ever determined to hide the TV! I have been trawling online for a lovely highboard/drinks cabinet that will do the trick – I might have to do some drilling in the back to allow the electric cables through and may also need to replace hinges so the doors open fully for full view of the screen from all angles… No joy yet, but I am dedicated to making this my mission!

  • Gill 21st July 2020 at 7:43 am

    Thanks for this Kate. My TV has never bothered me but a friend of mine who has a country style living room has always thrown a lovely old checked blanket over hers. Sounds mad but it never occurred to me what was under there for years! By the way Kate, in a blog of yours going back a bit, were you looking for a white duvet cover with a square black check? There’s one online at H&M home .

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