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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.