By Emily Peck
Want to find ways to hide your TV so it doesn't impose on your perfectly planned decor? No matter how trim and stylish the latest TVs may appear, there’s always a chance that their black boxy screens will interfere with your design mojo.
After all, once you've spent time artfully choosing your sofa and coffee table, you really won't want to ruin the aesthetic with a black TV screen.
But all is not lost and that’s why we’ve pulled together some of the best living room TV ideas to make your tech as unobtrusive as possible, with insight into how it’s done from top TV and design experts.
8 ways to hide your TV
1. Add bespoke cabinetry to reveal your TV remotely
For an experience that makes the TV reveal almost as exciting as the film you’re about to watch on it, you need the right mechanism and a bespoke-fitted panel.
‘This TV set up includes a brilliant custom-built mechanism,' says home technology expert James Ratcliffe of Homeplay.tv. 'It is designed to retract and raise a luxurious stained-oak and bronze panel to reveal a 55” TV screen that elegantly glides forward.
‘This piece also features an invisible 5.1 surround sound system built into the joinery, which creates an immersive sound experience that adds cinematic effect. And the best bit is that it can all be controlled via a simple to use, single remote control.’
2. Choose a TV that doubles up as artwork
If you find that hiding your TV screen provides its challenges, you can choose a TV design that is made to look like a piece of art. Samsung’s The Frame Art Smart TV, for example, has been designed to display artwork on the screen when not in use and it comes in a range of sizes, starting at 32inches.
When switched off and in Art Mode, The Frame displays a well-known artwork or one of your own pictures if you prefer. It comes with a customisable bezel so you can place it on the wall or on a multi-position stand.
Samsung also recently partnered with The Louvre so you can display artworks from the world-renowned museum's collection direct on the TV screen. You can also subscribe to different artist’s work from websites such as Etsy.com and the like to display on the TV when you're not using it.
3. Hide your TV in the kitchen worktop or cabinetry
Hiding a TV in your kitchen design keeps the look neat. It creates a way to access the TV conveniently when you want to cook while watching your favourite program, check recipes or even work from the bar area and access relevant content on the screen as and when you need.
There are a number of ways to hide your TV around your kitchen. You can choose to conceal a TV screen in your worktop for example, and even position the TV so that when it raises remotely it can also be turned around to face your open-plan living area.
‘You have to give careful consideration when installing a TV into a worktop to ensure that liquid and food or anything else isn’t able to fall into the recess,’ says James Ratcliffe from Homeplay.
A simpler way to hide your TV in your kitchen design is behind doors of a breakfast larder or large unit, as shown in this modern kitchen cabinet idea by Blakes London. You can then manually open the doors to reveal the hidden TV – which can be teamed with a moving TV mount if desired – so you can pull it out to enjoy the view of your screen from your seating area.
4. Reduce ‘boxy-ness’ by fitting the TV flush to the wall
If you're building a room from scratch, you have the luxury of incorporating your TV into the design of the room from the offset. Fitting it flush to the wall will keep the TV compactly out of the way.
‘While it is very obvious there’s a TV in this purpose-built open-plan living room and media room, this TV has been built into custom joinery, which helps hide the depth of the screen so it doesn’t get in the way,’ says James Ratcliffe.
‘This screen also features a custom-built soundbar to enhance the audio. It’s a good idea to use a ‘custom-stretch’ soundbar as it’s integrated and looks a better fit than an off-the-shelf soundbar, which can look a bit like an afterthought.’
5. Hide your TV behind artwork
If you own a lot of art, then consider hiding your TV behind a panel or one of your masterpieces. Companies such as Future Automation sells a 'picture lift mechanism' (as shown here) that lets you conceal a screen in the wall behind a vertically moving picture.
‘This is a great way way of hiding a TV as the motors quickly and quietly move the artwork panel up or apart to reveal the recessed screen behind,’ says James.
‘Alternatively, you could hide your TV with a large sliding panel that moves across shelving to reveal it. While it can be automated, it’s also very simple to just slide the panel across with one hand.’
You'll most likely need to get a professional to help you install a TV behind a piece of artwork, but there are a number of useful 'picture-split' mechanisms available to buy online that will make the process relatively straightforward.
6. Invest in a luxurious media unit
Sometimes it comes down to simply choosing the right TV stand or media unit that will keep your TV dimensions in proportion with the surrounding space and rest of the room. This is turn will help the TV to blend into the decor.
'With clever design a TV can be made to appear inconspicuous, without the expense and paraphernalia of moving panels or mechanisms,' says interior designer Stephen Dick of Residence Interior Design. 'In this London apartment, the sitting room cabinetry is a bespoke design in American black walnut timber.
'This rich timber finish is more than just an elegant part of the scheme though. The choice of a deep-coloured timber means that the TV and soundbar go unnoticed when the screen is off. Along with the shelving and display niches alongside, it ensures that the huge TV doesn’t dominate the living room.'
7. Hide your TV in a pop-up cabinet
While a large 65-inch TV may be an impressive statement and keep you entertained come Friday night, you may not always want it staring blankly back at you on Monday morning. That’s why hiding it within a piece of bespoke cabinetry is worth considering as it keeps your interior looking streamlined and minimal.
‘You can use a luxury lift-up mechanism to raise and lower your TV from within a piece of custom joinery, as shown here,’ says James. ‘It features a clever ‘drop and roll-lid’ mechanism and is much more elegant than a box lift, which simply raises a box up and down out of a cabinet.
'The cables for this TV in the dining room are fitted into the base cabinetry, so you’d never guess it was there. But at a touch of a button, the TV screen slides up. All of the video sources are positioned in a remote rack in another room (which hides all the TV media such as a Sky box or Apple TV), while wireless plaster-in speakers in the ceiling above give the TV audio a little oomph. This means that the entire set up is clean and immersive.'
8. Hide your TV in your bed
‘Netflix and chill’ is instantly achievable from the comfort of your pillow if you invest in a bed that can house your TV screen in its base. This works particularly well as a small bedroom idea, when you're dealing with limited wall space.
You can go with a bespoke design, but there are also a number of ‘off-the-shelf’ beds available to buy online.
'If you love to watch TV in bed, then a TV bed is probably essential,’ says interior designer Stephen Dick of Residence Interior Design. ‘If you're mounting onto a wall, make sure it’s in a comfortable position and the right distance for viewing though. If the wall opposite your bed is too far away then a TV can be hidden inside the foot end of a bed, and lifted up by a motorised mechanism when you need it. These systems used to be the preserve of bespoke furniture makers, but nowadays they’re available from high street retailers too.’
For example, the Langham TV bed from Furniture Choice costs around £800 and comes in a range of fabric colour options including this Slate Grey finish. It will accommodate a 32inch TV with a maximum depth of 9.5cm and features a integrated foot end that conceals the mount for a TV.
How can I hide my TV?
Creating a living space that perfectly balances your tech and soft furnishings is easily achievable as there are so many ways to hide your TV around your home. If you’re looking for an expert to install a hidden TV in your home, visit CEDIA to find a certified professional in your area. Alternatively - and provided you feel skilled in DIY - there are a number of ways to hide your TV yourself, perhaps with the help of a qualified electrician or joiner if needed.
‘The challenge for designers if often to avoid the TV becoming the feature or centrepiece, which is why we explore all options such as hiding a TV within smart-controlled joinery or behind mirrors,’ says interior designer Peter Staunton. ‘One of the easiest ways to hide your TV is to buy Samsung’s Frame TV, which doubles up as a screen to display artwork and your own photos.'
'We also like using options such as Bang & Olufsen as its TVs are so beautifully designed and crafted to be part of the overall furniture scheme.
For those lucky enough to have dedicated TV rooms where the TV is a centre focal point, options such as recessing the TV within the wall will help soften and blend the TV into the scheme.'
How do you hide a TV in plain sight?
Choose from a range of ways to hide your TV in plain sight including on a gallery wall, mounted behind a large painting, hidden behind an automated or manually controlled screen, within a piece of joinery or luxurious cabinet.
‘A chic and Scandinavian-inspired option is to mount the TV onto a dark grey wall so the TV does not draw the eye as soon as you enter the room,’ says UK and France-based interior designer Benji Lewis of Zoom that Room. ‘If your house is light and airy then a screen on a plain wall can look sparse, so using an attractive cabinet to anchor it will take the attention away from it and hide any trailing wires.
‘Another good option is to hide the TV behind cabinet doors. If that is still not subtle enough, then you could incorporate a ceiling mounted projector at the back of your room that casts your television screen either onto the wall opposite – that must be painted white - or onto a flip down screen, hidden in the ceiling.'
One of the UK's most respected tech and smart homes writers, Emily Peck also covers everything from interiors style to decorating trends. She is a contributor to Wired UK, and has also had a column in House Beautiful. She has written for publications such as Grand Designs, Stylist, Shortlist, Woman&Home, BBC, Ideal Home and House & Garden. She was once the Features Editor of Ideal Home.
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