Where to Mount a TV in a Difficult Space


Unless you live in brand new construction – where a pre-determined spot has been perfectly wired and designed to house a TV – it can be surprisingly frustrating to figure out where to put one. Maybe the room you want your TV in is oddly shaped, or has too many windows or too few outlets. Either way, we’ve sought advice from designers, architects and home-stagers to solve tricky TV placement.

A relatively simple solution is to mount your TV on a full-motion stand, which allows you to tilt the screen in any direction, making just about any spot usable. Basic models start around $20, but can run into the hundreds depending on the size and weight of your TV.

Installing the bracket is not very complicated – either find the stud and screw the device directly to it, or hang it with drywall anchors. Still, there’s no shame in knowing your limits: “If all you’ve done is hang a picture, you might need to hire a Taskrabbit or ask a friend to come help you out,” says Jeanne Goldberg, owner of Inhabit Staging in Maryland. .

Designer Susan Sutter stresses the importance of setting the stand low enough so you don’t have to strain your neck to watch TV. The only other requirement is to have an outlet (plus coax if using cable) nearby.

Install an outlet if your wall does not have one

Speaking of outlets, sometimes the only way to create a logical location for a TV is to hire an electrician to add a new outlet. If you’ve “cut the cord” and are streaming TV, that’s all you’ll need. If you’re still using traditional cable, you’ll also want to add a coax plug to the setup.

What’s on your walls – paint, paneling, wallpaper – will affect the complexity (and cost) of the job. Generally, electrical work can be done in a few hours for a few hundred dollars. But this does not include any additional patching and repair work that your wall may require.

Calculate the size of a TV you should buy

Once you have determined where to place the TV, it is also important to determine the best screen size for the space. Choosing the wrong size TV will make the room “unbalanced and uncomfortable to watch,” says Erika Jayne Chaudhuri, designer and general contractor at Erika Jayne Design.

To calculate the ideal size, Chaudhuri recommends halving the distance in inches between the TV and where you plan to sit while watching it (remembering that TVs are measured diagonally). For example, if your favorite spot on the couch is 10 feet (120 inches) from the TV, go for a 60-inch screen.

Disguise your TV as a work of art

Camouflage is another useful tactic. Especially in a room with no obvious focal point, a TV masquerading as art won’t look so out of place. If you’re looking for a new TV, choose a model with an “art mode” setting – also known as “gallery” or “ambient” mode. Most new TVs come with such an option, which displays photos or paintings on the screen when you’re not watching anything else. Some, like Samsung’s The Frame TV, let you upload your own photos. Additionally, The Frame TV comes with a real art-style frame around the screen.

If you have a regular flat screen, there are still ways to disguise it. Try hanging it as part of an art or photo gallery wall. By surrounding it with other (more attractive) things to watch, the TV won’t be so visible.

Let us know your home maintenance questions.

Hide your TV in a cabinet

Depending on the parameters of your space, a cabinet can create a focal point where there was none, hide the TV when not in use, or divide a room for different uses.

In a bedroom, a lift-up cabinet at the foot of the bed will create space that didn’t previously exist for the television, plus it allows you to lower it out of sight when you’re not watching.

In large rooms, a wide cabinet can be used both to hide the TV and to divide the space. Thomas Morbitzer and Goil Amornvivat, partners at AMMOR Architecture in New York, used this method in a Jackson Hole home, installing a custom unit that spans almost the entire width of the room. It houses the television on the side facing the living room and the crockery on the side closest to the dining room.

“You have the benefit of not having an obvious TV on the wall or on a stand, you have this really nice cabinet, and then you have a lot of other storage,” says Morbitzer. “The cabinet helps divide the room so that the TV side feels more intimate.”

Between the TV, additional devices – such as gaming systems – and speakers, you could end up with a lot of cables. Even if you’ve found an acceptable spot for the TV, those loose wires can turn into a messy distraction.

Wireless devices, like Sonos speakers, that connect to your TV via WiFi or Bluetooth will help reduce clutter. There are also plenty of easy — and cheap — solutions! – Fixes on the market, such as ties and velcro that keep cables more contained, and cable tray style covers that completely conceal them.

Maya Pottiger is a DC-based reporter who also covers K-12 education.

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