The Living Room TV As We Know It Is Over

 

I remember the living room TV that was rarely in our living room. We had the bare-bones portable 19″ black and white and…

Cue the flashback effect…

 

living room television 1960 flashback
It seems like just last week that I was a little girl watching our black and white portable living room TV.

Except ours was in our damp, moldy basement.

 

early living room TV

Geezzz… That was just like our floor in our damp, moldy basement!

Boy, that sure takes me back…

 

I know many of you remember this jingle. For those that don’t, you are in for quite a shocking treat.

“You’ve come a long way, baby…

to get to where ya got to todaaaaay…

you’ve got your own cigarette, now babeeee…

You’ve come a long, long waaaay….

Yes, indeed. If you have no idea what I’m talking about. It means that you were born after 1965 and missed out on a lot of fun. But, we can make up for that. (You must watch the video below. It’s both frightening and hilarious.)

 

 

Don’t forget your Metracal! Hehe… but just for lunch!

 

OMG! Thank God for women’s lib! The 70s can’t get here quickly enough.

 

On alternate blue moons in southern Indiana, we got a semi-clear picture. (and sound) But, it was constant futzing with the antenna; I didn’t care. As long as I got to stay up late on Thursday night to watch Bewitched, all was right with the world.

At some point, my brother put his foot down because he had terrible allergies, and the TV did make its way into our living room. Calm down! ;] We had no den or family room. It was a small home. I don’t remember exactly where or when. But I remember being sick and allowed to have the TV rolled into my room.

Yes, our home in Evansville, Indiana.

 

Years and years later, when I was a young adult, I bought my very first TV.

 

It was in the spring of 1986, and the last of a long string of roommates had finally moved out of my small one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan.

I went just around the corner to the local branch of CRAZY EDDIE. (just before things got really crazy!)

Remember? His prices were INSANE! Eddie was also running one of the biggest scams of the century.

I got what we then called a “flat screen” and was mighty chuffed with myself. It was a Sony. But like an idiot, I got the extended warranty. No one told me those televisions NEVER die; mine only needed one minor repair 18 years later.

 

living room TV or maybe for the kitchen

Television of the future?

 

Then, a decade later, plasma TVs came out for about ten grand each.

 

And then the rest— LCD, LED, and then hi-def.

Super high def

and now?

We’ll get to that in a sec.

But first…

 

Let me show you what the living room TV of today might look like.

 

living room TV could be hidden behind the mirror

via Vogue Living

 

Tone on Tone

 

from a job, we did several years ago.

 

Laurel? High Tech?

I DON’T SEE ANY TV in any of these rooms!!!

 

Yes, I know that. :]

 

But just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it isn’t there. ;]

 

Note: This is a companion post to “25 ways to hide the TV – the Ultimate Guide.” It also includes decorating around the living room TV, and TVs “hidden in plain site.”

 

For instance, we could have a living room TV behind some art that slides open manually or with a remote control. A terrific tutorial on one of my favorite sites, Minted, tells you exactly how to do this.

 

living room TV via Martha Stewart - so clever hidden behind the mirror

Martha Stewart

 

Or a TV behind a piece of art or mirror like this one that slides up.

The only problem with this one is that you can’t have a very large TV, and usually, the space above the mantel isn’t large enough to allow the door to slide up. Better to have it like the first one.

 

Yes?

 

Well, the mirrors you showed are HUGE!

I don’t think it would be a good idea to have them sliding.

 

Me neither. And they don’t have to.

 

living room TV

The living room TV can also appear like magic behind any mirror, with a frame or not.

 

living room TV Savoy Hotel

Above are images from the Savoy Hotel created by an English company called Magic Mirror TV.

 

There is technology now to do this. Not saying that it’s cheap. I’m sure that it’s anything but.

 

Phillipe Stark Hotel in Venice with living room TV coming through the mirror!

A Phillipe Starck Hotel in Venice

 

also has a TV behind one of the mirrors

 

living room TV behind two way mirror glass. Beyond awesome!

source unknown

 

Tell me that’s not cool.

 

Please try to refrain from it would kill my neck comments. It depends on other factors such as distance and viewing position.

Moving on…

 

I found an American company, Frame My TV, that makes these beautiful frames that go over the TV.

living room TV maybe a frame TV or a regular flat screen TV behind 2-way mirror

Some have mirrors like the one above.

 

living room TV behind 2-way mirror when turned on

And when the living room TV is on, the mirror “disappears.”

 

showing how a TV gets mounted to look like art or a mirror.

This is from the mounting instructions and shows how it works.

 

living room TV appears when the painting is rolled up behind the wall.

 

Or, if you don’t want a mirror and prefer a piece of art,

they have a system where the art rolls up out of the way when the TV is in use.

 

This website has tons of information about the innovations in two-way mirror TVs and the fancy frames around them.

 

Okay, it’s time to look at the bevy of smart TVs available in 2022.

 

The first innovation that revolutionized how to hide the living room TV in plain sight is the Samsung Frame TV. It’s already several years old, and numerous models have been added.

 

Samsung Frame TV - Living room TV

 

The Samsung Frame television - living room TV

 

 

Via Vienna Blog

 

 Samsung’s The Frame.

 

Can you tell which ones are the art and which ones are the TVs?

 

If you can’t, that’s terrific.

You’re not supposed to be able to tell, and from a couple of feet away, it’s almost impossible, I understand.

There is a choice of four different frames.

And they even have an easel-type stand, if you wish not to put it on the wall.

 

But, I think this is an exceedingly elegant solution for a problem that has plagued us since this addictive box first entered our lives some 70 years ago.

 

You can also find them at the Samsung store on Amazon.

 

Now, I know that someone is going to bring up the fact that you can turn any living room TV into a piece of art with the various apps that are available.

Yes, this is true. However, the quality of the image might be marred by glare, and the framing effects, not be quite as good. I’m not 100% on all of that.

However, if a Frame TV is not in the budget, you can certainly make your TV look better with an art app and possibly a frame made for it. You should be able to find videos on Youtube that show how you can make an art TV from any smart TV.

 

Caroline Z from the hyphenated home with her Samsung Frame living room TV in situ

 

However, the Frame TV is just the beginning of the new breed of television.

These days some TVs do pretty much everything but fry eggs.

 

Samsung is probably the company with the most innovations; I’m not an expert in that area.

 

But, the technology is changing so quickly. And, there are highly specialized TVs, as well. Samsung has even developed a residential TV that is meant to go outside.

Below are some screenshots I took of the various categories. Below, I’ll link where you can learn more about them.

 

Samsung TVs 2022 Technology Overload

 

Above are the different kinds of TVs you can get from Samsung. The amount of choice is staggering. Indeed, we’ve come a very long way from having to futz with an antenna on a 19″ black and white portable TV with a semi-clear picture.

 

Samsung Lifestyle TVs 2022

 

Above are the Samsung Lifestyle TVs, including the Frame TV. You can find out more about each one here.

 

Not to be outdone, LG has come up with one of the most revolutionary ideas for television viewing.

 

No, it’s not a screen. It’s a TV that rolls up. The TV rolls up into a box.

 

LG rollable TV - Improvement?

Okay, that’s pretty cool, except for one problem. When the living room TV is rolled up, it sits in the middle of the floor in an ugly box with super sharp corners.

While the technology is impressive, I’m not buying it from an aesthetic standpoint. In addition, I see a tremendous tripping hazard, bruised shins, and worse, in my case as I’m a phenomenal klutz.

Finally, one of these death traps will set you back SIX figures.

So, I’m giving this one a pass for now.

 

I have no problem viewing a TV sitting in a cabinet or bookcase.

 

 

Please check out the sister post “25 ways to hide the TV – the Ultimate Guide.” It also includes decorating around the TV, and “hidden in plain site.”

 

I’ll leave you with a widget of various products to use with your Smart or Dumb, haha, TV. Some are cabinets to hide the TV. Some, you can put a TV over in various ways.

 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed this post about the living room TV past and present.

xo,

PS: Please check out the newly updated HOT SALES!

26 Responses

  1. Laurel, I’ve come back to you after a 3- year hiatus (you don’t want to know why) and I love you more than ever!!!!! Newly divorced, and having just purchased my new home, and being a person who never watched TV but might now, I LOVE this post. Thank you for the demystification and I promise I’ll follow all your links for further demystification but I still ask the question: is there a man in the house? A man who knows about TV in all its intimate details and nuanced performances? Come on. I’m not being sexist! Aren’t 99% of avid TV watchers/buffs male? I am SERIOUS!

  2. Awesome article! I recently moved to a new condo, and I’ve been scratching my head where to put the television. I always hated those televisions above the fireplace but this is a game changer! Thank you Laurel for your wonderful expert advice!

  3. I’m not fussed about the TV itself, but I hate and despise the Ugly Recliner in which my husband thinks it necessary to watch said TV. So we compromise: he can have whatever size TV he wants (that fits in our living room) and I have to approve his choice of recliner.

  4. I’m not a fan of devoting wall space to a TV- ours has ‘living space’ inside a big French armoire. The TV is only on at night, why allow it to usurp prime real estate?

  5. Great post, Laurel. I enjoyed the last one you did on this subject also. I hate the look of a “one eyed monster” in a room, and now the monsters are even more monstrous in size. One thing I didn’t see mentioned, that my brother has and I intend to adopt it somewhere if I get my new house, is a 9′ screen that lowers out of the ceiling and a projector. It’s tough to hide the projector, but there are creative ways to do it. That way, you only have TV if you want it and the room isn’t built around the set. Plus, you get a movie experience when you watch. I hide my 42″ in a Louis XV style armoire, but I never watch it. I just watch TV on my laptop on my stomach in bed, haha. Up close and personal. I once mounted an Ipad to an arm on my headboard and watched it lying completely prone. All that moved was my eyeballs, LOL.

  6. Right around the corner (actually here already, but not widely adopted): TRULY no TV! No screen! Just VR headsets (or some day soon, glasses). Stream your video to straight in front of your eyeballs!

    I’m on the verge of going this route, but a bit worried about how it will interfere with eating dinner in front of the TV…I live alone so it’s allowed, right?

    Come to think of it, the NEXT horizon is to stream your interior decor the same way…virtual living room…

  7. Laurel, I like all of these possibilities for locating a tv in the living room or family room. We have ours in a custom cabinet with doors, integrated into built in bookcases in the family room. It is a 42 inch smart flat screen tv with a marvelous sound bar. It replaced a heavy, monster 1990’s Sony Trinitron. And I am thoroughly satisfied with it. However my husband is not – it is not big enough. And that is the problem with all of the suggestions in your post. They satisfy a woman’s desire for an attractive, well designed solution. Candidly most men, apologies for generalizing, do not care if the tv set up fits in with the style of the room. They want to comfortably watch sports or whatever. Hence the strong desire to have that “recliner” to go along with the tv of their dreams. And I have read your post on recliners, all of which were wonderful suggestions for me – but none worked for my husband. My husband is very easy going when it comes to decorating and chooses not be involved in the decisions. He has always had 2 simple demands: his choice of a comfortable recliner in which to view a tv much larger than 42 inches. I was able to find the recliner for him but unfortunately due to the size of our “custom” cabinet – he is stuck with a smallish tv. I have to listen to his complaints all throughout football season.

    1. Hi Marlene,

      I had this issue with practically every sizeable job I worked on. Yes, most, (not all, of course) LOVE super-sized TVs. The worst were those ginormous (in every direction) plasma TVs that sat on the ground, almost always in the corner. That was pretty much through the 90s until the LEDs became super flat and affordable.

      But, but, but…

      If you have a wall large enough for say a 60″ TV flat screen, it could be hung over a longer say at least 72″ or more console table or cabinet. If there’s room there could be some statement or buffet lamps or sconces on either side of the TV and beautiful art arranged around the TV, but that depends on the wall, of course. That wall, or even the entire room like the family room in my example could be painted a deep rich, color.

      I’m not sure if you saw the “sister post that focused solely on ways to hide and decorate around the TV.” Less than 10% of the readers clicked on the link. That post shows some larger TV ideas. Or, if the TV is smaller, a larger one could go in its place. This post, however, has the type of beautiful furniture I am talking about. Of course, it’s only a tiny sample. I tried to include some more unusual ideas. A super WOW piece will also detract from the black blob.

      But, for instance, if one did the dark green Chinoiserie vintage sideboard and painted the walls a deep coordinating green, the TV would basically disappear. If one turned the TV into a BIG gorgeous mirror with a frame, even better. OR, it would be possible to put a two-way mirror over the television.

      There are an immense number of options, even if you have a large living room TV.

      My recommendation, if possible, is to place the TV on a wall that is not across from the main entry point into the room. Sometimes, it’s unavoidable.

      Hope that helps!

  8. Hahahahaha! What a compelling and fascinating post this is. I honestly and truly thank you for it as it is all new information to me. I don’t own a television and haven’t for 36 years (back to Hill Street Blues days, which ended in 1987).

    The technological push toward massive sized screens–100 inches? Holy cow!– is as amazing as the seeming desperation to cover it up. I am so glad I have no personal interest in this topic, but I also love your post about it. I will be forwarding the link to several friends.

  9. I like to make the TV not be the “star” of the room. In my house, and my 4 Airbnbs, the TV is placed in such a way that upon seeing into the room, you can’t see the TV immediately. I was challenged to consider this idea from my constant reading of this excellent design blog by this extremely talented interior designer from Boston 😉🤣

    It took a lot of graph paper, scale paper models of rugs and furnishings, and my husband’s discerning knack for placement, but each room turned out beautifully. We did hang one TV over the fireplace, but that was before we had read very much of Laurel Home! I do like Sharon’s idea of a swivel mount…that sounds like a good compromise if it has to live over the fireplace.

    Thanks again for a wonderful post!

  10. After we remodeled and opened up our kitchen/living room area the only wall space for our tv was over the fireplace. Fortunately, we found the Mantel Mount which allows the tv to swivel and tilt and easily pull down in front of the fireplace to eye level…no sore neck when watching tv. Best thing ever!!!

  11. I don’t like TVs in any room! We don’t watch regular TV at all, however, we watch movies at night and that’s from the bedroom, very comfy! But even there I hate the look of it. Good to know these new solutions exist, however, my favorite option to hide the TV is still to enclose it in a nice armoire, so you can enjoy the beautiful piece of furniture incorporated with the rest of your furnishings. But you really need a good amount of space for that of course, so sometimes it may not be practical. I have portables for the spare bedrooms for guests that I tuck away in closets when the rooms are not in use.

  12. Laurel, great post! Do you know anything about the rotating TV on a stand/art easel? I saw one in a picture of Bunny Williams den or living room. The article said it looked like a vertical piece of art on an easel until your rotated it horizontally. Thanks

  13. Hi Laurel! This is such a great post. I have a Frame TV and it’s also above a console, but I am struggling as to how to hang art around it without it looking too symmetrical or contrived! All the examples are great looking but extremely hard to accomplish in real life. Perhaps some tips on how to create a gallery wall effect while incorporating the TV? Happy to send a photo…
    Thanks!!

  14. I don’t love the look of a tv in the living room, but currently, I am just “blending it in” with a gallery wall. I would consider a frame with art on panels or doors for my next t or if I move. Thank you for sharing them, Laurel; most are lovely.
    But I would not get the Samsung Frame TV because it’s meant to be turned on 24/7. Everyone worries about the price of gas and oil, let alone long-term climate change. Most of us are trying to decrease our carbon footprint, so buying an expensive tv that increases it is not an option.

  15. I don’t think Laurel’s point is that you HAVE to hide the TV, or that we should try and pretend that we don’t watch one. It’s that, if the way your room looks is extremely important to you (and I would guess from the fact that they are here means a lot of people reading this fall into that category), there are options. No room looks BETTER by having a TV in it. In fact, almost every room would look better without one. Not everyone cares about that, but there are certainly a lot of people that do. I for one appreciate that she researched and presented options. My husband lives and dies by his TV, so we have monstrous ones in several rooms. I don’t love it, and have used several of these ideas before because I like my rooms to be pretty. They can be pretty with a TV, but in my mind, my rooms are prettIER without seeing it. Personal opinion, of course, but I’m not trying to pretend we don’t have one. It’s not any harder to camouflage it, so I do.

  16. Hi Laurel,
    I don’t mind seeing a tv in a room. What I don’t care for is seeing them above a fireplace & so high they practically reach the ceiling. Ouch, my neck! Also I don’t like seeing all the cords. Regardless if it’s on a wall or on a console. Hide your cords people.
    If someone feels the need to conceal their tv, my favorite method is to paint the wall behind it dark. Then it just blends in.

  17. I see nothing wrong with having a TV in a living room, etc. This is 2022. Everyone watches TV (and probably a bit too much).
    I make no pretense of hiding my large TV. I, like the majority of people, enjoy a more casual lifestyle these days. But these are very clever, interesting ways to hide a TV if you’d like.

  18. I am out there with Alison. I don’t see a huge problem with having a tv in the living room. A couple of caveats, though. It shouldn’t be the focal point of the room and it shouldn’t be so huge that it dominates the space. I have a largish 20 x 24 foot living room. The room has a large fireplace with bookshelves on each side and a number of paintings. That is the focal point of the room. Our flat screen tv is positioned off to the side of the room for comfortable viewing. It is what it is, no pretense. All in all, the room is comfortable to use and, if not grand and elegant, it’s civilized.

  19. It doesn’t bother me either. We’re retirees and, when we moved into our condo, we decided that we wanted to actually live in the living room, and we have our tv over the fireplace. I would seriously consider a Samsung with their innovative art screens when we need to replace our tv. However, in the meantime, I’m very happy with our big screen tv over the mantle and our more casual lifestyle.

  20. great article, I have a wall of closets in my old house that we added when we remodeled on the north wall. it is a cold wall, the house had no closets and I decided that was a perfect place for closets. one of them houses the TV, doors are old, when closed they look like paneling along with the coat closet. I have never been a fan of the tv in the living room but sometimes we have no choice, in this case it is a perfect solution.

  21. I’m probably out on my own here, however I don’t see what is so bad about having a TV in the room. Yes, they are a black hole but also a fact of life. Pretty much everyone spends hours in front of the TV no matter how much they say they don’t. If the room is welcoming, comfortable and with good ambiance what difference does an uncovered TV make? I get it that a TV would look inappropriate in a room full of priceless antiques but who is going to be watching in that room anyway? The ideal screen height is eye level when seated so many TVs are not wall mounted. Mine sits on a walnut buffet in the family room for easy viewing.

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Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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