Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The TV Dilemma: TV over fireplace?

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In the family room of the house we are designing, there is going to be a wall with a fireplace, no mantle, but rather a streamlined fireplace surround. We are going to have a small basement, which will have a family TV room, and this will be the main location for watching TV. However, we will also have a TV in the family room – and the most logical place to put a TV given the layout of the room is above the fireplace.

In general, I am not a fan of the fireplace above the TV look. My architect and designer seem OK with it though – perhaps because we have the opportunity to design an arrangement that will simultaneously highlight the fireplace, and conceal the TV. When thinking about this issue, I recently surveyed a sampling of some of my favorite decor magazines to see if I could spot any TVs. Not surprisingly, nary a TV could be found. Even though TVs have come a long way over the past decade – becoming so much sleeker and more attractive - it still seems like many designers, homeowners, and magazine editors prefer to hide them away.

I will give credit to House Beautiful, however; in a recent feature, HB showed how nine designers around the country deal with their own flat screen TVs. My favorite was from San Francisco designer (and fellow blogger) Grant Gibson. Grant came up with this ingenious way to display his TV in plain sight, and yet also blend it in to its surroundings. He positioned it as part of a tablescape on a skirted table; the color of the TV matches the painted doors perfectly. I wonder where these doors lead? Did he have to sacrifice the function of the doors for the placement of the TV? Perhaps Grant will check in and let us know.

Although so many are loathe to display the TV in plain sight, the bottom line is that TVs are an essential part the modern existence, and in many respects, the placement of the TVs determine some of the usage patterns of a house (as Bunny Williams says, “if you want to use your living room, put the television in it. Put a computer in it. But make it attractive!”). The picture above, from the Bunny Williams room of the 2009 Kips Bay Showhouse, had a TV – although not placed in a way that is conducive to watching. It was a showhouse, after all! I saw this room in person last spring, but did not even notice the TV as the room was corded off and this vignette was not in the direct line of sight. Image via House Beautiful, photo credit Thomas Loof.

This room arrangement by San Francisco designer Palmer Weiss seems like the ideal arrangement. The TV is at the perfect level, balanced over a furniture piece that could house the unsightly electronics and cords; the furniture piece has enough surface to also have a tablescape with pictures, books, and lamps. The sofa seems like the ideal viewing distance from the TV. Interior design by Palmer Weiss.

I have seen a few houses recently where the TV is built into the side of the island of a kitchen, facing a keeping room. The two houses where I saw this arrangement were homes of empty nesters; in a house with young children (like my house) I don’t see how this arrangement would work, as the island tends to function as eating area/arts and crafts area/homework area.

When researching this post, I came across some interesting pictures on Apartment Therapy where the home owner takes the TV/fireplace alignment one step further, and actually uses the inside of the fireplace to place the TV.

In an even more logical approach to TV placement, the parents of my neighbor have this brilliant set up in the lower level of their lake house. The 73” TV is recessed into a stone wall, in the place where you would expect a fireplace to be positioned. When the owners have a party, they often put on a ‘fireplace’ program on the TV; so clear is the picture that many a guest has been surprised to learn that it is a TV in the space, not a fireplace. I love this arrangement, and the half moon cabinet on the right is a charming way to hide the Wii and other TV paraphernalia.

These are all good alternatives to the TV above the fireplace, but what if you want a working fireplace and a TV too? It is often tricky to place a TV in a room with a fireplace, given that the fireplace is usually the focus of the room, and takes up one of the prime walls. Blogger Decorno started a lively discussion about whether placing TVs above a mantle is acceptable. People seem to be in one camp or another – most of the comments seem to be negative towards the idea of a TV over a fireplace, but a vocal minority see this as the wave of the future, and a practical solution to the ‘where to put the TV’ dilemma. The image pictured above was one of the few images in my inspiration files that dared to show the TV – and here it is, placed above the fireplace.

Although some real estate photos are as staged as any magazine photo, it is a bit easier to spot TVs in the MLS listings; in houses that were built in the last few years, TVs are becoming more and more common above the fireplace. This photo, from a beautiful home on the market in Atlanta, has a family room in which the TV is recessed into a wall above a fireplace, and it looks quite good. Image via Blayne Beacham.

The same house has a TV in the outdoor room – a major trend in Atlanta real estate. Image via Blayne Beacham.

Brooklyn Limestone has perhaps the most elegant solution for a TV above the fireplace – the TV screen is treated as art, and is framed accordingly. The frame is painted out to match the walls, which allows it to recede somewhat, focusing the eye on the carving and on the TV.

This photo, from a real estate listing, shows a TV mounted above a stone fireplace. The stone backdrop helps the TV recede a bit.

Clearly there were no other options for TV placement in this room, given the sheer number of windows that bring in light from so many sides. There is something about this look that works for me – perhaps it is because the size of the TV makes it viewable from a greater distance, or all of the windows in the room, or maybe it is the sconces on either side of the TV. I might be scared to watch TV in this room at night, though – no window treatments in the room makes a person pretty exposed at night! (Love the contrast of the modern flat screen and the retro phone and radio on the desk)

Another example of a TV above a fireplace, but this is a sleek contemporary look where there is no mantle. I am not loving the speakers mounted around the TV, but the TV itself looks almost like a piece of art, and the size and color seem to match the opening of the fireplace. I like the fact that there is not a mantle, which gives more latitude in the TV placement.

Another more contemporary style fireplace, with a TV that seems to work with the scale of the fireplace and the wall. I don’t think this furniture arrangement is too conducive to watching TV, though!

This room, in one of my favorite houses by architect Steve Giannetti, shows how a TV can be mounted above a fireplace with beautiful results. The fact that the TV is recessed, there is not a huge mantel, and the TV is a good size and proportion for the room make arrangement work well.

All in all, given that I am custom building and not retrofitting into a house, I think that the concealment method might work well if I have to place a TV above the fireplace. It seems like the best of both worlds – retaining the fireplace as a focal point, yet still being able to open up the case for the TV when it is time to watch. I think this works best for a TV that is used occasionally, not the main TV in the house; the viewing angle might be a bit challenging if inviting a house full of people over for a Superbowl party.
Avery Fine Art, based here in Atlanta, makes screens for hiding TVs. They create a framed box that holds the TV; the box can be opened when the TV is being viewed, or closed to look like art. Avery Fine Art often uses antique prints to decorate the outside of the frame.

Ray Goins custom makes beautiful screens for flat screen TV concealment, like this verre eglomise version.

Ray also creates flat screen TV concealment in the form of custom paintings, created in panels and mounted on a wood case.

Doing a quick scroll through my inspiration files, I found a few images where I suspected that a flat screen TV was being hidden by paneling or some other artful method of concealment. Here is the family room of designer Lori Tippins; I seem to recall that this pretty wood case above the fireplace hides a TV.

This is one of my all time favorite family room pictures, from a house designed in Charleston by Jenny Miller. The fireplace in this room does not have a mantel, and the paneling above the fireplace clearly opens – there has got to be a flat screen TV behind those doors!

I have always suspected that the chevron patterned case above the fireplace in this beautiful Betty Burgess room conceals a small TV. I was able to see a private home with the interior design by Betty, and she used two antique doors on a sliding track that could be opened and closed to reveal and conceal the huge TV on the wall.
So, readers, I would love to hear your opinions about TV placement in a home. Where do you have your TV? What do you think about a TV above the fireplace? Are you a fan of conceal or reveal? As always, feel free to send me any pictures of how you have placed TVs in your own home or your clients’ homes. I always love seeing your pictures!
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  1. Thank you for the very pertinent post! I have a client who is wrestling with this very topic as she prepares to move into her new home.

  2. Yes...I do have the tv above our exposed brick fireplace (no mantle, though) in our family room. I would prefer to hide it and when we redo our house-- I think we will hide it behind some artwork or recess it into the wall...loved how one person framed their TV!!

  3. I have the TV in our family room in an armoire- love that I can just close it up when company comes over.

    Of course, it's not a flat-screen because I'm cheap and our TV works just fine (my poor husband- I think he's the only man in the world without a large flat screen TV)

  4. I am clearly wrestling with it too - this post is pure blog therapy for me! I think this is because there has always been such a bias in the design world against TVs. I look at the TV I purchased in '93, which we now use as the 'Wii' TV upstairs, and it is so big, so ugly, so bulky. TVs now are simply a different animal, and yet people are not sure how to deal with them. Should we embrace them? Should we hide them? Should we treat them as art?

    I think that is why I like the middle ground approach - put them in a logical place (and, if that means over the fireplace because of the arrangement of the room), but perhaps set it up so you can conceal the TV if you want to.

  5. Colette, we bought a flat screen just 2 years ago - before that, we only had 1 TV in the whole house! People often can't believe that. Now we have two - the '93 TV, and the flat screen (which I have in an armoire). I tend to use what I have until it can no longer be used.

  6. I agree with the "middle ground" approach. Every family owns at least one. While it does pose design challenges, to try to hide it at all costs is silly. It belongs in a family room, not a living room, which should be decorated comfortably, taking into consideration the needs of those who spend so much of their time there. A t.v. is what it is. Work with it as best you can like Grant Gibson did, make it look its best and then move on. Great images, great post!!

  7. Cannot bear to look at television, but it is a fact of life.... I my last installation, I had 8 to to place...however I draw the line...never in a living or dining room. In bathrooms and kitchens I like to use the mirrors which have a small TV inset only visible when the TV is on. in media rooms I incorporate TVs in custom wall caninetry . I also like to design (in contemporary interieurs) Tv that are side by side with long narrow gaz fireplace, all in steel and it looks ver cool and modern. As for myself i own 1 TV for the entire house!(in my library) My kids have their TV in their cottage (attached to the house)My feeling is when you have friends it is to interact and enjoy each other company not watch tv

  8. Wow ... this is a great collection of photos! Our TV is on top of a medium-height stand, right in front of a storage space. We don't have an official closet door - instead we use curtains, which make a nice backdrop to the TV. For a few years, the curtains were black and white and the TV blended in really well. But I just got new curtains that have a lot more brown in them, and now the TV kind of clashes. Eeeek! I LOVE the Palmer Weiss and Betty Burgess rooms. Beautiful!
    p.s. Looking at all of these images makes me so glad that TVs are not still 2 feet deep!!

  9. Thanks for this post. I think that TVs are a fact of life for most of us in one way or other. So many things to consider and so many approaches. Always a hot topic! Also - if I am correct, TV screens will soon also be extensions to our computers. As this becomes more commonplace it will throw a whole new set of considerations into the design ring!

  10. This was such a helpful post -- thank you. We put a huge 54" TV above the fireplace in our family room, but the room is quite large (vaulted ceiling) and can accomodate it. We just decided: "Look, we like to watch TV, it's a big part of our relaxation time in the room" and went for it, despite my initial reservations. I wasn't sure how to decorate around it though, so the picture of the TV with the sconces on either side struck me: yes! That's what I'll do. Hopefully it will look as good in my family room as it does in this picture.

    Long-time lurker, first time commenter -- but this was SO helpful. Thanks!

  11. It is always tricky building in a solution to technology, given that technology changes every few years! My sister renovated a home in '01, and completely hard wired it for computers, had an elaborate built in for a TV and all of the boxes and cables - and now everything is wireless, and components for the TV can be stored centrally in an out of the way place. It makes me nervous about doing anything!

    I was in a house recently that had a combo TV/computer - in a study - and the husband used it for both. It was mounted into the corner of the room on a retractable arm.

  12. Love your blog! First time to comment --I like the Jenny Miller idea best. I think that Frank LLoyd Wright said that the hearth should be the psychological center of the home. I still like this idea even though, in reality, the tv has become the central focus. Our tv is in an armoire on a wall adjacent to the fireplace. It makes the furniture arrangement awkward. One focus would be so much better! The part that I like best about the Jenny Miller idea is the curved cabinetry that mimics the fireplace surround. I also like the Ray Goins art concealment but would want it to be recessed. Depths of more than 2"-3" tend to look like a box hanging on the wall above the fireplace. There's something that looks odd and unsettling about that to me, especially if there is no mantle.

  13. You always cover a topic better than anyone - great eye for detail, and powers of observation.

    This post gives me some really good ideas for my own house.

    I think the box above the wall works if you want to hide the TV, you can't recess the TV (which most of us can't if we live in an older house), and if you are looking at it head on (like the last picture).

  14. I'm no help at all on this. I think we homeowners quickly get used to wherever the TV is. We worry about how it looks to our guests. I think it needs to be in the room where everyone naturally wants to hang out.

    I don't like it above the mantel. It's the room's focal point and once the TV is up there, you have no decorating options for the mantel.

    I don't like it high off the ground. I don't think you have to get the biggest TV you can afford. I don't like it in armoires. I like armoires and I like hiding the TV but I don't like the idea of using a huge piece of furniture to hide the TV.

    At least flat screens give you more choices. I'm no help at all.

  15. I am fine to see a tv...sitting here looking at mine right now (which I incorporated with the tablescape trick). We frequently expose them in clients' homes, when we don't hang them above a table or buffet we like to put them in a section of bookcases--building a false back behind that section so the tv is flush with the face of the bookcase. It's still a hard sell sometimes but to me it's like putting those wood panels on the front a refrigerator: we all have tv's and fridge's, might as well see them and deal with them effectivly.

  16. Love your post, also first time I have commented. So excited to be able to watch the progress of your new home. Suzanne Kasler is one of my favorite designers! On the subject of TV placement, I pity the families who live in many of the homes you posted. It looks to me as if the design is interfering with the comfortable use of the space and that violates both good sense and my mission in the spaces I work on. Over the mantle TV's only work if the mantle is not too high. Otherwise, you get a stiff neck after a very short time watching. What I recommend is no cover on the TV downstairs but in the main level family room an inset space behind a panel so you can close the TV off when not in use. I also recommend that the TV be installed on an arm so it can be pulled out of the paneled space and angled to the best position for those watching.

  17. This is somewhat quirky and completely personal, but I don't mind tvs on cabinets or tables at all. Seems better than a hulking armoire (of which I have one in my kitchen.) But mounted "up" - I don't know, I just like a cover. I have a picture (somewhere) of a two paneled painting that was mounted on a track that could slide open to reveal the tv. When the flat screen actually happens for the kitchen, that's the plan.

    So fun being privy to your new project.

  18. Thank you for this post. Something some of the commentators need to remember is that there are those of us who live in older houses who do not have a famiy room. (We've a beautifully panelled den, though, and a really large (16' by 24" living room.) As we're looking to get a flat screen this year, and it will live above the fireplace, I really like the idea of framing it out. Does anyone know anything about hiding flatscreens beneath a mirrored piece of glass?

  19. I absolutely love your blog! Each post is exactly as promised - totally inspiring. I will be going back to this one frequently in the next few months as we are adding a much needed family room too!


  20. I've become so accustomed to seeing televisions hanging on the wall or over fireplaces that I no longer take notice unless the decor doesn't warrant it. I do a double take if I enter a home heavily antiqued and then there is this large black looming modern screen. The panels or a custom box would be ideal in that situation.

  21. I think the jill-inc blogger works at Avery. She may be able to give you pictures of their installations.

  22. Sorry, typo in my last comment that was just ridiculous, so I had to delete!

    I think Bunny Williams is right! Put a TV or something that you use on a daily basis in a not-often used room and it will become the new hang-out! I really love the furniture pieces that are motorized and hide the TV within. It would be lovely if you could find good motorized pieces at an affordable price {although I think JC Penney's had one that I saw in-store once}. If I had no other choice though, I think I would go above the fireplace. I don't really have any problem with that, except that some people say it is rough on their necks. Me ~ I'm usually laying on the couch watching TV, so it might just be another pillow propping up my head!

  23. I do not beleive in hiding. Hey, Iam a Psychiatrist by trade so I do not beleive in 'keeping things in'.This is a family home not a model home. Would you hide your stove? We have a fire place in the middle which is the focal point and TV on one side in built in. TV is 42" LCD. I was concern about TV becomming the focal point but surprizingly it did not.
    TV above the Mental will become the focal point.

  24. What I don't like about an exposed television, no matter how sleek and technologically of-the-moment, is that when it's off, it's just a big black void. That wouldn't work for me in my home. The tv's in our living room and master bedroom are housed in armoires even though they're both flat screens and don't require so much space. I just can't part with the armoires. The tv in the kitchen is tucked into an upper cabinet so it too closes away when we're not watching. I read somewhere recently that tv's positioned above the fireplace are uncomfortable to watch because they're too far above the sightline of the (usually seated and/or reclined) viewer. Did you come across anything like that? Great post. So many options!

  25. Thank you for this post. We recently completed our Farmhouse in Kansas and have been getting settled in over the past few months. At this time we only have one family/living area so it is our only option for the TV. It has been very hard to figure out where to put it and the configuration of the furniture is just a mess. Up until Christmas we didn't own a flat screen. We had one TV that we bought at least 12 years ago that sat in an entertainment center. I really wanted a flat screen so that we could get rid of the entertainment center and hang the TV on the wall. Well, I got the flat screen but havne't been able to get rid of the entertainment center yet. It weights so much that we will probably have to pay professional movers to come and take it away!! Once it is gone I hope to replace it with a beautiful chest. I'm not 100% sure that will help with the furniture placement though. I will be eagerly reading everyone's comments!

    P.S. The old TV still works great and is now the upstairs WII TV as well!

  26. I once had a client who insisted on sitting in every chair to make certain a television could be easily seen from each one. Kitchen, family room , living room... the only room that she allowed to be TV free was the dining room, although between us I don't really think that room was used that much. It was hard for me not to tell her that she obviously watched way too much television.

    As for myself, I prefer to hide it away. I love the custom painted screens. I don't ever like to place it above the fireplace, not only for aesthetic reasons but also for philosophic ones. I just would rather not grant it that much prominence. A wonderful piece of art is better there, I feel. But that's just me.

  27. our house was built in the 60's so we have a lot of walls to work with, unlike some of the open concept plans being built today...our tv is on the wall opposite the fireplace with the seating area between the two.

    i love some of the images you posted and think if the scale is right, a tv can look quite good mounted over a fireplace. only issue is size of the room...the room needs to be large enough so the couch is not so close to the tv that you have to crane your neck to watch.

    love your blog and the posts about the new house process!

  28. I am enjoying the comments to this post tremendously - and there are some great ideas being shared!

    When researching this post, I did come across a company that has a product that looks like a mirror, but when the TV is on, you can see the TV. My sister stayed in a new hotel here in Atlanta over the holidays, and they had this set up in the bathroom - there was a TV behind the mirrors (she thought they had spy-cams as she kept seeing a little red light blinking behind the mirror).

    She said that the image quality was impacted by viewing the TV through a mirror. but I don't have first hand experience.

    I think that whenever there is a TV and a fireplace in the same room, there are going to be compromises one way or another. My architect initially placed the TV on a wall in his high level sketches, but it would have meant that the furniture would be positioned to view the TV - and away from a wall of windows that is going to be on one side of the room. When we all played with the idea of positioning the TV over the fireplace, and making the fireplace in a recessed inglenook with paneling, the room seem to come together. Although we are not at the detail interior part of the project yet, I think that the inglenook will have paneling, and the TV will be concealed - but that is the advantage of building from scratch, we can do this - I completely understand the other commenter's note about having different constraints when placing a flat screen in an older home!

  29. Excellent post--you never fail to come up with the topics no one else does--I agree that the best place for a TV is right above the focal point which is the fireplace. I have never watched TV in a room with the TV that high though and I wonder if that works?
    (I can't wait to see your new house!)

  30. Years ago I moved the TV to a small upstairs room with comfortable seating, a wall of books, windows, & balcony view of main living room.

    On purpose, husband was at work.

    Imagine his unpleasant response when he saw it gone.

    Now? He adores HIS media room, upgraded TV & theatre sound. Ironically, we eat dinner in this room. Carrying trays upstairs.

    And we finish movies. Downstairs we never seemed to finish.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  31. I don't have a fireplace, but I still have issues with the TV.
    I thought we had accepted the flat screen as attractive enough to leave out in the open ha ha, but no matter how much we think it looks sleek, it's still an ugly black hole when not turned on. And it never looks good in a photograph ha ha.
    I do not like the TV placed over the fireplace. It is too high to me for viewing. And can heat be good for electronics?
    I don't think having a fireplace in the living room is all that important. It's cozy in a kitchen or family room off the kitchen, but really how often does one use it. It's a huge permanent decor choice. I prefer things a restless decorator can move around, like cabinets, chests, credenzas, and yes armoires ha ha.
    The last image with the chevron cabinet looks pretty. Made-up art work and a frame around the TV is corny.
    Are we going to go back to having a beautiful armoire again?
    For now I will live with my flat screen showing. After all it's just me and the hubs most of the time, and the TV is a part of our lifestyle.
    Great post Holly!
    xo xo
    PS We have an older TV in our bedroom in an old armoire and it works and looks good.

  32. I'm dealing with the TV dilemma right now. Only worse than above a mantel, it may have to go right at the entrance. the horror! I like the framed idea. I'm thinking about maybe putting other frames around it, so that its almost part of an art wall. Wish I could recess it. TV is just a part of our life though. If we hid it behind doors I imagine the doors would always be left open. :(

    Great post!

  33. You can always have a custom installed In-wall Speakers, that will help you keep the sleek look of the television above the mantel with out any distractions.

  34. You know, I have also given some thought to NOT having a fireplace in the family room - there is going to be one in the living room, and also an outdoor fireplace (people in Atlanta go wild for fireplaces, for some reason - believe it or not, they can be used from mid-October until mid-April).

    But, when thinking about the visual I want when looking from the kitchen to the family room - it is a fireplace. I love the comment about Frank Lloyd Wright saying the hearth should be the heart of the home. Pattern Language also loves fireplaces - pattern 181 -" Build the fire in a common space- perhaps in the kitchen- where it provides a natural focus for talk and dreams and though. Adjust the location until it knits together the social spaces and rooms around it giving them each a glimpse of the fire; and make a window or some other focus to sustain the place during the times when the fire is out". This is what we will have in the new house - one of the walls is going to be entirely windows, looking out to the garden, south facing to catch the most beautiful light.

    I barely even watch TV (I tend to read blogs or write blog posts at night) - and as I mentioned, until 2 years ago we only had 1 TV in the house. My designer and landscape architect can't believe how little we watch TV in our house, but my architect only has 1 TV in his house, and barely watches - so he gets it. And yet, if we have no TV in the family room at all, I wonder if it will be used! The room needs to have a TV, and I do have my favorites (True Blood, Mad Men, and the newest addition to the lineup - The Good Wife).

  35. A real simple solution would be a beautiful 48 by 48 inch square painting on a hinge with a deep gallery wrapped canvas that just opens like a door.

  36. Wow great article, it really got me thinking about all does flat screens in the house.
    P.S. - RE: previous post/ It was nice putting a face on the "Blogger" nice pics!

  37. Our screen goes back up into the celing w/the push a button. we also have the firelog dvd along w/deep sea fish, and i like to run a movie on mute according to the dinner party theme...grocho marxx, beetlejuice,white christmas,etc...

  38. Excellent, excellent post. I often think about this subject so I have a lot to say.

    First, I really dislike the idea of having TVs in the kitchen - especially those you showed down in the island. Do people really want to stare down towards the floor to watch TV? Seems very strange to me and like it would hurt your neck. But perhaps because I'm taller than most I would notice the neck strain more. The kitchen is for cooking and enjoying family and friends.

    I don't mind a TV over the fireplace, but would personally prefer for it to be concealable. I think the best example I have seen of this is in the Mediterranean house that I recently profiled. The unique paneled wall opens and closes to reveal the TV over the fireplace. You would never know it was there when the wall is closed. Another advantage of this design is the fact that you can create a compartment large enough to accomodate various TVs of different size. You don't have to make the compartment the exact size of the TV.

    The problem I see with having the TVs mounted completely flush in the walls it that it doesn't accommodate any potential replacement TVs in the future. What happens when you want (or have to) upgrade your TV? You have to hire a contracter to re-build a new wall compartment. That seems a bit short-sighted (and expensive) to me. We all know how fast the pace of technology moves now.

    Like you, I don't watch much television. I watch almost exclusively movies or TV shows that I get on DVD and I can watch at my own pace. I will likely place a TV in my family room and conceal it in some way and have a theater in the basement that is used for really watching TV.

  39. These are some wonderful photos. I love the white fireplace with the TV in it. It's a great idea, but it seems a little low for tv viewing so maybe not so practical. The room from Jenny Miller and Steve Gianetti are my two favorite rooms too.They are just lovley.

  40. Love this post - finally got all the way through and the pictures are SOOO timely! Sent you an email with another solution but for our house I think Jenny Miller's is the best I have found.

    We, like you, have gone back and forth about the fireplaces (we have one going in keeping room which will also serve the screened porch), but like you I see the fireplace in the den also - for the same reason (view from the kitchen!). We will have french doors across the back and have been struggling with TV placement . . . it will be a secondary tv so I hate to have it out there (our keeping room one will likely be in bookshelves).

    Thanks again!!!!

  41. The flat screen televisions can be recessed in many cases- you just have to talk to a contractor who has done this. As it is done quite often, they know the requirements for this. Most of the Raymond Goins screens fit over recessed televisions, and are framed out (and often the frames finished in lacquered and 23k gilding). Clients will sometimes ask for a box vs frame. Either way, the artwork extends from painted canvas to verre eglomise, all original Raymond Goins designs done in our Atlanta studio. We love Betty's concept, too! Anything she does is gorgeous!

  42. Love this post! Thanks so much. Dealing with this exact problem in our antique barn conversion at present. I like them hidden in most rooms, but am okay with them out in others, ie. kitchens- like them on the counter, and a great/family room. Since the barn room will be our great room I have conceded to having a very large flat screen in view. I generally hate them over fireplaces, but LOVE your last image, so hummmmm! I'm going to have to contemplate that one.
    In our farmhouse renovation we had wired the space above the master fireplace for a tv -it seemed a logical place and a consession I made for my husband. But when we moved in the sweet man said "It would just be 'wrong' to have a big tv hanging there in this beautiful room!"... gotta love the guy! It's now in an antique french commode in the corner of the room- not as easily viewed but much prettier! Beauty vs. function...it is always a balance, isn't it?!

  43. I'm so glad you liked the FLW comment! Great discussion. With no mantle over the fireplace, you have an opportunity to put the tv at a good viewing height. Plus, with a flat screen, the space does not have to be enormous. It can be the depth of a normal shelf. Which could still be used if technology changes. Meaningless art created to house a television is off the mark. However, if you found a polyptych (forgive my nerdy terminology) that you loved and had meaning to you, I think you could use it over a television. An inglenook sounds great (love the one at 11bonita.com). And if you can see it from the kitchen - even better. Check out Catherine Bisher's North Carolina Architecture(photos by Tim Buchman) for some beautiful examples of historic fireplaces. There are several pre-Civil War examples that had built in cabinets flanking the fireplace. It's one of my favorite visual architectural references.

  44. After studying all of these great rooms, I think the question not only revolves around the placement of the TV, but whether the scale of the TV is in proportion to the scale of the room. I think that the scale of Steve G.'s room-to-TV is just about perfect.
    The TV, although large, not does overwhelm the room.
    Good luck--it is a tough decision. About a year ago I decided that I did not need TV and got ride of it. Couldn't be happier. (But I do not have little children)

  45. This is always the biggest concern of clients -where does the tv go. As people have pointed out - sometimes being put over a fireplace isn't ideal because of the viewing angle. If you put it low enough it will work (and I think any architect will recommend this placement) but it's something to keep in mind when choosing upholstery. You'll want it higher than not, to make up for the high tv height. I think that modern example you show is a good example of how NOT to do it - very lowslung modern couches with a very high tv. Thats a neckache!

  46. I am not in favor of a TV over a fireplace for 2 main reasons. It is not comfortable sitting up let alone if you ever want to lie on the sofa! I also love fireplaces and would not want anything to compete with what is usually the main focal point. Except for a dose of morning & nightly news along with movie rentals, TV is not something I care much about. This said, TV's are part of life. Grant's execution is one of the best I've ever seen. Both Vicente Wolf and Michael Smith "allow" TV's to be in a room without trying to conceal them. Don't know if you have their books, but I recall there several examples. I have mine on a console closest to picture #3 except it is not the dominate feature of the room, the FP remains the focal point. You do not actually notice the TV until well within the room. Will there be any other built ins that could house a smaller flat screen? If not I would go with a take on the Jenny Miller design. It's beautiful and would provide some flexibility.

  47. Something our AV expert warned that I haven't seen mentioned is the eventual effect of heat from the fires on the electronics of your expensive monitor. Put your hand over and under a mantel on a working fireplace and you'll feel the difference. We have ours located above the fireplace - with mantel - and as long as your sofa is built right you can lean your head back and view very comfortably. Elegant, no, but it all works.

  48. We do not have a fireplace in our current so this is not a problem for us, but I dread the day when it is! I was in a friend's Atlanta home (which is fairly new) last week and we were discussing the furniture placement in her family room. With the placement of the windows and a staircase and the room being open to the kitchen/breakfast room, she had literally no choice but to put the TV above the fireplace. At the very least, I hope I don't find myself in that position.

  49. I recently worked with a client whose son installs flat screen tv's. He strongly discouraged her from placing the tv above the fireplace. He said that he has had several jobs lately taking down tv's from fireplaces. People are finding it too uncomfortable for viewing and want their tv's at a more comfortable level.

  50. We just remodeled our house and built in the garage to make a family room. We had gas logs installed with a mantel book shelves built on either side. So, we did end up hanging our t.v. above the mantel. Overall, we designed (I use the word design loosely) our room for t.v. viewing. We are big sports fans so it is perfect for just us or get- togethers for games. I can see the t.v. from the kitchen too. I don't mind the t.v. being out in a family room but anywhere else I think it should be behind closed doors. Really, I don't personally see the point in having a t.v. in any other room other than the family room/living room. ;D

  51. This is such a pertinent topic. It's like the elephant in the room designers want to ignore, but they're here to stay, love 'em or hate 'em. It creates a furniture placement dilemma when you have two focal points -- the TV and the fireplace. And personally, I don't like the TV over the fireplace, even if that solves the focal point issue. I agree with Pamela, philosophically the hearth is the center of the home, so do we want that to be the TV? Practically, I agree with several comments that it's too high there. The center of the screen should be at eye level. I don't want a crick in my neck! However, in many newer homes there just isn't any place else to put it, with all the windows and open floor plan. The whole idea of the flat screen TV was so you could hang it on a wall and didn't need bulky furniture to support or hide it. In a room full of antiques, I still want to hide it, which is really rather silly, after all, I don't want to actually live in the 18th century . . . I know the furniture industry is always playing catch-up to technology. Companies have been discontinuing entertainment armoires and are now making simple credenzas to go below to hold other electronic gear. This works well for viewing, but you still have the black void and the two focal points to deal with. And for the compromise solution -- the beautiful cabinet with the electric plasma lift that raises the TV for viewing with the push of the button -- well, those are harder and harder to find. Too many problems, apparently. So, the TV is still the kind of decorating issue that hopefully will spur creative solutions. And then the technology will change again!

  52. We moved into a new home and had the same dilemma. I finally had a custom frame and mirror made that slides over our 50" television. I like the look, but the there is a real problem with glare on the tv during the day. We rarely watch television during the day, so it is not a huge issue. At night, however, the picture looks very clear- no glare. Still, I wonder if I might not prefer to have hidden it if I had it to do over again.

  53. I am a traditionalist. I say no televisions in view when not in use. My heart skipped a beat over the beautiful screens that can be used to conceal a tv. I would most definitely go with that option. (I've laughed with friends that have come into the house and asked, "Where is the tv?" We really don't watch that much.)

    I admit, I'm a bit old fashioned. I feel that living rooms should be used for conversation, not media. Unfortunately, the tv has taken the place of conversing with loved ones at meal time. What a shame! The family room is different. It's a more casual space and I can see a concealed tv working in that space.

  54. "Why do people try to hide the TV behind cabinet doors? Do you hide the stove in your kitchen in a cabinet?" Though I can't recall what famous designer said this - I have to say I totally agree! In more formal rooms just leave the TV out of the room altogether. We recently custom built my TV in over our gas fireplace. I recessed it about 6 inches so it is almost flush with the wall. It is built into the fireplace mouldings, etc. I really like it! You can see in by clicking the "My Kitchen Unveiled" Link on the right. Lots of decisions!! Great post!!

  55. Good day Holly,
    I follow a few design blogs and I love reading yours, however I never wrote any comment but your TV Dilemma had me going, I just could not resist to give my opinion... I beg you and I realy don't care who it is, never, ever let anyone make you believe that a fireplace above the TV is ok. As a matter of fact it is hideous and in my mind the worst tacky place to position a tele. In a ideal world we should all have a magic TV stick, you want to watch it 1-2-3 and here it is, finish watching a few shake of the stick and the ugly thing will disappear So with that line of thinking I believe that you must understand my deep dislike of a fireplace above the TV.. I am a fan of hidding it in a armoire or there is one other way that I would like to share with you.For some reasons a flat screen TV position on a sturdy wood artist easel almost look pretty...
    P.S: English ist not my first language so I hope there is not too many grammar mistakes in my comment

  56. I personallly hate TV's above fireplaces. Doesn't the heat bother them... these TV's are quite sensitive. anyway, Mine is to the side on a chest. .. but I do see the dilemma in rooms with lots of windows. Perhaps I'm old fashioned. you did your best to showcase how to hide them artfully.

  57. I am neither a fan of "conceal" or "reveal". Keep that most unattractive screen, and ANY and ALL efforts to disguise it, out of the living room, sitting room, kitchen. NOTHING works to conceal or integrate the plainly unattractive black screened, addictive monster in ANY of those spaces. Rather, relegate it to its very own room.... integrate it into a "library" (which, c'mon people, we all KNOW is never used as its name might indicate....Americans of the 21st century don't READ all that much anymore, and when they do, it most often is in BED, in some other comfy, sunny room in the house, often on a Kindle.

    The "LIBRARY" in 21st century design vernacular is an anomaly, a pretension....put the TV there, with all the comfortable seating....overstuffed chairs, chaises, cozy couches, etc......better yet, wean yourselves from the mostly vapid programming TV has to offer altogether. Of course, there's a place for viewing movies, films, back episodes of what little "good tv" there is...that place is......the faux library.

  58. Just found your blog tonight. it is wonderful. i am having a hard time breaking away.

  59. I'm glad I don't have to decide right now. Our old pre-flat screen TV lived in a built-in bookcase next to the fireplace so we can see the TV and the fireplace at the same time. I know the architect planned it that way in 1989. When the old TV died, we measured the bookcase space and bought a flatscreen to fit. With the fireplace, and the bookcases, and a window on that wall, the TV doesn't really dominate even with it's on.

    Here is a picture. We've done little experiments to hide it with panels and fabric but it's a hassle,

  60. Love your blog, long time reader first time commenter...I have thought of this issue a lot and just could not resist.

    I tend to go back and forth but I really prefer to have the TV concealed in such a public space even though they are so much better looking now then they were 10 years ago.

    Having the TV over the fireplace does create just one focal point which makes furniture placement much easier, but I do not love the look of a big black screen over my fireplace. I would much rather have art or a stunning mirror. I know that if I put a flat-screen with doors or a decorative screen over my fireplace like the ones shown I would be looking at the TV with screen/doors open almost all of the time because no one in my family would close them when they turned the TV off which would irritate me more than just looking at the TV!

    I wish that they made a beautiful frame with a beautiful painting that would scroll over the TV like a rolling shade when you press the power button on the TV remote so that it would be impossible to know that the TV is there when it is turned off.

    Can't wait to see what y'all come up with. I'm sure it is going to be stunning!

  61. I'm with the practical camp of just letting it be what it is, a TV. I've spent years as a designer hiding TV's, working them into obscure locations, ferreting them away in the name of good design. In a kitchen or family room area (at least in this day & age), a TV is expected and I quite like the modern touch they give a traditional space. I've gotten over it and now help clients find the most functional appropriate place in the right room of the house.

    We remodeled our kitchen last summer & opted to put the TV over our fireplace because we had no other option. It was absolutely the right decision. We all sit, night after night, with a fire and watch our favorite shows together as a family. I was so liberated when I finally made this decision.

    Good luck. You will find the right solution for you.

    Gwen Driscoll
    Ragland Hill Social

  62. I'm not a big fan of having a TV about the fireplace -- primarily because I think it makes the TV too high. I suppose in a large enough room that wouldn't be a problem, but if the room were that big you could have a tv sitting area and a fireplace sitting area. Having said that, if you put one above the fireplace, I would conceal it -- although I would hate losing the decorating space above the fireplace.

    Our living room has a large fireplace and a TV, which is in a medium-sized entertainment center. The TV is on a wall perpendicular to the fireplace, opposite our sofa, which gives people seated there views of both.

    There are two chairs -- one next to the entertainment center from which you can't see the TV and another that sits at a diagonal with a comfortable view of either.

    All of this works because our room isn't terrible large.

    Good luck!

  63. Wow that was a lot of reading to make read over 65 comments. I am so late the the game!
    First- thank you SO much for featuring my tv from the House Beautiful feature. That is so kind of you!
    As for me my tv sort of works that way blending into the black- but I don't think that is the way that is it for most people out there.
    Do I put tv's above fireplaces for clients. Yes- I do.
    It is the best place for a tv- not my favorite. But you have to think about the way the room is set up. You might have all of your furniture configured in a way that it all naturally works in the direction of the fireplace. Wouldn't it be strange to group your furniture around the tv and then have the fireplace not the focus or the center of things?
    I saw a while back in a magazine a tv that was recessed over a fireplace and it then had a painting hanging over it. The painting was on hinges on one end and then opened to the tv and when you closed it- it was a paining. This has been one of my favorite options. I love to put tvs in cabinets and to close the doors...but look at John Saladino and Michael Smith- you see them out.
    I guess at the end of the day. Yes the tv isn't the most beautiful thing in the world. But yes we watch them. I always tell clients to be honest about tv watching to me. Don't lie and say you NEVER watch it and then have us design a whole room and have no place to watch tv if you really do. It's not a bad thing. I like to watch tv in bed too! And guess what I like to eat in bed too and on my lap some nights on the living room sofa. Life isn't all picture perfect like it is in magazines!

  64. WOW! So many ideas to think about. Thank you so much.

  65. Wow, your timing on this blog could not have been more appropriate! Great post filled with fantastic images. I have been researching this very topic for days now, and have started a blog (but those take me quite sometime to organize before I get around to actually posting it).

    This seems to be a tough subject that many struggle with, including myself. However, sometimes in a space, there seems to be no other place for this big monstrosity we must have in our lives, except over the fireplace.

    A few points on the subject that I have found so far: Plasma TVs are better to hang over the fireplace, but some LCD TVs can also be used. Check the temperature of the fireplace (add a blower if an option to direct heat forward), if it is more than the room temperature then it is not advisable at that place. In cases where it is too hot, you can use cement anchors when mounting the TV, since cement is a poor conductor of heat it might save your TV. At a higher location to get the correct images for viewing then tilt the TV downwards with a tilt mount feature so that you get the right viewing angle.

    Love using something dark behind the TV for it to blend with, just as in Grant Gibson’s concept. Sony Vizio has an attractive (if you can call it that) java colored TV that would be easier to disguise if the thought of using black makes one timid.

  66. I was looking for some good examples of how to work our flatscreen into the area above a modern gas fireplace (I wanted a very contempory look) and I liked the ideas that I found in this UK magazine that I spotted while on holiday-
    and ended up going with this company to realize the idea that I came up with
    Its going to be installed in a few weeks and I can't wait to see it in place! In the end, we aren't hiding the tv, but simply building around it in a way that it doesn't become the focus when you look at that wall.

  67. the builders of our home put a huge arched hole in the wall for a tv. It's awful. we rarely watch tv so we are talking about getting rid of it and having the hole sheet rocked over. I hope it happens soon.

  68. i saw the house beautiful post- it was great, but my father-in-law's idea tops all of those! it is a painting on hinges that flips UP & tv is revealed underneath. i will try & get by his house today & snap a pic for you.

    in my house, i have just had a small armoire approx 50 x 50 x 20 built & it is being delivered today! when we built our house, i will have to say i was in the no tvs over the mantel mindset-- it would have made things much easier for me had i just done it, but we also have all real fireplaces which i did not want to give up either!

  69. We don't even have a TV! I really hate the way the TV is treated like an altar, and everything must be arranged around it. Whenever someone visits, they always ask "where is your TV?" Their jaws always hit the floor when we tell them we don't have one.. I will also add that for some reason everyone always seem to pressure us to get a TV. Like there is no other way of life. Everything we need we use our computers for (we have four of those by the way).

    So to answer your question Holly, If I HAD to have one (it would involve a gun to my head, lol)I would definitely hide it from plain view.

  70. I'm so glad tvs came out in flat screen. It's so much easier to design a room now.

  71. my issue with the TV over the fireplace is that it's ergnomically incorrect. studies have been done that show that it's incorrect body posture to be sitting and have to look up to look at a TV.

  72. A lot of comments revolve around an issue with placing the tv over the fireplace mantle. I think it should be pointed out that many people decide to place the tv over a console, table, etc. With it often being recessed and framed out (just as original art should be) the room can be used for proper entertaining without the monstrosity of the "big black hole" or used for cozy family movie nights.

  73. THANK you for addressing this!!!! Am partial to the Jenny Miller cabinets- brilliant with no mantel. Also, can't go wrong with Betty Burgess's.

  74. Have you seen the tvs that are framed mirrors when they are turned off? my friend has one above her mantle. let me know if you want the photo- she has one posted on her blog.

  75. Great post about a popular dilemma - especially for old houses! Ours is behind closed doors in a corner cupboard in the family room - but we also hid one in the paneling over a fireplace for a customer who insisted. Looks great - when the doors are closed!

  76. I love the TV where it replaces the fireplace, but not above it. I believe the heat from a fireplace would be detremental to the health and longevity of your TV.

  77. in my LR- conceal, in my FR/ hangout space-reveal...

    I think it all just depends upon the person's thoughts but must say that hidden tvs are my preference unless that's the main funcyion of the space.

    you must check out vutec's art screens!!! http://www.vutec.com/artscreen_systems/


  78. Loved this post because the TV really is a dilemma in most of our homes! And you're right--it's hard to find many helpful examples in magazines because you so rarely see any TVs at all.

    My parents recently bought a house that has a "deep" mantel over the fireplace intended for a TV. However, it was built for the older TVs and doesn't really work for a flat-screen. This is the problem with building in a space for the TV--technology changes, and then you're stuck.

    I don't personally care for TVs over the mantel because they always seem too high to watch comfortably. Sometimes it is the only good option for a room, though.

  79. I want to live in the Weiss house!

  80. Oh my goodness, I cannot believe I have not left you a comment yet. I am so swamped I cant even remember what I have and havent done! Beautiful and informative post as always.. and I have found another thing to admire about you... you are very on top of responding to comments. I wish I was more like you...

    As a photographer, I would rather not see a tv, because on camera it shows up as just a huge black space... anyway, you have a lot more "design educated" people offering better advice, but I thought I would throw in my 2 cents :)

  81. technology and good looks come together, finally. great ideas.

  82. Thank you for all of the comments, everyone! I have enjoyed reading each and every one.

    I must admit, I am torn. But, I feel very well armed to discuss this with my project team.

    One of my readers emailed me that she decided to not even put in a TV in the family room - she has two other places for TV viewing in the house, and because there is no TV in the family room, it is now a place where the family gathers to chat, to visit, to play games.

    Another reader emailed me about 10 more wonderful pictures of TVs above fireplaces - I wish I could have included them in this post!

    Still other readers, like commenters on this post, emailed that they ended up removing the flat screen from above their fireplace as the viewing angle was just too difficult.

    I seem to recall seeing an image - maybe it was from Vincente Wolf - of a TV on an art easel. Maybe I will have to look into that solution!

    Whatever I end up doing, I sincerely appreciate all of the great feedback! I will have to do a post in a few years with the post where I was thinking about an issue, then a picture from the house - how it turned out!

  83. i'm not so big on the hide the tv.. everyone has one.. as long as its not an ugly one.. just embrace it and find a nice place for it..
    the tv in the fireplace though creative was a bit awkward too.. looking down all the time is going to eventually give you neck pains.

  84. Great post!

    Visually the TV above the fireplace is a non-compete with the focal point. BUT, a neck cramp is sure and with 3 young children it will be hard on them. I personally would not place it there. DH wanted to do that in our house and I just would not. Ours is visible, do not like it, prefer it to be hidden in an armoire but that does not work in our current family room.

    Of the images you posted the TV behind the screen is a great option. I do not care for the chevron cabinet above the fireplace in one of the last images. I do like it framed...a friend of mind did that and it really is nice.

    A fireplace in the family room is so nice because that is where most of your time is spent and it's so cozy on a cold night and everyone would enjoy it more there than in the LR (not to say NOT to have one in the LR). I wouldn't want everyone 'schlepping' on my LR furniture and in the FR it's more accepted!

    Remember you are going to LIVE in your home and you want a comfortability (is that a word?) as well as an elegance. As your children get older, their friends will want to hang out (although you will probably have a space for that) and they always want food so it's nice to have a 'kid friendly' area near the kitchen AND where you can monitor the activities!

    I will be interested to hear what your final decision is. So many decisions!


  85. where did you get that picture, 10th from the bottom ???? I swear that looks like Gary Delabatte from the Howard Stern show's house!!!! baba bouy! where did you find it?

  86. Hi - I'm with Avery...thanks for featuring our media cabinets! In addition to placing artwork in the cabinet doors, we also do a fair amount with mirror. I'd be happy to help with any suggestions or more photos. If you're familiar with any of Barry Dixon's work we've done numerous media cabinets for him. Thanks again so very much.

  87. I actually really detest a TV above a fireplace. Not only does it really take away from what should be the focal point of the room, but the placement is often too high for optimal TV viewing.

    That said, I don't see a lot of reason to tip toe around a TV in a room. The two I have in our house are out in plan view (though one is admittedly upstairs in the den/designated TV room). I would though like to find a slightly less intrusive spot for the TV in our bedroom (and yes, I know a ton of folks detest a TV in a bedroom!!).

  88. I love this post. I'm coming around to the idea of TV screens over fireplaces. I used to be opposed to it but more often than not I don't have the option! I love all of these ideas and will come back to this post in the future! Thanks for sharing.. xoRH

  89. My comment is a little late but I did a post on my blog about tv's over the fireplace - I don't have much choice in terms of layout in my house so my tv is over my fireplace. One of my favorite inspiration photos of great interior designers who actually have tv's in their spaces is one of the rooms in windsor smiths home featured in house beautiful: http://www.housebeautiful.com/decorating/windsor-smiths-home

    I like tv - well sometimes i downright love it. And in our home there really wasn't any great place to to put our tv where it could be both out of site but still easily accessible. Plus our home is 1400 square feet so we don't really have the luxury of having rooms set aside just to look nice.

  90. I saw this on youtube and it totally hides the tv above a fireplace.


  91. Being in the Audio/Video industry I can tell you that dealing with TV's is a lot easier now than it was 8 or 10 years ago! They are getting easier and easier to deal with as they get lighter and more attractive.

    As an ASID member we are very understanding of our clients needs and the desires of the designer. We often end up between the client and the designer which is a situation we try and avoid.

    One of the biggest issues we deal with is budget. A moving art frame, with a TV that is sunk into the wall looks absolutely amazing. (Vision-Art for example) The problem is that the TV costs $2500 and the Vision-Art and Installation cost over $8k. That is a big investment to hide the TV - but one which is definitely worth doing for aesthetic reasons.

    The other issue we face is when hiding a TV destroys the quality of the picture and/or sound. Design isn't the only importance to a homeowner - function cannot be forgotten. Because the TV's picture and sound quality only matter to the homeowner that aspect is often totally lost on the designer.

    Done right a TV can look great in the right space. All it takes is a little creativity and of course... money.

    If anyone needs ideas let me know. You can also check out our blog where we frequently cover design related issues at http://www.digitalhomelifestyles.com/blog/

  92. I did a sort of tongue and cheek post about this around superbowl time, link below. Our family room is part of a very open floorplan and the room has a fireplace. We had a custom entertainment unit built with a lift that conceals the TV when not in use....and there are bookshelves behind it. That said, if I were building from scratch, I'd consider concealing the TV behind a motorized screen/art. (Check out the company "VisionArt") Assuming I could get the frame flush with the wall....I don't like the look of a box attached to the wall...to me, it is too obvious you are trying to hide something. Our TV is 52".....and I really felt strongly that I didn't want it in plain view. We have other seating by the fireplace for reading, etc. So, there are sortof two focal points to the room depending on which way you approach it. I am enjoying reading everyone's opinions. There is no "right" answer, is there? (http://www.maddiegdesigns.com/superbowl-sunday-tv-vs-aesthetics-who-wins/)

  93. first time viewing first time commenting.
    I found your post because I am dealing with this dilema right now.

    We bought a home that only has a dining and a family/living with a fireplace in the corner, windows on one side, and a built in cabinet on the other. the only place we have for a tv is either above or next to.

    I am going to pick next to. I decided to put a long entertainment console no higher than 2 and a half feet and have the 52 inch flat screen above it like a picture.

    Why I ended up choosing this option is that most of these flat screens have ports where you could install your flash drive. We will install our nicest pictures in the flash and have it viewing when we have guests. Its an option I think I can live with.

    I will come back and post later to let you know how this worked.

  94. I just came across this blog post because I, too, am struggling with how to redesign the family room with both a TV and fireplace.

    A very interesting solution popped up in the most unlikely place while I was shopping for bedroom furniture, though. Some of the newer bedroom dresser mirrors use special glass and have a slot in which a flat screen TV can be inserted behind the mirror. When the TV's off, all you see is the mirror. When the TV's on, the picture shines through. It does reduce the clarity of the TV image, so it would probably be better for a formal living room with a not-often used TV.

  95. Can someone please tell me in these photos (where there are not cabinets to the left and/or right of the fireplaces,) where do you put the AV equipment like the cable box, DVD player, etc.? I like the picture of the rec room in the basement with the little half-door,but what are other options? We are building a home ane would like to leave the stone fireplace open on both sides, but I haven't a clue where to put the av 'stuff.' THANKS!

  96. I just came across your post as I was looking for a solution for the tv/fireplace in our soon to be built "guest" home. It only has one main living area so the tv will definitely need to be easily accessible. It will also have a fireplace for help in defraying winter heating costs. I have no problem with the tv above the fireplace design-wise, my problem is that whenever I visit people who have the tv in that spot, I always end up with a kink in my neck from the horrible viewing angle. Does anybody else deal with this and if so, have you found any solutions?



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