Decorating around a TV is a challenge for even the most skilled interior designers, but it can feel especially daunting to figure out how to place a TV in a small living room so that it actually looks good. While many people consider a visible TV a design crime that should be avoided if possible and covered up if not, others find it a necessary evil—there are those who find comfort in the looming presence of a large flat screen with its promise of endless hours of entertainment. No matter what your feelings are on this controversial topic, check out these ideas from a range of interior designers that will help you to make your small living room TV less of an eyesore.
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Use a Black and White Palette
The easiest way to make a blank black screen fade into the background of a small living room is to decorate the room in shades of black and white. In this Nantucket cottage from interior designer Kara Mann, the flat-screen TV blends in like an extra in a black-and-white movie—it's tucked seamlessly against the bottom of the slanted ceilings and anchored by a vintage trunk.Continue to 2 of 21 below.
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Blogger Liz Marie hung a Frame TV over the mantel in her farmhouse living room that doubles as artwork when not in use.Continue to 3 of 21 below.
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Paint the Wall Black
Sissy + Marley made this wall-mounted flat screen fade to black with jet-black paint on the wall behind the TV that blends in with a low black console and black floors. White walls and a mix of white and pale-wood built-ins create a neutral graphic color block effect that de-emphasizes the TV screen in a clever way.Continue to 4 of 21 below.
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In this minimalist, all-white Los Angeles living room designed by Ghislaine Vinas, the TV is embedded into a seamless wall niche that makes it look like part of the architecture, while a color photo triptych creates a focal point.Continue to 5 of 21 below.
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Hang a Large Painting on the Opposite Wall
In this small railroad-style living room from Heather Hilliard Design, the striking glass doors at the far end create a focal point—the TV is hung neatly in the middle of a wall of built-ins, balanced on the opposite wall by a large painting.Continue to 6 of 21 below.
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This basement family room doesn't have high enough ceilings to hang a large flat screen over the mantel, which turns out to be a blessing in disguise. Instead, interior designers Emily Henderson and Priscilla Frost hung the TV on the dark wood-paneled wall to the left of the fireplace. The TV is still visible but doesn't dominate the room, allowing the rustic fireplace to remain the focal point and keep the screen at a more comfortable viewing height when seated on the large sectional sofa.Continue to 7 of 21 below.
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Surround It With Bookshelves
In this London living room from Studio Peake, a wall of built-ins includes a tailor-made niche for a flat-screen TV. Colorful wall paint, furnishings, and a wall of bookshelves help to keep the TV from dominating the small space.Continue to 8 of 21 below.
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Add Black Decor
A trick for making a TV work in a small living room is taking care that it isn't the only black object in the room. In this cozy living room from Jenn Pablo Studio, the black flat screen mimics the firebox and a Greta Grossman-designed Grasshopper lamp, adding contrast in a small space otherwise decorated with neutral tones and wood accents.Continue to 9 of 21 below.
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Backlight the Built-Ins
Kendall Wilkinson Design surrounded a wall-mounted TV with a wall of built-in shelving with soft backlighting that helps to balance the room and ensure that the TV isn't the only source of light on the wall.Continue to 10 of 21 below.
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Create a Niche
Laura Brophy Interiors created a perfectly symmetrical TV wall with built-in closed cabinetry to hide clutter and open shelving on either side of the TV niche to display objects. The soft beige and white tones of the room help to soften the tech hanging center stage, and the patterned wall behind the TV distracts the eye when the screen is off.Continue to 11 of 21 below.
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Use Bold Color
Heather Hilliard Design used bold shades of red and navy blue that dominate this small living room, making it easy to slip into a flat screen on the side wall that practically disappears into the background when not in use.Continue to 12 of 21 below.
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Frame It Out
Jessica Nelson Design chose a flat screen that fits the space above the mantel for a clean and well-proportioned look in this modern living room. A cloudy sky scene on the Frame TV flanked by windows lightens up the dark fireplace wall and a chunky mantel echoes the golden wood tones throughout the room.Continue to 13 of 21 below.
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Paint the Wall Dark
Brexton Cole Interiors painted the horizontal shiplap fireplace wall in this small living room in dark navy that helps the flat screen fade into the background when not in use.Continue to 14 of 21 below.
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Add an Ornate Frame
Blogger Liz Marie did not let a TV mess with her farmhouse aesthetic, embellishing a Frame TV with an ornate frame that turns it into an off-duty landscape painting—it celebrates autumn but can change with moods or seasons.Continue to 15 of 21 below.
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Keep It in Proportion
Forbes + Masters floated a modest-sized flat screen on the wall of this highrise apartment living room, adding graphic wallpaper that creates movement and a low wood console styled with books and objects to add interest.Continue to 16 of 21 below.
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A black wood slat fireplace wall creates a backdrop for a Frame TV hung above the black firebox that displays a black and white photo when not in use in this Southern California living room from Laura Brophy Interiors.Continue to 17 of 21 below.
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Keep It Minimal
In this living room from Cathie Hong Interiors, a large flat screen is hung on an otherwise blank wall, but a pale wood console beneath it adds warmth. A colorful painting is on the opposite wall, plus sunny textiles and decor give the eye something to focus on when it's turned off.Continue to 18 of 21 below.
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Color Block It
Laura Brophy Interiors chose a strict black-and-white palette for this small Southern California living room, with a color-blocked fireplace wall that allows the flat screen to look like part of the architecture.Continue to 19 of 21 below.
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Interior designer Michelle Salz-Smith of Studio-Surface didn't try to hide the wall-mounted flat screen over the fireplace in this small California living room, but kept it small so that it doesn't dominate the entire room. Minimalist sconces hung on either side of the screen provide balance and ambient light.Continue to 20 of 21 below.
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Add a Thin Frame
Mindy Gayer Design Co. added a thin pale frame around her wall-mounted flat screen that gives it a more polished feel and makes it feel integrated with the built-ins. A wash of soothing blue paint on the wall of built-ins steals focus and adds softness.Continue to 21 of 21 below.
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Contrast It With White
White Sands Design Build hung a small flat screen in this small downstairs living room that is surrounded by white painted built-ins decorated with objects and books.
Where should I mount my TV on the wall in a small room?
It depends on the layout of the room. If possible, mount your TV across from your main seating area. Try to avoid mounting a TV on a wall opposite a window to prevent glare, or be sure to equip your windows with light-blocking shades or curtains. Those with fireplaces often choose to mount their TVs above the fireplace mantel. Keep in mind that doing so requires finesse or the TV will dominate the room. This position is often too high for comfortable viewing, meaning that you may strain your neck after binge-watching your favorite shows.
Can I have a large TV in a small room?
There are no rules when it comes to choosing the size of a TV. Some people feel that bigger is better when it comes to watching movies and big games, while others consider a big screen tacky and prefer to keep it small and discreet. If you are putting a giant TV in a small room, do your best not to make it the focal point, unless you have chosen to invest in a Frame TV that can transform into a painting or photo during off hours (and assuming you don’t leave the TV on day and night).
How can I make my small living room beautiful?
Any size living room can be beautiful, but in a small space with no place to hide, every inch counts. Treat your small living room with respect and pay attention to everything from good lighting to color palettes to furniture layout and proportion. And be sure to finish it off with decor objects and plenty of interesting textures that will make it feel cozy and inviting.