Where to mount a TV in an awkward place

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Unless you live in a brand new building – where a predetermined space has been perfectly wired and designed to accommodate a TV – figuring out where to put one can be surprisingly troublesome. Maybe the room you want your TV in is awkwardly shaped, has too many windows, or not enough outlets. Anyhow, we asked designers, architects and home stagers for advice on how to fix a tricky TV placement.

A relatively simple solution is to mount your TV on a full articulation mount that allows you to pivot the screen in any direction, making almost any spot functional. Base models start at around $20but they can escalate the hundreds of dollars depending on the size and weight of your TV.

Installing the mount is also not particularly complicated find the stud and screw the device right in or hang it up with drywall anchors. Still, there’s no shame in knowing your limitations: “If you have at most one picture hung, you might need to hire a taskrabbit or ask a friend for help,” says Jeanne Goldberg, owner of Inhabit Staging in Maryland.

Designer Susan Sutter emphasizes the importance of setting the mount low enough so you don’t strain your neck while watching TV. The only other requirement is an outlet (plus a coax outlet if you’re using cord) nearby.

Install an outlet if your wall doesn’t have one

Speaking of outlets, sometimes the only way to create a logical spot for a TV is to hire an electrician to add a new socket. If yes “Cut the cable” and you’re streaming TV, that’s all you need. If you’re still using traditional cables, consider adding a coax outlet to the setup as well.

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

Calculate how big a TV you should buy

Once you’ve figured out where to place the TV, it’s also important to determine what screen size will work best for the room. Choosing a TV with the wrong dimensions makes the room “look unbalanced and creates an uncomfortable viewing experience,” says Erika Jayne Chaudhuri, designer and general contractor at Erika Jayne Design.

To calculate the ideal size, Chaudhuri recommends dividing by two the distance in centimeters between the TV and where you plan to sit while watching TV (note that TVs are measured on the diagonal). For example, if your favorite spot on the sofa is 10 feet (120 inches) from the TV, go for a 60-inch screen.

Disguise your TV as a work of art

Camouflage is another helpful tactic. Especially in a room with no obvious focal point, a TV masquerading as art doesn’t look so out of place. If you’re looking for a new TV, choose a model with an “Artistic Mode” setting – also known as “Gallery” or “Ambient” mode. Most new TVs have such an option, which will show photos or paintings on the screen when you’re not looking at anything else. Some, like Samsung’s The Frame TV, allow you to upload your own photos. Also, The Frame TV has a real artwork style frame around the screen.

If you have a regular flat screen, there are still ways to camouflage it. Try hanging it as part of a gallery wall of art or photos. By surrounding it with other (more attractive) things, the TV will not be as noticeable.

Let us know if you have any questions about caring for your home.

Hide your TV in a closet

Depending on the parameters of your space, a closet can create a focal point where none was, hide the TV when you’re not using it, or divide a room for different purposes.

In a bedroom, a lift cabinet at the foot of the bed creates a space previously unavailable for the TV and allows you to tuck it out of sight when not watching TV.

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

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

Between the TV, additional devices – like gaming systems – and speakers, you may have a lot of cables. Even once you’ve found an acceptable spot for the TV, those loose cords can become a messy distraction.

Wireless devices like Sonos speakers that connect to your TV via WiFi or Bluetooth help reduce clutter. There are plenty of easy — and cheap — ones too! — Fixes in the market, such as ties and Velcro fasteners the cables better included, and Raceway style Covers that completely hide them.

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

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