New living room, how to hide a TV?
September 28, 2019 7:46 PM   Subscribe

We’re working on the layout for a new living room, and there’s no natural place for a TV. We don’t watch a ton of TV, but I’d like the OPTION to watch something - big football games, Christmas movies with the kids, etc. - infrequent, Event TV. How do I have a TV without having to look at it most of the time?

In the new space, there are big doors where the TV would “naturally” be, and no other feasible wall space in viewable area. Are there any options for hiding a TV somewhere? There’s wall space elsewhere, and a rolling, enclosed TV cabinet that we could move would be great, but I can’t seem to find such a thing. Right now we keep our TV on a cart in the corner and pull it out as needed, so I’m fine with moving it, but our current cart is open, and I DO NOT want to look at the TV any more. Are there other solutions I’m not considering? Hiding it the ceiling seems unlikely (right?). What do infrequent TV watchers with no wall space do?
posted by zibra to Home & Garden (21 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I can't say for sure any of this would work for you, but I asked a semi-similar question a while back and got a few suggestions. I never did build this apparatus but I think it would work.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 7:51 PM on September 28, 2019

You could get a projector and a pull down screen that you mount on the ceiling.

Can you enclose the area where your cart is with curtains or a folding screen maybe? If there's a closet in your living room, could you get it wired and put a shelf in there for the tv and get very flexible furniture for guests like floor cushions and bean bags?

Movies with the kids is totally doable on a laptop screen, in my experience. I think you can get away without a tv entirely if you just spend some time getting used to it.
posted by Mizu at 7:55 PM on September 28, 2019 [3 favorites]

Honestly, seconding the projector. It’s a game changer. Depending on the color of your big doors, you could even get away without the screen.
posted by knownassociate at 8:27 PM on September 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

Is there a neighboring room with a good hiding spot? My TV is also on a rolly cart. So when I put it away, I roll it right out of the living room and tuck it behind the door of the next room over.
posted by mochapickle at 8:31 PM on September 28, 2019

Just to clarify, is your end goal meant to be taken figuratively or literally?

If literally, seconding the projector and cart-in-storage idea. Preferably the projector since storing it is much less cumbersome.

If figuratively, might I suggest hiding it in plain sight with some interior design tricks? I've always dealt with this problem in my various apartments: infrequent TV watcher trying to take the concentration away from the TV. Generally, I do the following: position the seating so it revolves around different focal point, preferably with backs turned away from the TV, add art and other items around the area and wall where the TV in a way to blend it in (making it appear as simply another decorative piece), putting the TV off into the corner, pairing it with other pretty electronic items off to the side of the room (like a computer, record player, stereo, etc.). When it comes to TV time, temporarily rearrange the room to make it conducive to TV watching, then go back to normal once finished. Here's an article that kinda gets where I'm getting at. Of course, the realities of this method will depend on the living room, furniture, and definition of "infrequent TV watching".

When doing commercial interior design projects, I'll sometimes encounter an unsightly object that can't be moved, be it a structural column, unfortunately placed window, or simply a code-required exit sign. My philosophy: "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em". Incorporate it into the larger design somehow.
posted by galleta monster at 8:45 PM on September 28, 2019

I think the key is not to look for a pre-existing cart, but to find a nice cabinet that goes with the room and find a way to put wheels or a sliding mechanism on it.
posted by AugustWest at 9:31 PM on September 28, 2019 [3 favorites]

One option (that we are considering for when our very old tv finally dies) might be to get something like the Samsung Frame; it has the option to display artwork as a screensaver during the day. Image here and more examples here.
posted by stellaluna at 9:38 PM on September 28, 2019 [7 favorites]

It's not a perfect solution but there are a few ultra short-throw projects that you place next to the wall instead of mounting on the ceiling or on the other side of the room. I first saw one in this YouTube video by TechMoan where he demonstrated his setup. My walls are off-white so I've been content to not even use a screen. The main downside is the necessity of having cabinet that is deeper and perhaps lower than some other cabinets for the projector to sit on right next to the wall

It also looks like some people purchase or construct frames for their wall-mounted televisions so they can display images and it looks like a painting or photograph. And apparently some people have more elaborate setups using one-way mirrors.
posted by ElKevbo at 10:17 PM on September 28, 2019

I've seen some tv cabinets with a elevator mechanism built into them. TV hides in the cabinet, and rises up to watch(for example.)

I only did a little image searching and haven't seem any with casters, but adding them shouldn't be that hard.
posted by Marky at 12:45 AM on September 29, 2019

We had this dilemma and decided to use a projector with the advice of some serious AV geek friends. I found an older model JVC Reference projector for $500, built a shelf to mount it near the ceiling, and got a manual pull-down screen. Now we have something like a 7' diagonal screen image and amazing image quality, with the caveat that the room it's in isn't typically bright enough to interfere with the image.

If you're really only watching the Super Bowl and maybe a movie from time to time, you could skip the mounts, put the projector on a cart and use a freestanding, folding screen which will all stow in a closet. You may need a soundbar in that case, unless you have a stereo set up in that room in a location that works with the screen.
posted by a halcyon day at 12:47 AM on September 29, 2019

If you have a TV with a tube, it's using too much electricity and takes too much space. If you have a large flat TV, maybe get a smaller one that's easily moved and doesn't dominate living space. I use a Roku USB stick to watch streaming TV, and it can be set to display pictures. My TV is 32", if I have to replace it, I'll go smaller.
posted by theora55 at 3:11 AM on September 29, 2019

If you really only want to watch it a few times a year, could you just get a relatively lightweight flatscreen and keep it, along with DVD player / cables, in a closet or something? Then just get it out, plug in and put it on a coffee table or the floor whenever you want it.

We actually watch TV pretty regularly but we haven't had a TV in our living room for a few years. In one space, we did this by having a projector and using a blank white wall. Sounds like you would need a screen that you could set up and pack away. The projector was permanently kept on one of our bookshelves opposite. In our current house, we have a pretty small flatscreen and set it up in the basement, which also serves as a home office and has a couch. So my husband and I decamp down there after the kids are in bed if we want to watch. In all cases we've used streaming services with a Roku and then a Chromecast (or with the projector I think we just plugged a laptop in to mirror the screen).
posted by cpatterson at 6:01 AM on September 29, 2019

We put our 32" TV into the relatively inobtrusive Ikea Havsta cabinet. It barely fits, so check the measurements of your TV.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 6:02 AM on September 29, 2019

I slide my tv behind the couch and take it out when I have guests. I use it once or twice a year and it's completely unobtrusive and hidden behind the couch. The cords are in a box on the bookshelves, and I only have to move a few things (a vase, a lamp) to put the tv on the shelves for viewing.

Growing up, my parents kept the tv in the basement and hauled it upstairs for the Super Bowl and election coverage. If it's really for special occasions you can just put it somewhere out of the way.
posted by k8lin at 6:13 AM on September 29, 2019

LG HU85LA short throw projector onto a blank wall.
posted by bluecore at 6:23 AM on September 29, 2019

I'm like you. The way we did this was to put the TV in the basement. On the infrequent occasions when we all want to watch a sporting event or a movie, we troop down to the basement and watch it down there. I don't know whether you have a basement so this plan may not work for you!

But I can also tell you this -- over the years we've stopped using the TV very much because watching on a laptop or a tablet works fine for multiple people (tablet screens are really good now) and allows us all to watch wherever in the house we feel like being; in the kitchen if we have something on while I'm making dinner, in the living room if we feel like being in the living room, in the basement if we're dealing with laundry.

(On preview, I guess I'm just seconding cpatterson.)
posted by escabeche at 7:33 AM on September 29, 2019

Short throw projector! We mounted our screen into the ceiling and it is amazing (memail me for pics if you'd like)
posted by arnicae at 7:39 AM on September 29, 2019

My friends have a TV on a shelf under a round skirted table. They just lift the tablecloth when they want to watch TV.
posted by MelissaSimon at 10:22 AM on September 29, 2019

If I didn't watch tv often, I'd just get a wall mount, build a small frame to hide that, and just remove and remount the tv when I wanted to watch it. With flatscreens, even up to 50 inches, they are very light and mounting takes all of 5 minutes. You could usually mount it in another room where it was used more often or just hanging on a wall.
posted by The_Vegetables at 7:52 AM on September 30, 2019

Any chance you could hang curtain rods and curtains in front of the TV to create faux windows? Just whip open the curtains on the few occasions you do watch television.
posted by IndigoOnTheGo at 7:58 AM on September 30, 2019

TV lift cabinets are totally a thing. Or you could mount the TV on the wall and use a decorative room divider to hide it.
posted by fedward at 9:13 AM on September 30, 2019

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