Where to Put and Where NOT to Put a TV

In this age of flatscreens and TV lifts, everyone seems to want a television everywhere. My job as a designer is to give the client what he or she wants as well as provide advice acquired through experience. One specific topic is that televisions.

Over the years, I have been asked to design rooms around televisions, using multiple televisions in one room and to install televisions in each room. While these ideas may be interesting, the installations may alter behaviors down roads that maybe should not be so altered. Cryptic, huh? What I mean is that I don’t think a TV needs to be everywhere. Let me explain, room by room.

Living Room: If you live in a space where this is the main entertaining space, and you do not have a separate large den, then this is probably where the big TV will go. That being said, if you entertain a lot by throwing cocktail parties, he TV should have some way of being hidden when not in use: in a cabinet, behind a curtain, or a framed picture that lowers/raises to reveal/cover the screen when you are using it/not using it. Looking at a big black rectangle is not exactly the most interesting thing to do at a party. You probably only want to see it when you are watching a show.

Dining Room: No. Never. You should be spending time eating with family and friends here and should not be watching TV. Enjoy each others’ company and conversation, not a rerun of the Kardashians!

Kitchen: A small one is OK, if you like to watch cooking shows while preparing a meal or morning shows while having your coffee. Like the dining room, please don’t have it on when eating! Meals should be savored and enjoyed with people.

Master Bedroom: I generally don’t like a TV in here. Oprah Winfrey once said “you should be doing other things in there” and I agree. If you are in a couple with someone, time in your bedroom should be time shared with each other. On another level, TV is not great when you’re trying to fall asleep. Your mind keeps racing! Try reading a book in bed before you go to sleep, it’s much more relaxing.

Guest Room: It depends. It’s good to have a second TV, and this may be the place for it if you have a 2-bedroom apartment.

Children’s Bedrooms: It depends here too. Your child should be of an age where he or she can handle it. You probably don’t want to foster a behavior where your kids go off to their rooms every night to watch TV for hours on end. Why not help them with their homework? Play a game? Read together?

Den or Family Room: This is my ideal spot for a television. A nice large den, separate from the formal living room is the best to kick off your shoes on a comfy couch and watch a DVD or the game with family and friends. Make sure there’s lots of seating so that TV watching becomes a social as opposed to an individual activity. I don’t love the TV over a fireplace, though… it’s too high, and in an awkward position. You’re better off with something at eye-level. It just makes more sense. If you want to go nuts, make the room into a home movie-theater with different levels and risers!

Bathroom: OK, I kinda love this too. Once confined to just basketball players and rock stars, the flatscreen TV in the bathroom is fun. Sports fans will never miss a play during bathroom breaks, and movie buffs can soak in the tub while watching a flick. I like the same rules as the Living Room, in which the screen can be hidden or revealed, though. It just looks nicer when not in use.

So, where do you have your TV’s? What do you think about placement? Let me know!

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