ways to work a TV into tiny layouts

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  • Incorporating a large TV into a small living room can be tricky. While wide-screen TVs and high-tech home entertainment systems offer a fabulous viewing experience, they do tend to dominate the space. So finding small living room TV ideas that house all the essentials while still looking neat, discreet and stylish can be a challenge.

    ‘Now, more than ever, people across the country are investing in or upgrading their home entertainment systems,’ says Rachal Hutcheson, National Retail Manager at Sharps. ‘From high end TVs through to sound bars and consoles, ensuring that your AV system is securely and neatly housed is a modern conundrum.’

    ‘But for a mix of quality, surety and style, nothing beats purpose-built storage. It ensures that unsightly cables and fixings remain hidden but also maximises space for peripherals and media.’

    Small living room TV ideas

    ‘The main benefit of opting for smart TV storage in small, cosier living rooms, is that it maximises space for larger items within the room, such as sofas and coffee tables,’ adds Simon Tcherniak, Senior Designer at Neville Johnson. ‘Built-in TV storage units can be individually designed to meet bespoke storage needs and fit perfectly within the space required, enhancing the time you spend relaxing in front of the TV at home.’

    1. Build TV storage along one wall

    Small living room TV ideas

    Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore

    Incorporating all your living room storage into one area will create a more cohesive look, as too many smaller individual pieces of furniture can make a small living room feel crowded. One large unit spanning an entire wall can house the TV, media equipment, books and other essentials, with everything in one easy-to-reach place.

    While fully bespoke built-ins are costly, this smart and solid solution from The Dormy House, simply involves choosing from a menu of top and bottom sections. Just choose a combination to fit your modern small living room idea and it comes assembled and pre-painted, ready to put into place at home.

    2. Blend the TV into the background

    Small living room TV ideas with black built in storage

    Image credit: Sharps

    Setting the TV against a dark backdrop is a clever way of camouflaging it in a small living room so that it doesn’t dominate the space entirely. Painting the wall black, navy or a very-dark grey, will help the TV merge into the background, so that the ‘big black box’ isn’t the first thing that grabs the attention every time you enter the room.

    And having one dark end wall in a small room, will also give the effect of the wall receding, which will make the living room feel more spacious too.

    Distract from the TV further, by setting it into a wall of storage, with built-in shelving for display pieces that will pop against the dark background. Drawers and closed-in cupboards will give extra hidden storage for other media kit and equipment.

    ‘If you are looking for discreet storage, fitted furniture has the advantage of being built to suit the particular need of your room. From the configuration through to the finish, made to measure furniture ensures you make best use of available space and tailor it to your unique requirements,’ says Rachal Hutcheson, National Retail Manager at Sharps.

    3. Get the perfect fit by making your own TV bench

    Small living room TV ideas with freestanding shelving unit

    Image credit: Future PLC/Jo Henderson

    If you’re struggling to find the right sized TV unit for a small living room or tight space, take the DIY option and make your own bespoke TV bench tailored to fit the exact amount of space available. This example is an imaginative, totally affordable IKEA hack!

    Made using two Ikea Bekvam step stools as a base, simply fix a plain white wardrobe or panel of slim MDF to the top of the stools to act as the worktop. Then slot a second panel through the middle of the both stools to work as a shelf for game consoles or other media equipment. Adjust the length of panels, making them longer or shorter, to suit the intended spot.

    4. Adapt modular storage to suit the space

    Small living room TV ideas with modular storage

    Image credit: Cuckooland

    When standard-sized furniture doesn’t fit, modular units can offer the perfect solution. Whether it’s a small living room, awkward alcove, or tricky recess, putting together a mix of different-sized modular pieces can solve the conundrum, with a configuration that suits non-standard spaces perfectly.

    In a small living room with sloping ceiling, arrange modular storage in a staggered formation, starting low and ending high, to follow the lines of the room. A mix of open and closed storage works well for TVs and media kit, with open areas that allow easy access and operation of equipment and remotes, plus closed cupboards to keep mess and clutter out of sight.

    5. Make a mini media centre

    A TV on the wall of a neutral living room

    Image credit: Future PLC/Jo Henderson

    Create a compact set-up that will slot into the corner of a small living room without encroaching on floor space too much. Shelves above and below the TV will provide storage for consoles and players, with an additional drawer unit underneath to house games and discs.

    Start by fixing a panel of MDF onto the wall and mounting the TV on to it. Then add two floating shelves, one at the top and one at the bottom. Paint the whole unit the same colour for a cohesive look, a couple of shades darker than the wall colour to make the area stand out. Add a couple of lidded ottomans under the lower shelf to provide extra storage and seating for game players.

    6. Conceal the TV with sliding panels

    Small living room TV ideas with sliding panels open

    Image credit: Neville Johnson

    While all eyes might be on the TV in the evening when you’re getting stuck into a box set, during the daytime, a blank TV can be a bit of an eyesore. Hiding the TV away in a freestanding cabinet is one way of disguising it, or alternatively consider a bespoke set-up that includes sliding doors to conceal the TV when it’s not being used.

    living room with concealed TV unit with grey sliding panels closed

    Image credit: Neville Johnson

    Fitted furniture can be configured to cover one whole wall of a small living room, with the TV as the focal point. Though it may seem a bold move, consolidating all your media equipment and storage into one area, will free-up extra space in the remainder of the living room and leave it looking less-cluttered.

    ‘Sliding door systems are a great way to conceal technology in smaller rooms of the home so they don’t overpower the space,’ says Simon Tcherniak, Senior Designer at Neville Johnson. ‘Even with larger TVs, bespoke furniture designs mean that small living spaces can be transformed into luxury home cinemas within seconds, and then closed away just as easily.’

    7. Hang the TV on the wall

    Living room with blue wall and cream sofa wall-mounted TV above fireplace

    Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore

    If it’s not possible to hide the TV away in a small living room, why not embrace it and make the TV more of a focal point. Try hanging the television on a central chimney breast wall, using a concealed bracket to secure it.

    Positioning the TV above a fireplace or inset fire is a trick that designers often use. By balancing the two, it can help give the room better structure, with alcove shelves either side also helping to add symmetry.

    When it comes to wall colour, painting the background a darker colour will help to disguise the TV a little. Or simply match the wall colour to the rest of your decor if you’re happy for the TV to take centre stage.

    8. Fill wall space to distract from the TV

    Small living room TV ideas with TV bench and wall art

    Image credit: Cuckooland

    A simple freestanding TV bench is probably the easiest and most space-saving option for small living room TV ideas, with room to hold both the television and assorted media equipment.

    Divert attention away from the TV when it’s switched off, by filling wall space around it with artwork and decorative pieces. Hanging shelves and cubbyhole storage on the wall at staggered heights, gives space for books, greenery and favourite things that will make the TV less of a focus.

    9. Turn your TV into a work of art

    Small living room TV ideas with gallery wall art

    Image credit: Samsung

    Instead of trying to hide your TV away, make it one with your wall and include it as part of a living room picture gallery. Samsung’s Frame TV features interchangeable frames as part of the design and has a bracket that allows it to lay flat against the wall, much like a picture. There is also an ‘Art Mode’ which will display art work on the screen when the TV isn’t in use.

    Incorporate the TV as part of a picture display, with it positioned centrally on the wall. Mount the TV so that it is roughly 42 inches from the floor to the centre of the TV, which will give a comfortable viewing position when sitting down on a sofa. Arrange your own framed art work on the wall to surround the TV, using a mix of different styles and sizes so that it blends in.

    10. Try a freestanding storage option

    Neutral living room with freestanding shelving unit for TV

    Image credit: Next; Bronx oak effect storage TV ladder shelf, £275

    Gain extra storage for TV and media equipment by opting for a slimline storage bench with add-on shelving above. Open shelving looks less cumbersome than bulky, boxed-in storage, so is a savvy option in small living rooms which can feel crowded with too many full-sized pieces of furniture.

    Opting for freestanding furniture, rather than built-in shelving, is also less costly and gives more flexibility if you want a change of layout and want to move things around later on. And for renters, freestanding furniture is a better option as it requires no hole-drilling in walls and can be dismantled and taken should you move home in the future.

    Where do you put a TV in a small living room?

    ‘A TV needs to be at the correct height in relation to your sofa,’ says Celine Erlam of Indie & Co. You shouldn’t need to look up to view. Ideally, place it central to the sofa.’

    ‘The size of the TV is a personal choice. Don’t rule out concealing your TV – you can even fit a projector in the ceiling, which drops down when in use, as well as concealed built-in speakers.’

    ‘And before you start any work, always think about the audio systems and TV that you have so you can conceal any cabling.’

    What do you put under a TV in a small room?

    If you’ve opted for a wall-hung TV, it’s always worth using the space underneath the TV to factor in some extra storage for media equipment, games and discs, rather than leaving it empty. Compact TV units and benches offer low-level storage that won’t dominate the space too much, so are a sensible choice for small living rooms.

    Floating TV units are a clever space-saver when living room space is tight. Hung on the wall, with no supports or legs to distract the eye, it keeps floors clear and creates a ‘floating’ effect which aids the feeling of spaciousness. Consider corner TV storage too if space is really at a premium. Angled units fit neatly into a corner, leaving more floor space available.


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