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Flat-Screen Camouflage

Q: We’re not crazy about the way our large flat-screen TV dominates the wall in our living room. What can you suggest in the way of camouflage?

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A: One designer we talked to said, “TV is a way of life—don’t hide it.” That’s a liberating declaration, but your issue doesn’t appear to be about shame. You’re talking about the big black rectangle on the wall.

A couple of designers we spoke to about this problem first stressed some don’ts: Don’t pop in a continual-play DVD and pretend the TV is a fish tank. And don’t hang a lot of pictures around the TV, making it part of an art wall. Some more sophisticated solutions:

  • Build cabinetry around the TV with doors that close over it.
  • Frame the TV with picture molding.
  • Hang floor-to-ceiling curtains in extra-thick linen from Lucite rods across the whole TV wall.
  • Install a roller with a vintage pull-down science-room poster (say, the life cycle of a larva) or an old school map over the TV.

Decorator Doris Ayres (Ayres Interiors, 213 W. Institute Pl., 312-266-2999), suggests installing a sliding shoji screen on a track system built into a soffit. For less fuss, you can position a vintage or new folding screen in front of the TV and fold it up when your show’s on.

A whole other approach is to embed the TV in a piece of furniture. Interior designers Jaymes Richardson and Don Raney (Civility Design, 1300 N. Astor St., 312-640-9529; civilitydesign.com) did it with great flair for a client who lives in a vintage Tudor-style home. The designers dreamed up a Tudor sideboard, had it made, and wired it. They installed the TV screen in the flip-up top and housed the rest of the components underneath on shelves with false drawer fronts, which also flip up and roll back.

If your budget doesn’t allow for high-end custom design, take a look at the clever dressers at P.M. Bedroom Gallery (1120 South Rt. 59, Naperville, 630-548-1600; 535 W. Higgins Rd., Hoffman Estates, 847-885-3899; 1207 W. Butterfield Rd., Downers Grove, 630-241-0500; pmbedroomgallery.com). They are traditional bedroom dressers with mirrors mounted on top, but behind the mirror there is a space in which to install a flat-screen TV.

The mirror is made of Mirropane, a high-quality two-way mirror. When the TV is on you can view it through the glass; when it’s off, the glass is a mirror. Also available is a component deck, which is mounted under the mirror. It has a hinged front that rises to reveal the DVR, DVD player, and any other components that come with your TV. The dressers are made to order and are available in a number of styles, woods, and stains. Delivery is usually three to six weeks, and the units range in price from about $760 to $4,900.



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