“There’s no reason a formal living room can’t both be functional and pretty,” says Larkin. “We add TVs all the time to these types of spaces to add an aspect of livability to a space.”
Larkin says it’s crucial to have enough seating in any room with a television. While a sectional can be perfect for lounging, if you’re after a more formal look, consider doubling up on sofas.
“We love a room with two parallel sofas because it gives the opportunity for two people to lay down facing the TV,” she says.
FRONT AND CENTER
Sometimes you have to let it go and allow the TV to be front and center.
But that doesn’t mean that you have to let it take over the room, says Abbe Fenimore.
“Make it feel like it belongs,” she says.
If your TV takes its place over a cabinet, styling out that furniture with books and personal and decorative objects will help balance the big black box above it. Just be sure not to cover the screen or sensors, Fenimore says.
And if the only place for a TV is over a fireplace, consider camouflage: dark paint, wallpaper or wood accents.
“The look is clean and modern and the TV doesn’t look so stark on a plain wall,” the Dallas designer says.
A custom built-in gives the TV, electronic components and cords a place to go. It also gives you room to add plenty of personality.
Emily Sheehan Hewett loves to dress up the shelves with family photos, fun keepsakes and other interesting objects.
“Take the design up a notch by lining the back of the built-in with a fun wallpaper or fabric,” she says.
Additional lighting is always a good idea.
When designing the built-in, Hewett keeps doors in mind as way to hide unsightly electronics, kids toys and board games.
“I know it’s tempting when you’re designing a TV room to head straight for the Barcaloungers, but thankfully there are many more stylish options out there these days,” says Tara Lenney, who relies on furniture that does double duty.
Consider a sleek, low-profile sofa with back cushions that lift up to head-rest height. Opt for pieces upholstered in performance fabric so you don’t have to worry about inevitable spills. An upholstered cocktail ottoman gives you a place to put your feet up or hold your snacks for a night of binge-watching, Lenney says.
When it comes to consoles, size really does matter.
“You want it to be proportional to the size of your TV,” Lenney says. “A good rule of thumb is that the TV shouldn’t take up more than two-thirds the width of the console.”
Style it simply: Lenney sticks to a few books and a plant.
“You want enough to keep it from looking stark but not so much that you are blocking the screen or adding too many visual distractions.”