How To Hide Your Telly…

how to hide your television

Bane of my house-decorating life, televisions. I like to watch them (my evenings are dominated by Netflix box-sets) but I hate the look of them. I hate them on their stupid perspex stands, I hate them when they are plonked in the middle of an otherwise bare wall, even worse with the wires hanging down. I hate the greyish, shiny screen when they’re switched off, I hate their chrome edges, I hate them on brackets and I hate them above fireplaces.

I realise that this will have covered just about every single television in the UK, including those belonging to virtually all of my family and friends, so apologies for that, I’ll show myself out. But they’re just so at-odds with virtually any decor you can think of, unless you’ve styled your home to look like the inside of NASA’s mission control room or you have a throwback 1990s living room complete with MFI black ash woodwork and matching leather La-Z-Boys.

(I’m absolutely not judging if you have any of these things by the way; this is my very own – possibly unique – hang-up and even Mr AMR thinks I’m bonkers. Also, the nineties thing is surely due a revival – maybe MFI will enjoy a resurgence!)

I suppose that TVs have become more streamlined – more refined – in this modern age, but in some ways I preferred the wooden cabinetted televisions of my childhood. At least they were unapologetically part of the furniture. I don’t think we ever had a new TV when we were growing up, but we inherited some wooden ones, usually with a matchstick sticking out of one of the tuning holes because the knobs had snapped off. Oh, the days when you used to have to tune in the channels with the twiddly things! When you had to adjust the aerial at the back of the set but the TV was so bulky there was no way to hold the aerial around the back and see if the picture was clear from the front, so it was a two man job!

(Or, as it happened in our house, a one man and three child job, because my Dad used to stand behind the telly holding the wire coat-hanger aerial bellowing at us, asking for a live update on what were absolutely miniscule changes to the picture quality. And almost blowing his top when we, the children, aged 7, 6 and 2, dithered.

“IS IT CLEARER NOW, OR IS IT CLEARER NOW?” he would shout, like a demented optician.

“Not sure…”

“CAN YOU SEE THE TANKS ON THE BEACH?”

“I don’t know, Dad, it looks quite foggy?”

“IT’S THE D DAY LANDING, THE FOG IS PART OF THE BLOODY PICTURE!”

Ah, memories.)

But back to the present day, and the fact that televisions – even the supersonic wafer-thin ones – tend to look like big black holes of doom almost wherever you try to put them, ruining all of your interior decorating plans. If you, too, hate televisions then I am here to help – my near-obsessive dislike of the things has resulted in several thousand hours of research into methods of hiding them or distracting attention away. Best ideas – tried and tested – below.


how to hide a television

Build the telly into something busy. Taking attention away from the television by building it into something very busy and full is, I suppose, a way of almost camouflaging it. My distraction/hiding preference is a huge bookshelf – surrounding the telly with books and making it all very graphic and linear so that the TV looks as though it’s supposed to be there. We did this in our previous house and I loved it, though we did have a particularly special feature in our bookshelf… A secret door!

how to hide a television

The layout of our old house before we renovated it meant that all of the bedrooms came off the main living spaces and the most annoying element was the door to the master bedroom, which was smack bang in the middle of the living room. It really made the living room feel like a sort of large passageway between places, rather than a cosy, relaxed space, so we wanted a way of hiding the door completely. We reconfigured the whole of the upstairs so that the master bedroom was in the old kitchen, and what was the master bedroom then became Mr AMR’s “office” (ie, he stored his computer hard-drives in there and sometimes watched golf).

So, to cut a ridiculously long story short, we had a secret door built into the bookshelves. It was identical to the column of shelving at the other end of the wall apart from the fact it was on the world’s heftiest hinges and moved across the floor on little wheels. Very James Bond and you would never have known that it was there at all until you pushed on it and it moved back to reveal the room behind it.

But I digress, because this is about television screens; I feel that having floor-to-ceiling books around the television made it sort of fade into the background. The rest of the wall was so busy that the (slightly recessed) telly screen looked almost neat in comparison. Distraction is a great thing.

Bespoke shelving isn’t the cheapest option (especially if you have a secret door engineered into it) but if you don’t need an entrance to Narnia/James Bond escape route then you can actually get quite a good thing going using the Billy bookshelves from IKEA. This is what I did to hide my big iMac computer screen in our first house, many years ago – I had the dark wood bookcases, which actually looked quite swish, and painstakingly configured the shelves so that my books were tightly packed in around a central opening for the screen. Masses of book storage, computer monitor partially magicked away. A great solution, I think, if you hate the look of a screen on your wall or don’t want it freestanding on a desk.


Hide your TV inside a bed. We went for the “telly bed” solution in our old master bedroom and it was all Sam from Pixiwoos’ fault. She bought a telly bed, we saw how good it was and then it became the only solution for hiding the bedroom television. We actually didn’t have space for one otherwise, because the wall opposite the bed was made entirely from glass (aka, a window) and to the side of the bed there were wardrobes (right hand side) and – usually, because I seemed to be constantly with a newborn in that house – a baby cot (left hand side). We didn’t like a lot of the telly bed styles, because our whole house was very mid century-vibed and most beds were more traditional, but we found a very simple, angular one at a place called – oddly enough – Telly Beds and they had loads of upholstery options.

If you’ve never seen a telly bed, the tv and accompanying mechanics are stowed in the foot and then you use a remote control to power it up and raise it into the air on a support. I mean, it’s faintly ridiculous and I do laugh at the (weirdly archaic) grinding and groaning as the screen makes its way out of the depths, like an explorer being winched out from a dark mountain crevasse, but it’s incredibly handy if you don’t have any other space to put your sex-life-ruiner.

Here’s the bed seen from the end – it’s up in “Granny and Grandad’s” room, which is quite sparse at the moment:

telly bed

and here it is seen from the pillow end, with the television raised. And yes I do rewatch Peaky Blinders when I’m alone. What of it.

how to hide your television

Other bedroom options are: to not have one (our current situation), the “TV mirror”, where the TV is inside – yes, you guessed it! – a mirror, and also closeting the telly away inside the wardrobe. For me, because I’m such a pernickety tit, the mirror one is a no-go. I’ve seen it done in many hotels that I’ve stayed in and it always just looks the wrong kind of shape to be a mirror. I’d rather just know it’s a telly, rather than looking at a mirror that seems to be positioned in a really weird place and is a shape that no other mirror on earth actually is. But brace for the ultimate answer:

how to hide your television

The Frame TV. This, my friends, appears to be the solution to all of my television-hiding woes. A TV that is framed by a very convincing wood-like bezel, elegant and narrow just as a picture frame would be, and that displays artwork of your choice when the television isn’t in use.

how to hide your television

So it looks just like a painting or a photo in a gallery (excuse the bad paintwork, wires, weird curve that my camera lens has put on everything in the picture above) but is, in fact, a humungous, fully-functioning telly.

how to hide your television

How absolutely genius is that? The Samsung Frame Art Mode TV can be hung absolutely flush with the wall because the mount for it is recessed right into the back of the screen, and you can get different frames that magnetically fix on to the unit. The wooden frames look best, as far as I can see – it’s rare you’d see an actual television with a wood frame, these days, so it just adds to the realistic effect.

how to hide your television

But anyway, I bought one and I love it. It was rather pricey in comparison to other televisions of equivalent size and quality, but you’re paying for the style, I suppose and the fact that this could be the ultimate way to hide your telly. I know that some other newer televisions have a sort of “screen saver” mode where you can display art when it’s not in use, but this differs in many ways; the incredibly realistic picture mounting effect that has shadows where you’d naturally get shadows on artwork, the fact that the set fits flush to the wall, the wooden frames, the variable brightness…

I don’t mind paying more if the design and function are impeccable and this is the case with the Frame TV. I paid £1999 (*cries*) at Samsung for the 65″ – the bezel was extra, but was on offer for £99 if you bought with the television screen. They have an updated 2018 version at John Lewis – I’m not sure how it differs, but surely it can only be even better? If anyone fancies a little video on this then do let me know! I could make one on Instagram if it’s a little niche for general viewing, but there must be other people out there who hate television screens…please say there are…

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33 Comments

  1. leah
    February 26, 2019 / 11:06 pm

    Hi Ruth,
    the problem with this is where did you hide the wires? Did you knock a hole in the wall and hide them behind ? My parents bought this and now have the ‘invisible’ wire and the power wire which hang down – so it seems like they will need to get decorators in and knock holes in walls etc which seems like a lot of extra money when the TV is already super expensive?!
    thanks

    • February 27, 2019 / 4:30 pm

      Yeah the wires are hidden in the wall. You’d have that problem with any tv x

  2. Emma
    February 1, 2019 / 4:20 pm

    I am so happy that I’m not alone, I find televisions really ugly, and all my friends think I’m a terrible snob! We have not bothered with a TV for a while, just watching TV on a tablet (nothing is coming between me and Thomas Shelby either!) but I’m wondering now if I can sort of camouflage one against a wall painted a dark colour? The living room is a dark midnight blue!

    • February 1, 2019 / 7:31 pm

      Haha, I mean it is pretty snobbish I suppose but I don’t even care! x

  3. Angela
    January 30, 2019 / 9:26 pm

    I love this post. My best friend’s parents had, until about five years ago, a proper olllllld telly that only worked if it was never switched off, and of course, who forgot/switched it off/broke it…?

    My current thing is an obsession with everything in the kitchen being decanted into nice containers, right down to the washing up liquid which is now in one of those drizzly olive oil bottles. Simple pleasures! Although I think I am taking it too far as when I am in normal people’s houses I’m like hmm, sugar still in its Tate and Lyle bag, eh?

    Angela

    • January 30, 2019 / 11:29 pm

      Hahaha!!!! Does it take ages to decant?

  4. Sarah
    January 30, 2019 / 6:21 pm

    This looks great, I’ve been considering it. One question though is whether the height you’d have a TV at would be too low for art, especially if the TV is positioned above a cabinet?

    • January 30, 2019 / 11:30 pm

      I’ll be honest, ours is SLIGHTLY higher than I’d have it if I wasn’t hanging it as art. But I think that the wall light positioning makes it look quite purposeful and the sideboard below it is quite large and high so it makes sense in the room. I think you have to choose the height quite carefully! x

  5. Nina
    January 30, 2019 / 5:26 pm

    Yes, I’m with you totally. I hate large wall mounted tv’s too…. when you’ve gone to so much design effort and put lots of time and thought and money into a room and then this ruddy great plastic thing ruins the whole look, I despair….yours seems like a good option. Really the men just need a cave, basement, shed, box etc etc, you get my drift, to erect their plastic golf/football viewing platforms into and us design led lady weirdos can be left to a good book and glass of cold white wine in another (aesthetically pleasing) room. Sans Plasma.

    • January 30, 2019 / 11:31 pm

      Sounds like a great idea to me! x

  6. Tracey
    January 30, 2019 / 1:29 pm

    Peaky Blinders! a guilty pleasure of mine also. Tom Hardy AND Cillian, jeeesus. First episode with Cillian on a big black horse, I was hooked. Me, to the Mr. “don’t you have something else to do?” so I can watch without distraction and fawn away.

    • January 30, 2019 / 3:20 pm

      By the final series I was actually making involuntary noises when he came on the screen.

      • January 30, 2019 / 3:21 pm

        Just realised how that sounds. You know what I meant. Hahahaha.

  7. Sophie
    January 30, 2019 / 10:14 am

    The secret room in your old house, who knew!!

    I have the most beautiful vintage teak curved corner cabinet my tv sits on, the screen is 32″ (tiddly by today’s standards) but I don’t think I could cope with a bigger screen aesthetically. #firstworldproblems.

  8. Anon
    January 30, 2019 / 9:43 am

    I saw a program where the family put two-way glass in front of the tv so when it wasn’r in use it just looked like a mirror!

  9. January 30, 2019 / 8:58 am

    Love it. We considered various options, projectors and the tv that matches the wall behind it, but in the end I painted the entire room a very dark colour so it just blends in!

  10. Jane F
    January 30, 2019 / 8:26 am

    I hate TV cords with a passion! Especially when you have one power socket and all the riff raff that comes with watching TV now needs to be plugged in to a power board – the cords are endless! We don’t have the means to hide them in a wall recess, but your frame TV is fabulous.
    BTW – A quick glance at the title of this post made me think you were writing about “how to hide your belly”!!

    • January 30, 2019 / 10:32 am

      Well that also would have been a useful post. x

  11. Sevda
    January 29, 2019 / 7:19 pm

    I’m a Joey, what do you point the furniture at if you don’t have a telly.

    I remember changing the dial. I grew up in 2 channel Ireland and remember getting the 2nd channel.

    I was maybe 11 when we got a colour normende one which lasted 20 years. You repaired tellys then. No telly for a week was torture.

    It was when we got the colour telly that I realized Bosco has red hair.

    Memories of my Dad telling us to bring the chairs right back in case we went blind!

    • January 30, 2019 / 12:29 am

      Hahahaha!!!! “You’ll get square eyes.”

  12. Alex
    January 29, 2019 / 6:42 pm

    Looks beautiful. Thanks for sharing! I’d definitely consider getting a Frame TV now.

    But doesn’t that plant drive you mad there? :-) xx

    • January 30, 2019 / 12:30 am

      I shifted it slightly for the photo. It makes the picture look more realistic, don’t you think? I actually only budged it an inch or two, a bit of overlap doesn’t bother me! : )

  13. Andrea
    January 29, 2019 / 6:16 pm

    Loved this post!! We have a large television in our bedroom and I hate it. It looks so out of place with the paintings. On top of that, I’m pretty sure my fella put some sort of lock on it because I can’t get Netflix and so it’s sports in the bedroom and living room.

    Side note: Mr. AMR watches golf? You are joking yes? Would also love to get more book recommendations from you :)

    • January 30, 2019 / 12:31 am

      Occasionally he watches sport. But to be honest he doesn’t get much time to, once I’ve thought of loads of jobs that need to be done! : )

  14. Farah
    January 29, 2019 / 5:28 pm

    Our Frame TV was the only thing broken by the movers and so has forced a reconsideration on our part. Currently testing out having a projector in the living room but in order to test it and not cut into walls to hide the thing it is a hideous eyesore propped on an old well loved but decidedly unchic cabinet that was in my room as a child. Have you considered the projector? This one we are trying is rather large and has to be a certain distance and placement from the wall so not awesome but i hear a new one is coming out that is vastly smaller and can be placed on say a bookcase…..actually right in front of the wall its being projected on. This seems ideal if it is in fact ever on offer. Its amazing for movie night but decidedly bizarre for kids watching cartoons etc… as it is LARGE. So…we may go back to the Frame…ours never looked as good as yours does though. I think you have chosen a very good picture as its sunny so the brightness makes sense and you placed it all alone. We had ours in a sort of collage with other photos around and it always stood out as a ONE OF THESE THINGS IS NOT LIKE THE OTHERS. Thank you for showing me how it could be done better. Yours really does look chic and pretty. xx

    • January 29, 2019 / 5:59 pm

      OK so we had a massive projector screen in our first flat together, which was a big loft studio with huge walls. The screen was 6’x9′ – which actually doesn’t seem that big in this day and age – and the projector was a really good one, though again, probably nothing like you can get now. What I would say is that it was great in the evenings, but it did add an extra layer of faff. When you want to watch telly you just want to press a button – in the end I found it annoying having that extra level of technology. Also, during the day, how are the lumens now? I mean is it bright enough for daytime?
      Yes, picking the right photo is absolutely key. I’ve found that photos work better than their paintings in the art shop – also we have used really high -res photos that Mr AMR has taken and he has sat there for about eight days adjusting the settings to make it look completely real! Worth the effort though… x

  15. Dora
    January 29, 2019 / 3:26 pm

    Brilliant!

  16. SomeGirlMel
    January 29, 2019 / 2:49 pm

    Well worth it.

    • January 29, 2019 / 3:46 pm

      I think so. I actually really like looking at it now! x

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