Q. How can I hide my flat screen in the formal living room? Lydia
A: This is a question I am faced with frequently on projects. The first step is to determine the layout of your furniture. This will determine the orientation of the sofa to the flat screen. I find most people want the sofa adjacent to the flat screen. At the same time you need to decide if you are good with having the flat screen over the mantle. Many of my clients do not want the flat screen over the fireplace because they feel it is too high up for viewing, it can take away from a beautiful mantel or they have a fabulous piece of art that they hoped would go over the mantel. Whatever the reason it is your choice and can work in other areas as well that would not be a focal point.
If over the fireplace my favorite solution is to build the flat screen into the design. One option would be to have raised panels that go from the mantle to the ceiling (with an 8/9’ ceiling), the panels can be hinged and made to open cancelling the built in flat screen behind it. This looks even better when you have room for bookcases on either end and in painted white wood is fabulous. Above designer Julia Blailock created a version of this idea for a Pink Ribbon House with a feeling of rustic elegance. I adore the hinges she chose and how the finish ties in with the cupboard. A flat screen in plain view would definitely distract from the zen feeling I have looking at this room.
Muskoka Living does it right, creating another version of a built-in cabinet with a cottage design aesthetic and farmhouse style doors. Yes, there actually is a flat screen behind those beautiful doors.
If you plan to not install the flat screen over the fireplace and still do not want it to be a focal point in the room than I like to select a secondary wall to put it on over a console. Below is another example of how rustic and elegant design details create a warm inviting atmosphere. The flat screen is on a secondary wall over a console adjacent to the sofa for optimum viewing (I added that line in for my male readers LOL) and you hardly even notice it is there with that beautiful fixture hanging above. Hope this helps.