Televisions of today are a far cry from their predecessors in both technology and design. A sleek, shiny rectangle that can be mounted on the wall is much more aesthetically pleasing than a clunky box shoved in a corner, but that doesn’t mean the TV always needs to be the center of attention in a particular room.

Although having a television is an almost unavoidable part of life today, there are ways to tone down its presence in your home. Try one of the following design ideas for balancing your living room layout.

Use Artwork to Hide Your TV

tv on a dark-colored wall

Surround the TV with dark colors

The television screen is black when turned off, so what better way to disguise it when it’s not in use than to make it blend into the background? Creating a display wall of similar colors and shades will help the TV fade into the background until it’s time to turn it on.

Hang a gallery wall. Whether your TV is freestanding or mounted on the wall, look for black and white pictures or photographs of varying sizes to hang up around it to add to the family room décor. Use black frames to tie everything together.

Use a dark color for an accent wall. Painting the wall behind the TV with a dark color will create a similar disguising effect. A charcoal grey or a deep, oceanic blue would both work well to camouflage a television when it’s turned off.

Hang artwork over the TV

Although it may make you feel like a character in a James Bond film at first, hanging a nice piece of artwork over your TV is one way to completely hide it. If your television is rarely used or is in a space—an office, for example—where it might not be ideal to display it all the time, total concealment may be the way to go.

Since you may want to occasionally turn on the TV, it’s best to choose a piece of artwork that is relatively lightweight. You may need to experiment with different methods of hanging artwork because it will be resting in front of an existing object.

For example, a standard picture-hanging set with small nails and a length of wire may not provide the necessary wall clearance, so your best bet could be a museum style hanging system with metal tracks attached to the wall or ceiling with wire hanging down to support the picture frame. This method allows you to control the amount of space between the picture and the wall—ideal if you’re hanging two objects in the same place.

Position Your TV Strategically

tv hidden among wall hangings

Place the TV in an off-center position

When a TV is the focal point of a room, most of the furniture in that room typically faces directly toward it. To take the emphasis off the TV, consider a quick living room makeover:

  1. First, rearrange furniture so that couches and chairs face each other, not the TV.
  2. Then, move the TV to an off-center position of the room or wall.
  3. Lastly, consider drawing the eye by centering a large art piece where the television was.

Our eyes naturally gravitate to the center of a wall or the area where furniture faces, so simply removing the TV from that centered spot will go a long way toward guiding the attention of family members and guests elsewhere. The off-center wall mount option will also give you the ability to make a striking piece of art the center of attention rather than the TV.

Place the TV next to the fireplace

When decorating a living room, many people decide to mount flat-panel TVs above the fireplace, but doing so makes the TV a focal point and actually creates a less-than-ideal viewing angle, according to Apartment Therapy. Residual heat from the fireplace can also be problematic and can ultimately shorten the life of the TV.

Rather than following the crowd in your family room designs, consider placing the TV in a shelving unit next to the fireplace. Some homes have built-in shelving, but the same effect can be created with a bookshelf-style entertainment center or similar shelving unit. Placing the TV off to the side allows the fireplace and furniture to take center stage in the room and creates a warmer, cozier space more conducive to conversation.

Bottom line: Even though TVs aren’t the eyesore that they were in the past, they might not be your favorite living room or family room accessory—at least, not all the time. With a little creativity, though, it isn’t too difficult to hide that shiny black box and get your family members and guests involved in conversation instead of a sitcom.