Use a frame to disguise TVs

June 04, 2005|by CHRISTINE BRUN /Copley News Service

Considering that we average six hours a day in front of our TV sets, it's no wonder that we spend as much time and attention on choosing our media equipment as we do our cars. And just as high gas prices might affect how far a family will travel this summer, the reality of a large-screen TV in a small home may be limited by lack of space. A huge electronic item can overwhelm a well-designed room. But there are ways around this dilemma.

The big advantage of a flat-screen TV in a small room or home is obvious: It conserves floor space. But aesthetics are an issue, too. No one really warms to the idea of the television being the focus of the room. It doesn't belong over a fireplace, and you probably don't want it to be visible from the dining room as you entertain. The electronic nature of the set can be at odds with the sense of warmth and comfort you've created with the softer aspects of your interior.


One of the latest developments that can ease this design discomfort comes from a company that has introduced the first upscale plasma television frame. Eli Wilner & Co., a leading New York City art gallery, has designed a frame that is now available in more than 3,000 styles and is specifically designed to fit any interior and blend with the surrounding furnishings.

"Plasma televisions are staple items in most of our clients' homes, but many clients found that their televisions didn't blend with their other art and collectibles," said Eli Wilner, founder and CEO. "We knew we could solve that issue by creating synergy in their homes with our large selection of frames.

"These frames make the television experience truly come to life, and they take away some of that harsh electronic look. Home theater systems should blend with the rest of your home, not stick out."

The Wilner company is a huge resource for antique American and European frames, and they have reframed 27 paintings for the White House. Eli Wilner founded the company in the early 1980s with the purpose of educating curators, collectors and dealers about the importance of the antique frame. The company is currently working with Beyond Media to create a screen-saver with the effect of actual art images for those who are interested in looking at art when their television is not on.

Another possible solution is to recess the TV set into the wall. A piece of art can then be mounted onto a custom-designed piece of hardware that slides across the screen and hides it when the set isn't turned on. This way is costlier but saves space as it contributes to the beauty of the room.

Christine Brun, ASID, is a San Diego-based interior designer and the author of "Big Ideas for Small Spaces." Send questions and comments to her by e-mail at or to Copley News Service, P.O. Box 120190, San Diego, CA 92112.

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