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Decorating with today's televisions

February 21, 2009|By MARY CAROL GARRITY / Scripps Howard News Service

I wish I could say that to help myself unwind at bedtime I got lost in the pages of great literature. But the truth is that my sleep aid is watching 15 minutes of the most mindless program I can find on television. Bring on the inane sitcoms and I'm out like a light.

For many of us, televisions are an essential part of life. But for years, they were also the bane of our existence when it came to decorating. We scratched our heads as we tried to figure out artful ways to display or hide that huge box with the massive growth on its back.

Thankfully, those days are over! Decorating with today's fabulous flat screens is a breeze because they fit in almost anywhere and are easy to hide when not in use. Here are a few tricks for decorating with your new flat-screen television.

TV AS ART: Lots of folks are now treating their flat screens like art, hanging them in prominent places. They might be hung over the mantel or a wall-mounted shelf. Then they decorate around the screen just as they would a piece of artwork, adding in additional pieces of art and other accessories.

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I've taken a similar approach with the television in my bedroom. Instead of using a traditional TV stand, I placed the flat-screen television on a lovely three-tiered serving trolley, which is pushed up against the wall. I camouflaged the screen by surrounding it with a montage of artwork. Now it melts into the mosaic instead of being a focal point in the room.

COVER IT UP: The minute I put an array of wall-mounted TV cabinets on the showroom floor at my home-interiors stores, I knew I had a hit on my hands. Customers just couldn't seem to get enough of these beautiful cabinets, which look more like artwork. They come in an array of styles, with doors decorated with sleek mirrors, burled oak panels, gothic wood trim and even landscape paintings. Just mount your television on the wall, then hang the box over it. The television will be hidden under this attractive piece, and when you're ready to watch, just fold back the doors.

BOOK IT: Because flat screens are so thin, they can easily fit on the shelf of a bookcase or hutch. If you have a bookcase or hutch in your family room, set up your television on one of the mid-range shelves, then decorate the remaining shelves as normal with books, artwork and accents. The television will be inconspicuous; just another feature in the display -- and you won't have to spend extra money on a new piece to house the set.

TAKE A STAND: Historically, I've never been a fan of TV stands, those chunky pieces of furniture that gobbled up too much space and brought too little aesthetic beauty. But I like many of today's thinner TV stands because they are less obtrusive and come in a variety of styles. Or forget the TV stand altogether and simply place your TV atop a pretty cabinet or table, like the serving cart I use for my bedroom television.

GO HIGH-TECH: I'm clueless when it comes to technology, so I was blown away when I heard about all the ways you can use technology to conceal your flat-screen. Now you can install a special framed two-way mirror over your wall-mounted TV, and when the screen is on, the picture shows through. You can also get a TV cover that looks like a piece of framed artwork. With the click of a remote, the canvas rolls up to uncover the television below. Or you can use a high-tech hutch that conceals your TV screen in the faux cabinets below. Hit the remote and the screen rises from the storage compartment.

Mary Carol Garrity is the proprietor of three successful home-furnishings stores and is the author of several best-selling books on home decorating. Write her at nellhills@mail.lvnworth.com. For more stories, visit scrippsnews.com.

For many of us, televisions are an essential part of life. But for years, they were also the bane of our existence when it came to decorating.

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