How We Solved the TV Decor Problem
I never wanted to be that family whose entire living room centered around the TV.
It was the bane of my mother’s existence. She bought one Country Living magazine after another, urging us at dinner to just consider re-arranging the furniture so that we could use the living room “for socializing!”
So we moved the furniture, re-angled the sofa, and turned the chairs inward.
And then we moved it back. We couldn’t see the TV.
As the oldest – and only – daughter, I felt compelled to take up my mother’s cause. As a teenager, I bonded with her over pictures of new Victorian homes and farmhouse chic decorating, noting, as she did, that every picture included a carefully-arranged set of throw pillows and doilies, but no TV. With the idiot box taking up all the attention, how would we engage in polite adult conversation while we passed around our petits fours?
When my husband and I first got married, we were one of those couples who didn’t even own a TV. We would snuggle together in bed watching Mad Men on an iPad. Everything we wanted was online, so why destroy the beautiful clean lines of our Ikea furniture with something as gauche as a television?
Well, then we had a baby. And you aren’t supposed to give babies iPads. They’ll break them.
So, when we moved out of our one-bedroom apartment and into our first proper home, we knew we would have to break down and buy a TV. We also knew it would have to go in the living room, since it was one of those homes with a combination dining room/kitchen and since I’ve heard you aren’t supposed to put enormous flat-screen TVs in the baby’s room.
And if we put the TV in the living room, we’d probably have to put the couch directly facing it, so everyone could see the screen. Which meant we had recreated my mother’s biggest problem with her home, the one she fought against all her life.
However, this time technology is on our side. My mom’s best option was to buy one of those faux-wood TV hutches with the doors, the big, boxy kind that people are now retrofitting into storage units. Our TV hutch of course never stayed closed and soon became a stacking area for Disney VHS tapes in those big puffy cases. But, 20 years later, we can literally buy a device to make the TV disappear.
Enter the pop-up TV lift. TVs are now flat and light enough to retreat up into the ceiling or down into the back of a cabinet. Nexus 21 Concealment Systems offers a variety of pop-up TV lifts; we ended up selecting the Sonora, which has the advantage of doubling as a cabinet in which we hide the Caillou and Dora DVDs.
Of course, the first question I asked was “won’t the top of the cabinet get cluttered?” Turns out when the TV literally rises from the cabinet, you only make the mistake of stacking junk mail on top once. Even when everything else in our house is covered in papers and baby toys, the top of our Sonora stays clean.
The best part about our TV lift? There’s a remote control that makes the TV swivel. That means we no longer have to put our couch directly in front of the TV stand. Instead, we’ve organized our furniture in a way that looks more like a social grouping than a movie theatre, and when the time comes to pull out the big screen, we angle it to face us instead of the other way around.
I don’t know what my daughter is going to say when she’s old enough to have a home of her own. But I know what she won’t say – “My mom always hated the way our living room was arranged around the TV.” Because I love my new home, and I love my TV lift, and I’m glad I’ve finally solved the TV decor problem.