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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Re-tune the Focus in your Digital Age Home

It doesn't seem to matter how flat screen they get, whether they're HD and internet ready there is something about 'the box'; and it's not good.  Unless you're life revolves around the TV the simple fact is that these great big screens can dominate a room like nothing else.  You can spend thousands designing your perfect living space, that stylish reflection of your personal, unique taste.  Then there it is, looming large over everything else, overshadowing the tasteful antique Ming, the Van Gogh doesn't get a look in and as for the Kandinsky in the corner, well, that may as well go straight out of those picture windows.  OK, so we may not all have an art collection that's the envy of the National Gallery but however modest or cosy your living room is there's no escaping the big black hole that the TV carves in a room.  And that's the main reason they can be a design black hole; when they're off they're just a big blank screen punching a very noticeable hole at the center of the room.  So how do you 'design out' these technical details?

Old tricks

The none-too-dark-art of television design has been with us since they first found their way into our homes.  In fact early designers realized they were so out of place in homes of the 1930s and 40s that they came in big cabinets, usually wooden and with nice folding doors that could hide them away.  TVs blended in, sort of.  By the 1950s, TVs became common and they were something of a status symbol.  These days they are less prestigious as everyone has one, in most rooms and your laptop can perform pretty much the same function.  The interior design tricks to blend TVs have changed less than the TVs themselves.  The idea of containing them in a unit is still with us however, there are some new ideas that have developed alongside technological advances. 

Cheap and cheerful

The simplest way to hide your TV is in a fairly standard TV unit.  These can be purchased from all the usual suspects and help to frame the TV alongside other audio visual 'stuff'.  They work by splitting the focus in the room, creating an overall feature where no one appliance takes precedence.  You can incorporate the Ming vase or books and ornaments into the shelves of the units and minimize the effect of the TV.  As a cheap and cheerful budget solution they work well, although they don't make much of a statement about the individuality of your style and taste.  No Swedish names mentioned, but let’s face it, they get everywhere. 

Technical tricks

These days there are range of other options and they don't all cost the earth.  Cabinets that contain a mechanical 'lift' device are available that hide the TV away when not in use.  These cabinets come in a range of styles and designs which can fit various rooms.  Some take the form of a desk, which the TV magically appears from when needed.  Others are designed for bedrooms or living rooms.  There is a price attached, as with all things, and depending on the design and the mechanics involved the prices tend to be at the higher end of the market.  As a stylish solution to making a home out of a house, they work well. 

Hidden depths

Television frames are an old technique with some pleasant modern twists.  Framing your TV may seem like an odd way to make it less of a focal point; but that depends on the type of frame you use.  Manufacturers who make bespoke frames will offer a range of options, from luxury gold, museum quality frames to simple, modern stylish frames.  The clever bit comes with the addition of that Kandinsky when needed or the clever use of mirror glass to turn the TV into a useful, attractive and functional item when it's not in use.  Mirrored television frames are certainly one of the best, simplest and rather unique solutions.  They work well in any room and equally well in domestic properties, offices, showrooms and hotels.  Prices on this one vary, but for individual craftsman created pieces you may be surprised, pleasantly, at the competitive options available on the market.  As TVs get flatter by the week, the chances are that with the addition of television frames, they may finally blend into the background where they belong.

Finding ways to 'hide' TVs has been a problem for generations of designers.  Using simple television frames combined with mirror glass or traditional paintings can help to finally blend the TV into the background, in a stylish individual way.

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