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1. Add a bit of black. Unfortunately, the big shiny black box that is the flat screen TV just dominates a room. In more traditionally decorated rooms, and when white trim is involved, one solution is to have other black accents and accessories. Here the TV is over a dark stone fireplace; along with the darker brown floors, it helps ground the room. These elements and the black accents in the pillows and side table help to bounce your eye around the room and balance the black hole of the tv.
Tip: Even though there's symmetry with the two yellow chairs and the two urns on the mantle, the asymmetry of tall shelving on the left and the lower cabinet on the right help to fill the room with texture and interest. This helps to diminish the TV as a focal point.
Here's another traditional living room with the TV directly over the fireplace. Again, a bit of black around the firebox helps to balance the floating black rectangle. The dark trim around the windows gives balance to the lights and darks in this room as well. Giving the eye something to latch on to and go from object to object really helps. Color is often a unifying element, but in this case, it's the dark tones.
Tip: Be careful not to hang your TV too high or you'll feel like you're in the front row of a movie theater. Lower mantles are better when installing a TV over a fireplace.
This room camouflages the TV with a background of dark wood veneer. There are also many fabulous wallpapers that would serve the same purpose. This is a great solution if you're more of a minimalist and don't want to clutter your walls with art or books.
5: Ground it. My number-one pet peeve is a TV that floats on a wall with nothing under it. I don't mind if it's over a fireplace, because that helps to ground it, but a floating TV reminds me of a hospital or bar — not desirable looks for a living room. Even when the TV is mounted to the wall, adding a console or media cabinet helps to fill in the space. Add a few artfully placed objects and you're done.
A few floating shelves and a cabinet below help to fill this wall with texture, color and interest other than the TV.
Even though this TV is floating pretty high above the console below, the console still adds a grounding effect.
This space shows many of these different ideas in action: The symmetrical shelving filled with art and objects draws the attention away from the TV. The black firebox, black side chairs, and brown shelves and floor bounce your eye around the room. Symmetry rules, and the dark brown floor grounds everything.
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Tell us: Should the TV go over the fireplace?