One of the first places we begin with when creating an interior design scheme is determining the activities that will be going on in the space. If television viewing is going to be an important part of the needed functionality, then we have many factors to consider. Knowing how to place a TV in a room requires a complete understanding of the available space, the size of the TV, how the homeowners view the TV and how the TV will fit into the rest of the design scheme.
Recent interior design trends can make placing a television even more complicated. Preferences toward great rooms rather than separate living and family rooms means the TV shares another focal point in the space, usually a fireplace. Competing focal points make creating a balanced design scheme a challenge. Also, the move to more open concept home design means there are fewer walls to place a TV against. TVs do not float! They need either a wall or a piece of furniture for placement, plus a way to hide the ugly cords. With wall space coming at a premium it can be difficult to find an appropriate spot for TV viewing.
Another design aspect to consider is that as TVs get larger, they take up more visual space. And, when they are not on, they can turn into black holes! We mitigate this issue by either hiding the TV behind cabinetry, or by hanging a collection around it to offer visual interest when the screen is dormant. There are applications that allow you to show your photo stream or place a decorative image on the screen; however your TV must be on for those to have impact.
Finally, it is important to consider how the TV will be watched and by whom. Is the TV for family time, entertaining or quiet, nightly relaxing? Do you sit up, lie down, or even hang out on the floor when you watch TV? How many people do you need to seat? If you and your family have regular movie nights, you will need more seating suitable for viewing. If you live alone, perhaps one comfortable spot is enough. Depending upon what is needed, you may end up with asymmetrical furniture placement or an unusual spot for your TV to accommodate your viewing needs.
Shared Focal Points: Hanging a TV Above a Fireplace
A popular solution to the conflicting focal points issue is to hang the TV above the fireplace. Unfortunately, this design can make television viewing uncomfortable with the TV being set too high. We have found that this placement works in large rooms where the furniture can be arranged far enough way to keep viewers from having to strain their necks. Also, placing a TV too close to the heat source can cause damage. We determine the appropriate hanging height by considering the size of the firebox, the placement of the mantel if there is one, and then some breathing room for heat dispersion. When we are remodeling or building a new home, this design concept can be implemented much more easily than when we are trying to fit it into an existing space.
For the home pictured above, we were able to place the TV above the fireplace in a great room adjacent to the kitchen. The space is large enough to provide comfortable viewing, as well as allow the TV to be seen from the eating area. Since the TV shares space with the main architectural focal point of the room, we were able to create a seating arrangement that allowed the homeowners to enjoy all of the activities they planned for that space – enjoying the fireplace, watching the TV and chatting with family members and visitors.
In another design project, we hung the TV on a large stone fireplace wall with no mantel. The size of the space allowed us to place the TV far enough away from the heat source while providing comfortable viewing. The homeowners were able to sit in chairs or lay down on long sofas when watching TV, and the placement also allowed for easy use while entertaining a crowd.
Using a TV as a Secondary Focal Point
In the home pictured above, our client did not want the TV to be the main focal point in her great room. Instead, she had a favorite piece of art that she wanted to highlight above the fireplace. Since she was building a new home, we were able to integrate custom cabinetry on either side of the fireplace, one of which would house the TV. We chose to keep the nook open; however the TV was placed on a bracket that could be pulled out and angled for comfortable viewing, then pushed back in when not in use. The other open shelving and large space above the TV provided a place for large accessories that would distract from the black screen. Finally, though our client lives on her own, the seating arrangement was created to accommodate visits from her family.
TVs as the Central Focal Point:
In the project shown above, we were asked to design a basement for family TV time. Since the TV was the focal point of the room, the functionality of the rest of the space was created around it. The placement of the TV was chosen to allow flow from the entrance to the game room, as well as comfortable viewing from a counter-height bar space. Seating was chosen to accommodate the whole family, and we even provided side tables that wrapped under the couch to bring the useable surface closer to the seating. To balance the wall space, we added a piece of furniture and accessories, which grounded the TV.
Television viewing has become a central design consideration in today’s homes. Understanding how the TV will work with the available space, how it will be watched and who will be watching it all need to be factored into where it is placed. Creating a cohesive, balanced and comfortable interior design scheme is always the goal. If you are struggling with placing a TV in your home, send us an email, or give us a call at 317.253.8986. We’d be happy to help.
Ever wonder how the professionals go about making those gorgeous holiday fireplace mantle designs you see in the stores and magazines, and on Houzz?
We have some easy tips for you on how to decorate a fireplace mantle for Christmas:
1) Start with a clean slate
Take everything off your mantle and put it all away for the season. The point of holiday decorating is to take a break from your everyday look! Unpacking those family photos, candlesticks and other regular accessories in January will make them seem fresh and new again.
2) Compliment the tree
If you have a Christmas tree in the same room as the mantle, make sure their themes compliment each other. Bring the same color context into both through elements such as ornaments, trim, or ribbon. Repeating the look from tree to mantle ensures the two relate and blend, creating a happy family with one another.
3) One of the few times fake is good
At Hoskins Interior Design, we do not recommend fresh greenery for your mantle décor if you plan to use your fireplace. The branches dry easily and could start a fire! Instead, invest in high quality imitation greenery that will add the richness of fresh with out the hazards. The well-made decoration will holdup for years and comes in a variety of looks, from magnolia and white pine, to poinsettia and balsam fir. You can use fresh fruit to compliment your greenery such as pomegranates and oranges. However you will want to keep an eye out after 2-3 weeks to catch them before they rot or mold.
4) The holidays are no time for the sparse look
Once you decide upon a theme fully commit to it! Create a lush and full look. Going spare is not a great idea on a fireplace mantel as it tends to look underdone rather than sleek.
5) To stocking or not to stocking
While some homeowners like to include Christmas stockings on their mantles, they are not a necessity unless they are integrated with the look of tree. We feel it is best to place the stockings out on Christmas eve, take them down and let Santa fill them once the kiddos are off to bed, and then keep them down for the rest of the holiday.
6) There is always room for a pop of color
Within Christmas décor, pops of color are particularly welcome. The green of the fir tree looks great with the colors of the holiday. You can bring in a natural look through high quality silk flowers like poinsettias, roses or hydrangeas, or through high quality imitation fruit. Wired ribbon comes in many colors, widths and textures and is a gorgeous way to bring some “spectacular” to your design for minimal investment. What is your theme – Santa? Candy? Birds? Garlands? Use that theme to bring some color to your mantle design.
7) Last but certainly not least – be safe.
However you chose to decorate a fireplace mantle for Christmas, make sure you are putting safety first. Do not dangle heavy elements that can be easily pulled off by little hands – or pets for that matter. Do not include lit candles without enclosures and constant supervision. And, as we mentioned earlier, watch for easily ignitable materials if you plan to use your fireplace. There is no better way to ruin a holiday than to burn your house down.
We’d love to hear about your favorite holiday mantle decorations. Leave a comment below! Or you can reach out to us via email or by calling 317.253.8986.
Wainscoting and paneling, moldings and coffered ceilings, door casings and fireplace mantles—the architectural details of your home can bring your interior design scheme to the next level. However, the key to successfully integrating architectural finishes comes from a mix of scale, balance and experience.
Buildings have styles. Just because you see a picture of another room that you like does not mean that exact look will make sense in your home. The design element choices you make for your space are not arbitrary—they are dictated by the building itself and the style direction you set. It is important to bring in architectural details that compliment your home, bringing a cohesive feel to the space. A mish mash of designs is not visually pleasing! Below we offer tips on how to include architectural details in a cohesive interior design plan.
Determine Your Style:
Whether you are building from scratch or designing for an existing space, it is important to understand the style elements of your home. For the newly-built home pictured above and below, the homeowner and the builder, Leonard Watson with Artisan Homes, brought us in to help ensure that the French country style they wanted to create was supported in all of the design elements. We worked together during the building process, adding appropriate detailing throughout the house. For example, the intricate corner moldings on the living room ceiling and the carvings in the main staircase balusters added stunning architectural elements that made sense with the rest of the home.
The exquisite carved wood and marble fireplace pictured above is another example of how understanding your style can help you make the right choices in your architectural detailing. The homeowners had chosen Leonard as their builder for his superb artisanship. His attention to detail within his portion of the project had to be reflected in our portion of the project too. Finding a wood carver these days who can support this required level of carving skills was a challenge! Fortunately we found one who could create this French country inspired mantle. We then applied two layers of marble surround that follows the flowing shape of the wood. The final product sits as a testament to craftsmanship, design and artistry in the main public area, setting the tone for the rest of the home.
Slapping up some crown molding that you found at the local big box store is not necessarily going to give you the finished look you were intending. The size of the molding will be determined by the height of your ceilings and the size of your room, windows, and doorways. The tall ceilings of today’s homes require heftier molding—not just for crown but for base moldings, and window and door casings too. The same is true for wainscoting and paneling. The size and repetition of your pattern will be determined by the length of your walls and the other architectural elements in the space such as windows and door openings. For the library pictured above, the design of the paneled walls was drawn out to ensure the style fit with windows, fireplace and doorway openings.
Keep in mind that every space is different. The moment you try a cookie-cutter approach you are undermining the point of adding architectural details! For example, say you are considering adding built-in cabinetry around a fireplace, just like you saw pictured on Houzz.com. Make the investment in hiring someone who can recreate that cabinetry in a way that is appropriate for your space, making it look natural to the scale and style of your home.
Many times homeowners are not aware of the options within interior design, and even builders can get into a rut. By including an experienced interior designer at the beginning of the project design phase, you can tap his or her wealth of knowledge, bringing some unexpected choices into the mix while ensuring everything makes sense. For the project shown above, Leonard’s design of the three-story stairwell called for dozens of sconces. The style we chose complimented the French country look of the home, and inspired Leonard to redesign the paneling around their lovely lines and back plates. And, he was able to plan the needed electrical rough-ins before the woodwork went up! By working with Leonard early in the project, we were able to elevate the look of the stairwell and provide the functionality the homeowner needed.
Architectural detailing is a large part of what makes a home beautiful. All of the elements work together to tell a story about the house itself and the people who live in it. Even if you never see all of the details at the same time, the whole space needs to make sense together. Combining style, scale and good communication between an experienced interior designer and contractor will help ensure the structural finishes you bring in will elevate the overall design of your home.