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The Experts: Andrew Patterson, Senior associate, Stuart Silk Architects; Robert Lipofsky, Owner, Seattle Sight and Sound

Unless you have a home theater, the question with any holiday TV upgrade becomes where to put your new toy without the space looking like a tacky man cave or a showroom floor. You could hide it in an entertainment console, sure. Or disguise it in a frame. But who are you fooling? An architect and an installation specialist explain how to have a TV without making your space a TV room.

Read the Room

Smaller spaces call for a television near eye level, says Patterson. But in a more open floor plan, say a combined kitchen and living room area, it’s all right to place the screen a little higher. But not too high, warns Lipofsky. Any height that makes you look up more than 10 degrees is asking for a crick in the neck.

Mount Up

“A TV should be given the same visual weight as a sofa,” says Patterson. So mount on a darker backdrop if looking to downplay the TV. Avoid solid stone, brick, and any other surface without a flat edge, which can make installation tricky. And if you’re mounting above a table or other surface, Lipofsky suggests allowing at least six inches of space for pictures or other decorations.

Surround Sound

Built-in speaker systems are an elegant option for new construction and major remodels. But most homes in Seattle aren’t prewired for surround sound. For a more economical and minimalist approach, Lipofsky suggests a sound bar—a horizontal speaker mounted above or below the TV. “[The] echo effect off the walls gives you simulated surround sound.

Keep It Clean

“No one wants to see blinking lights and a nest of wires,” says Patterson. Luckily, Wi-Fi and cable cutting make new TVs less fussy. Streaming devices like Apple TV and Chromecast are easy to hide. While hidden cabinets can store bulkier hardware like gaming consoles, subwoofers, or DVD collections. The small addition of a decorative tray makes a nice home for both remotes and beverages.

Fireplaces

A room with a grand, inviting fireplace isn’t ideal for a TV since they are natural objects to collect around, says Patterson, and having both might confuse the purpose of a room. But it’s fine to hang a TV above a contemporary horizontal fireplace. Lipofsky’s general rule: Leave at least 12 inches above a fireplace opening.

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