Welcome to our new series of guest blogs from the team at SANUS in which the company identifies common homeowner design problems and offers solutions. Here, SANUS’s Lauren Theobald takes a look at one issue that plagues home theater and media room design–making the home entertainment system look sleek and cool instead of messy and cumbersome. (After you read it, we recommend you check out SANUS’s mountfinder for mounts compatible with your own TV.) Here’s what Theobald recommends to tidy up your own media space:
When dreaming about your perfect home entertainment system (which may include a library of your favorite movies, audio components that can rival a live concert, and a television that’s so big it deserves its own wall), it often helps to have a room in your home that’s dedicated to that sole purpose: entertaining.
More than that, homeowners are reducing the size of their home. According to a recent study from National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the trend toward smaller homes is expected to grow in the next five years, with the average home size declining each year. This data and an infographic put together by Alan Mascord Design Associates, Inc. show that a change in economic climate and a growing concern for sustainability have led people to buy smaller houses in the US in the past five years and that trend is expected to continue.
How does this change the living room? NAHB says the living room will merge with other spaces in the home to create the “Great Room.” This leaves less room for the extra-large media center and has homeowners shifting to the slim TV trend. It’s not only low profile but lowering costs for homeowners.
For these homeowners, even though they are not strangers to electronics and audio/visual gear, the living room or family room often serves multiple purposes. They want to have the best audio/video gear around, but want to maintain the elegant look of their home’s interior. Is it possible to balance a multi-purpose living space with a low-profile entertainment system that will rock your socks off? We think so!
When considering the most common AV gear that’s likely to be found in a home–audio speakers, cable boxes, DVD players, video game systems, etc.–these components can quickly take up a lot space and are not typically desirable to have in view. Luckily, these electronics are usually easier to hide or are built with low-profile designs. With new in-wall and in-ceiling speaker, cables, and component options, electronics can be nearly invisible.
Larger AV components for that serious home theater buff can be combined into a single rack that could be hidden in a closet or spare room, and with distributed systems, you may only need to have one component actually present in the living space. There are also pieces of furniture that are specifically designed to house AV components.
We won’t get into hiding your TV with a motorized life or sliding picture overlay, since in our opinion, that seems more inconvenient, and you don’t want your home feeling like it is part of a mystery novel, with sliding panels and hidden compartments. I actually like the look of a wall-mounted flat screen with a nice photo vignette around it (see picture, below). Mounting a TV is a great alternative to complement the sleek, low-profile design of many TVs. Some TV mounts allow for a TV to be placed as close as a half inch away from the wall, and there are slim options with functionality to pull out and swivel your TV to view from multiple seating areas too. Placing picture frames or paintings around a slim mounted TV adds a nice design element and guests may not even notice the TV on your wall.
Hiding electronics often starts with the TV. Mounts can now be combined with electronic concealment in the wall to hide not only wires and unsightly wall-warts, but also small components themselves. With these systems you can add surge protectors and other diminutive devices to be positioned directly behind the TV so that they’re completely hidden yet easily accessible. Add an in-wall cable-management system and you have the finishing touches to simplify and hide those unattractive wires that usually dangle from behind a wall-mounted flat-panel TV.
With AV component shelves that can be installed directly below the TV mount, the whole entertainment system can be suspended on the wall, freeing up valuable floor space. Sound bar mounts are also available to conveniently place the sound bar directly underneath the mounted TV (left), giving the final set-up a neat and clean look. In-wall cable-management systems require a hole to be drilled in the wall, so it should be considered when initially mounting the TV. When combined with electronics that are designed to be low profile, distributed AV systems, and taking the space itself into consideration, a mounted flat-panel TV can be the last piece of the perfectly discreet entertainment system.
—by Lauren Theobald, SANUS – a division of Milestone AV Technologies
Lauren heads up the communications department at SANUS, home of the #1-selling brand of TV Mounts in the U.S. She is a multi-faceted marketer with traditional and non-traditional multi-channel marketing experience in the Consumer Electronics industry. Her passion is to communicate the brand and the product in a savvy, creative way through strategic digital marketing initiatives. Lauren is passionate about design and home décor, and aligning products to fit within that space to make it function better, safely, and more beautifully.