According to Wikipedia the Family Room is:
“…an informal, all-purpose room in a house similar to a living room. The family room is designed to be a place where family and guests gather for group recreation like talking, reading, watching TV, and other family activities.”
Let’s face it – in most homes, Family Room is synonymous with TV Room. There is no shame in this! We are a big television household, though lately I’ve taken to the bizarre habit of “listening” to the TV without watching – my infant son should not be exposed to the screen until the age of 2 years, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. But I digress.
As the flat paneled HDTV has become nearly ubiquitous, interior designers and ordinary homeowners accommodate the evolved appliance in a variety of ways. Strategies include wall mounting (often above a fireplace), framing and lighting it like a work of art, integration with built-in cabinetry, or simply resting the set on top of a console of some sort. Some who don’t want the television to be the focal point of the room even hide it behind a wall hanging, false wall, or allow it to pop up from a console below. On the extreme end, some family rooms are designed to deliver a sophisticated home theatre experience, complete with surround sound, dramatic lighting, etc.
Here are some of the most thought-provoking integrations of television sets in family rooms that I’ve come across, categorized by the degree of centrality of the TV in your at-home family activities. Click on the image to view the source (and associated credits).
1.) Minimal watchers/TV hiders
2.) Moderate-heavy watchers/TV displayers
A few additional tips regarding optimal placement:
- The ideal viewing angle varies depending on distance of your furniture to the TV (and vice versa), and the size of your set. Crutchfield has a helpful page on calculating this: http://www.crutchfield.com/S-iwv0ry94Ymy/learn/learningcenter/home/TV_placement.html
- Avoid very high placements if the room is small – for the same reason you avoid sitting in the front row of the movie theater
- In general, the lower the TV is placed, the less prominent it will be in the room
- Symmetrical design elements (e.g. built-ins, windows, etc.) flanking the TV can help tone down its prominence in the room
- Observe your room in a variety of light conditions, and ensure that you are minimizing glare (this is especially important with plasma TVs – LCD or LED might be a better choice for a very bright room)