Where to put a modern TV set in a retro interior? Upload your photos


Where and how to position a modern TV in a retro living room or family room? Back in the day — for example, when Mamie and Dwight Eisenhower set to watch the 1952 Republican National Convention, where Ike was nominated to run for president (above, Library of Congress photo) — placing the TV set was relatively easy to figure out, because TVs came in compact cabinets and could be easily positioned in the room. But today — as more of us are heading toward 52″ flat screens — and in smallish rooms, to boot — well, what should we do with the TV set? Share your ideas — and upload photos of how you incorporate the TV into your room.

Upload photos of your TV showing how it is incorporated into your interior…
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  1. Gavin Hastings says

    My TV lives in a mahogany china cabinet in the living room. $250 from a Northampton antique store. I removed the board on the back, (didn’t want to cut holes in it) and replaced it with a stained panel of masonite. It can someday return to is original life. The “box” and DVD player are installed behind the lower doors.
    I then made 2 sheer curtain panels to cover the glass doors and hung them on rods, top and bottom.
    I am very happy with the look…although I have never had a television in the LR. It was a deal concession to moving here. : (
    Someday, I MAY change the glass to mirror…for a glam-my look.

  2. Andrea says

    Our TV (a mere 26-inch screen) is in a black-laquered, “Chinoiserie” cabinet, a left-over from my Victorian house days when it was more important to me to maintain a completely vintage look and hide anything modern. But it seems that Asian-inspired items go with most styles of home decor, and in my traditional living room (alas! not mid-century modern, though the house is 1952), the cabinet works well. It is large enough to house all the other items that go with the TV—-VCR, etc. but is not in the “armoire” category.

    In our sunroom (a much-loved bonus in this ’52 Cape!) we have a TV sitting blatantly out in the open amongst the rattan furniture with tropical barkcloth cushions.

  3. Jason says

    Hello All,

    I have a 78″ credenza in my living room with sliding doors on 2/3 of it. I plan on placing the flat screen tv behind the middle door, so that when it is open, it kinda looks like a console TV. I’ve made a wall and shelf behind the other door where my 1960 Fisher stereo receiver sits. I have also considered Telstar’s Predicta TV for the living room. Priced expensively….however, I may put some asided from my overseas pay for one.

    In the family room, I’ve planned to buy a large wall mount TV. I thought about mounting a curtain rod above it and hanging some vintage ATOMIC styled drapes/curtains and make look like a window when not in use.

    • weed30 says

      I love the curtain idea!!! With some pinch pleats on a traverse rod, it would be just like the old time theaters that had real curtains in front of the screen, and they would open when the movie was about to start 🙂

  4. Jackie says

    We still haven’t upgraded to a flat screen HDTV. But I know it will be a challenge since we have a 50’s split level where the downstairs “TV Room” has the perfect cutout built into the wall for an old style TV.
    Most people have built additions for large family rooms onto their house and the TV has moved in there and they’ve converted that downstairs TV room into an office and that TV ‘cutout’ has become a place for a desk.

  5. Gavin Hastings says

    I love the yellow room!
    Sorry- I would opt for a new door. A yellow tambour door to be exact.
    Good luck.

  6. Wendy M. says

    Sorry I forgot to add my name to my picture! It’s the one with the open built-in cabinet. I wanted to add that I’ve thought about painting the inside black to make the tv blend in, but would love input on that idea, too.

    • Gavin Hastings says

      Wendy-I love your room!
      If you paint the interiot black, you will end up with a BIG black square- whereas the tv itself is a smaller black square. The room is light and air-y.

      Take a pile of black fabric or clothing and stuff it around the perimeter of the tv. Then do the same with some white, yellow, beige fabric. You be the judge.

      Is that a cord on the back wall? Paint that, too!

        • Wendy M. says

          Gavin- first of all, I take it as a HUGE compliment that you like my living room…I always enjoy reading your comments and really respect your opinion.
          I appreciate the input on the paint color. I wasn’t thinking about the impact on the room as a whole and agree that would be too much black. I need to repaint the cabinets (they are quite chipped) so I think I will wait and do everything at once. That will start another lengthy debate…do I change the colors in the living room or not?? I guess that can ponder that until the weather improves.
          I’m intrigued by the Tambour doors…I plan to talk to someone soon to see if that would work with space. That just might be the answer to my problem.
          Thanks again for your input!

          • 52PostnBeam says

            I agree going up is the right direction, use the empty space above the TV. Tambour doors are great and authentically retro. If you wanted a quick a cheap solution, try a roman blind. It could be in the same fabric as the curtains or bench cushions, or use something that looks like a mod wall hanging when lowered. I bet there’s someone on Etsy who makes these custom order .. otherwise just buy one for the mechanicals and remake it.

            It’s a great room, I love fireplace storage benches. That’s an interesting little obscure glass window you have there too!

            • Wendy M. says

              Thanks for your comments! I’m actually a bit of a seamstress, so I love the idea of making something. Long-term, though, I do think I’d like an actual door (so it would look a little more streamlined) but I want it to look authentic (and be within our budget). We just moved in in January and just about everything is original (bought from the 90+ year-old original owners), so I’m trying to be careful before I make any permanent changes.
              As for the window, it’s actually plastic…and gold on the outside! If you look at it close enough, it looks like tiki faces. Our entryway has six long flanking windows in the same material (and there’s an accent one at the front of the porch.) It’s terribly energy-inefficient, but very unique…

      • Just another Pam says

        Coming from a huge log house where every TV could be hidden in a milk painted armoire to a wee mid-century this has been one of my problems. Now that the renos are almost done (though the weeding out will go on for months) I am going to try to at least blend it in by putting it center stage on one of the teak shelves in the wall shelves as I painted the walls behind the teak black….it makes the wood so beautiful…..so do think about painting the whole shelf black as it looks wonderful with yellow too.

        For all that I still feel the same way about a TV as I do about a toilet. Love having them in the house, don’t want to see it all the time so if this doesn’t work I’ll have to see what I can give up to get a sideboard or stereo to modify. Maybe go very small and put it in the top of the drop front rosewood desk? I suppose I could wear glasses to watch TV. Oh, the sacrifices never end.

        I did a version of the sliding panels for the TV I put in the bathroom, put hinges on a painting and hid it in there. Works great. Could work on the yellow cabinet too.

  7. Syd says

    The picture I loaded shows out 49 RCA–with the 13″ color set inside. I don’t watch a lot of TV, so that’s all the set I need. Besides, “Peter Gunn” and “The Avengers” don’t look right on big sets.

  8. wendy says

    My friend took an old non-working 1950s tv, gutted it then put a flat screen inside. It looks like an old tv but it’s new!

  9. Nina462 says

    Thanks for the ideas – my tv is currently on an antique drop leaf table (bought for $10) next to the fireplace on the Left side -that’s where the plugs are. I’d like to put it on the Right side as there’s a built in cabinet (for my albums – lol). My tv isn’t a flat screen either – it’s a big ol’ 90’s version with the dvd/vhs on the bottom. until the tv dies I can’t get a new one. But when I do – I’m moving the cords & plugs!

  10. says

    I neglected to add my name to the picture: ours is the big flat screen with the huge 90s speakers flanking it. We figured we’d never use the living room if we didn’t have the TV in it, and we don’t have a family room in our 1956 ranch anyway, so there it sits. I do like the bookshelf solution to support it and our black electronics fit nicely in the shelves, so it’s a good solution for us.

    I love all the beautiful solutions for housing TVs that I’m seeing here today!!!

  11. Celine says

    At the moment ours is on an old utility cart I bought at a garage sale for $1. The (painted) turquoise cart overwhelms the TV and makes it recede, but my hope is in the future to make a rolling cabinet that looks like an old 60’s TV and place our TV and various movie watching equipment inside. Still use our aerial on the roof , PBS takes care of all our watching needs.

  12. Amy Jeannette says

    The console with the pop up tv!! That is AWESOME! I need to doo that!! I think it was marked KateG : what type of mount did you use to get it to ‘pop’ up?? Just the wall mount kit?

    • says

      Yay! Thanks! Glad you like it 🙂
      When we bought the console someone had already removed the phonograph so we attached a metal plate and wall bracket in that area. It worked out that the TV was just the right size that the lid actually helps prop up the back of the TV.
      We could have gone with a slightly bigger TV but I wanted to have access to the stereo knobs and buttons when the TV was laid flat in the console.
      side note: There’s is actually a LOT of space in the cabinet underneath (I’m suspecting most consoles are the same in that regard) and we toyed with the idea of putting in “rails” and a motorized mechanism to raise and lower the TV. In the end cheap and lazy won out 🙂

        • KateG says

          Good Morning!
          I wish I could give you an easy answer. I found the color in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine from about 2 years ago. It was used on a porch that was painted white and had an orange-y (terracotta?) accent color. I took the photo to the local home improvement store and they matched the color (we used a ralph lauren brilliant white to mix).
          My neighbor happened to stop by this morning (she’s a home stager) and she had a sherwin williams color pallete. We matched the color up to SW6457 “Kind Green”, another very close match with a bit more blue in it was SW6471 “Hazel”.
          Hope this helps 🙂
          Have a Happy and Healthy New Year!

  13. Nancy says

    The TV stands I’ve been seeing in the stores remind me a lot of the old console stereos, so I’ve been keeping an eye out for one with cabinetry that I like.

    The fact that most open from the top wouldn’t bother me, since I like having my DVD player out front where I can get at it easily. And most TVs are light enough that they wouldn’t bow the lid.

    But finding one with front-opening doors would be sweet!

    • Will says

      That’s what I did! I love it! I even turned mine into surround sound (see above). I can explain how to do it if you are intersted!

  14. 52PostnBeam says

    When I bought my house I was determined to hide the TV because someone pointed out that having an exposed TV was “bad feng shui,” because when the TV is off, it creates a giant black suck-hole in the middle of the room. I have to agree.

    My white, 60s-mod looking media cabinet is my only concession to IKEA in the house. Of course it took 9 man-hours to assemble (between my bf and I), and the doors are a smidgen “off” — which I why I don’t buy much from that store. I do LOVE it though. My sound system and modem/airport, speakers – all stashed away in there, with cabling out the back. I’ll never have a naked TV in my house again.

    • pam kueber says

      np, will. i was out for several hours this afternoon, so there were numerous uploads waiting for my approval. (no ipad with 4g yet)

      • Will says

        I understand Pam. It was so odd. They appeared and then disappeared from the list. I’m glad they are back now. 🙂 Just a glitch I guess. Thanks again! Also, any chance you could delete my typo in the first picture? I somehow missed the duel favorites there. 😉

  15. ElizaJane says

    I’m just sticking to a retro TV in my retro living room. I just got married a year ago and between us we have 4 27″ old fashioned TVs. When one dies we will just pop another one into the moss covered credenza.

  16. Jodi says

    I love image #37, I’d like to see more of that house.

    I think that the flat screen tv’s look good in mid century mod or modest interiors, they just seem to fit. I have mine on an old piece from the 50’s.

  17. Jonathan says

    I’m a bit behind the times as I just returned from vacation. This is a post that gives me photos to go with the idea that I’ve had for a while…using an old hi-fi console for a widescreen stand! Someone please tell me…what brand/make/model is in the photo labelled ‘sam_0571’ (second column, seventh down)? It’s looks like just the right size for my 1950 Cape-sized living room!


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