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    Hidden: Pop-up TV cabinets keep the TV hidden until it's ready to use. Photo: Stanley Furniture

  • Stanley

    Exposed: You can enjoy your entertainment equipment, but also keep them hidden when not in use. Photo: Stanley Furniture

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Exposed: You can enjoy your entertainment equipment, but also keep them hidden when not in use. Photo: Stanley Furniture


Measure Twice …

Here are a few measurements to remember when shopping for your home entertainment furniture:

  • The dimensions (length, width and depth) of your TV and its components
  • Any extra space needed for ventilation

If you’re shopping for furniture first before choosing your TV, take note of the dimensions of the areas that will house it and any other electronic components.

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  • Hidden or Exposed?

    Tips for stylish TV storage.

    by Jason Schneider

    If yours is like millions of other American households (112.8 million to be exact, according to Nielsen Media Research), you have a television in your living room or den. As technology has advanced, TVs have gotten bigger and costlier—presenting a decorating challenge: to hide them or leave them exposed.

    Whether you want to show off your high-tech TV or keep it hidden when not in use, there’s home entertainment furniture to fit your style and budget.


    A Design Challenge

    “The TV can be a design challenge to many homeowners who are caught in the dilemma of how to arrange their furniture while not allowing the TV to take center stage in the design of the room,” says Debby Gomulka, president of  Wilmington, N.C.-based Debby Gomulka Designs. “Keep in mind the style of your home and follow that style, whether it is contemporary, traditional or eclectic … for example, if your home is traditional, a modern streamlined piece with a black lacquer finish would not be appropriate.”


    Creative Storage Solutions

    When it comes to storing your TV, there are several choices:

    • TV consoles. A popular choice with today’s flat-panel TVs. The TV is fully exposed and electronic components are enclosed within the console.
    • Pop-up TV cabinets. Keeps the TV hidden until ready to use. Also adds a “wow” factor.
    • Traditional wall units. An alternative to built-in units that offer lots of storage space and room for displays. Available with exposed and hidden media storage.

    Your choice of furniture will also depend on which room you’re shopping for. Rob Sligh, chairman of Sligh Furniture Co., offers these tips:

    • For the great room, choose a piece that will be a focal point, whether open all the time or with doors that hide the TV when not in use.
    • For bedrooms, TVs on chests with a flip-down drawer for a DVD player are popular, and lift-top TV consoles for the foot of the bed are an emerging trend.
    • For other areas, TV consoles are a good choice. For game rooms with pool tables, taller consoles work better where people will be glancing at the TV from a standing position.


    Choosing the Best Option

    Most people with flat-panel TVs don’t want to put a hole in their wall to mount it, says Sligh.

    “Some entertainment consoles offer the option of a stand that holds the TV just above the console,” he says. Well-designed TV stands also offer:

    • Cord management
    • Height adjustment
    • Side-to-side articulation to reduce screen glare

    A common concern, Sligh adds, is the heat generated by electronic components in an enclosed area. Home entertainment furniture is often designed to promote natural airflow. Look for:

    • Air intake at the bottom
    • Slotted shelves
    • Unobtrusive airway exits near the top

    Automated fans are sometimes offered as an option for components like gaming CPUs and cable boxes that run particularly hot.


    Keeping Home Entertainment Stylish

     “Stereotypically the man may want a large-screen flat-panel TV and the woman may want the ability to hide the TV within a beautiful piece of furniture when guests arrive,” says Sligh. “But today there is less concern about hiding technology because it’s increasingly regarded as beautiful in its own right.”

    Gomulka offers this advice for keeping home entertainment stylish: “While high-tech electronics add to the joys of entertaining at home, a tasteful interior design plan will incorporate your TV in the space,” she says. “Keeping in mind that appropriateness and style will give your room balance and a sense of well-being that flows throughout your home.”