Television Conundrum

Alright, guys... I need some of your genius design opinions.  I'm stumped. Brad and I got each other a new TV for the holidays.  (And I also got some awesome Craftsman tool storage.  I think someone's tired of my garage mess...)  For a long time, we've only had a TV in our "game room" with nothing in the living room.  Weird, right?  Anyway, we've finally got it hooked up and mounted on the wall above the fireplace and... giant womp womp moment.

Holy wires, Batman.  (Oh yeah, and please don't mind the giant cardboard box that the TV came in.)

The step stool is holding our Blue Ray player and cable box.  So that means no functioning fireplace for the time being.  And that's the only heat we've got in the house at the moment.  Double womp womp.  Clearly this is an issue that needs to get cleared up... and soon.

Here's my design dilemma.  We were originally going to put the cable boxes directly underneath the TV, but once we hung it, we realized that it wouldn't leave much room for the mantle that my step father is building us.  And, I don't want cable boxes sitting on top of the mantle.  I want to be able to style it without working out the logistics of putting stuff around the super ugly boxes.

(PS- for anyone interested in the mantle he's building us, I've pinterested it on my "for the home" board.  He's modeling it loosely off of this one from House of Fifty.  And the current plan is that the brick is going to be painted a dark grey.)

So, once the "below the TV" idea was out, my next idea is to put the boxes ABOVE the TV.  But, the husband has vetoed this idea, and rightfully so.  We don't want to have to get onto a ladder every time we want to watch a movie.  That's just plain silly.

Here are my current crazy ideas.  (Of course, all of them involve bringing someone in to put the wires through the walls and studs of our house.)  The first one is to build some kind of shelving like this on the short side of the wall to the right of the fireplace that holds said cable boxes:

But, if I only do that on one side, will it look super imbalanced?  Do I then need to add shelves on the other side?

There's also a giant open area to the left of the fireplace where nothing lives right now.  Should I do something in there instead?  Build some kind of freestanding somethin'?  And, if so, what do you guys suggest?  I'm seriously stumped.

I'm also contemplating framing the TV, depending on what we decide to do with the media boxes.  I don't want it to look too busy, but I also don't want the first thing people say when they walk into our living room to be "Woa!  TV!"  I would build something like this or this if I decide to go for it.  What do you guys think?

Anyway, clearly I'm not loving any of my ideas right now or else I'd be in the garage building up a storm.  If it were your house, what would you do?  Anyone out there have a similar predicament that found a great solution?  Or any amazingly creative designers have any ideas for me?

19 Replies to “Television Conundrum”

  1. Oh the cord dilemma of wall mounted tvs. We have the same cord problem, minus the fireplace and were tempted to have our cords fed through the wall into the closet behind, but that doesn’t really solve the accessibility issue.

    We settled on having wall mounted shelves under the tv to minimize how much cord we were actually seeing. I think with shelves on either side of your tv you would have the same results and less conflict with your new fireplace mantel. However, if your heart is set on framing the tv, the shelves might look awkward and out of place (it’s hard to picture it in my head).

    As for your big empty space next to the fireplace, there are a ton of options: open shelving, curio cabinet, oversized piece of art, accent chair, closed storage (i.e.: Ikea’s ‘Billy’ with glass doors), bench, the list is really endless.

    1. Hi Martina! I totally agree with you about the framing with the shelves… that would be way too busy, wouldn’t it? I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one with this predicament! As always, thanks so much for your wise input!

  2. After hiding the wires you could build something nice to put on that empty space next to the fire place, BUT if it were my house I would look into this remote thing (infra red thingy-mi-jigidy) that allows you to store your components away from your tv so they dont even need to be in the same room. Dont know what it’s called, dont know how it works but I have heard about it. That way your living room area is not all about THE TV and you could use that space next to your tv for a nice wet bar or whatever else you might want to use that space for.

  3. What’s the measurement of the open space next to the fireplace? My parents (at my suggestion) just bought the large Hemnes entertainment unit from IKEA. It looks incredible, and of all the [affordable] IKEA options, Hemnes offers actual wood and a more “professionally crafted” look.

    Depending on the size of the space, one of the double-wide bookshelves might work there. Or if it’s larger, the double-wide AND the single-wide one with doors, seen here ( and here (

    The Billy bookcases would also be a good option, since you can get them so they’re taller. You could get it right up against where the TV is and allow the chords to flow behind one and then behind the other.

    Or, you know, build ones based on those designs to fit your space. 🙂

    It’s definitely a tough call. The issue is that there is no way to completely hide chords unless you feed them through the wall, behind the TV, and to a different location. Those “framed” photos you showed look easy, but there was likely complicated construction done to accommodate the cable and DVD/BluRay boxes.

    You’ll figure it out and I’m sure it will look great!

    1. Hey dude! Thanks for chiming in! I’m totally digging some kind of bookcase something there to put the media in. What do you think about some kind of low, built-in something down there to hold all of the cable boxes/add extra storage? Then it could almost kind of double as additional seating?

  4. Brian and I use to have the same dilemma! I’ll send you our solution in picture form. It involves zero shelving, and all of our wires are completely hidden. Albeit, we bought said solution at Target, but I’m guessing you could build/create something along the same lines for much less. As for the gaping space next to the fireplace/TV, you could put a tall plant there. It would disguise the TV a bit from the side and I think the greenage would look nice with your furniture. But, that’s just me – professional indoor plant killer. I’ll send you those pictures of our TV stand-thing!

    1. Thanks, Kelly! I got your email, I just totally forgot to write you back. That’s a pretty cool little contraption! I don’t think there’s enough space directly below my TV to hang something to hold all of the boxes, otherwise that would be so perfect to hide all of the cords.

      PS- I totally share that indoor plant killer title with you. They look great for the first week! Until I forget to water them….

  5. Since you opened this up to opinions….here goes…..what if you built a completely different frame….I have never seen one but it would look similar to your first link….but make it big enough to include a shelf for the techie stuff…….all of it framed nicely. Just a thought. Personally….I am against dusty ol’ plastic plants……and maybe a cool secretary would look nice in your empty space with artwork balancing it out.

    1. Ah, Debbie. You know me too well, haha! My first solution is always to build something. You totally got my wheels turning on this one. Thanks so much for your input!

      1. Oh cool, so glad to try and help at least! My puppy is a terror, lol! Ten months old now and still struggling at the pottry training thing . We now have had four days of nothing in the house but every time this happens one of us goes on a trip and then he back tracks and guess what, we leave on Sunday for a week. So, we shall see………. In other things he’s coming along. You know, how it is with puppies, lotsa patience needed. Just love him to death though, he’s so dang cute!

        1. Update on little Tucker – he rings the bell every time to go outside for potty, yay! Now I would love to see an update on your cord dilemma. Is it complete? Do tell! 🙂

          1. Hi Lisa! WOW! That is one talented puppy! I can barely get my pup to sit, haha. You’ll have to share your secrets!

            The cord dilemma is not yet taken care of… I’m waiting for my step father to finish the mantle he’s building me. (It was supposed to be a wedding gift for my husband and I… we’ve now been married over a year. Oops…) But, I’m definitely going with your brilliant suggestion of the built in mouldings. It’s seriously a perfect solution! I’m so glad you shared it – I would have never thought of that! Once I get going I will definitely share the process with you guys!

          2. Secrets? Now THAT’S funny! An old friend told me about these bells you hang on the door in which you train your dog to ring them, notifying you when they need to go potty. I had never heard of them so I researched on-line and then made my own. It was nothing but persistance, trust me on this. I mean, 10 mos and just now being potty trained. Longest I’ve ever waited! We would ask him if he needed to go potty and then ring the bells with his front paws each and every single time for months. My friend’s Maltipoo caught on in two weeks. Tucker has taken several months! I don’t even remember when I made those things!

            As for my brilliant suggestion, well it was brilliance on the person’s part who thought of hiding the cords that way initially. I just happened upon it accidentally in this wonderful world of blogging and had to share. Just like you share all of your wonderful talents!

            Looking forward to the finished project. Have a great weekend! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *