I wish I could say that to help myself unwind at bedtime I got lost in the pages of great literature. But the truth is that my sleep aid is watching 15 minutes of the most mindless program I can find on television. Bring on the inane sitcoms and I'm out like a light.
For many of us, televisions are an essential part of life. But for years, they were also the bane of our existence when it came to decorating.
Thankfully, those days are over! Decorating with today's fabulous flat screens is a breeze because they fit almost anywhere and are easy to hide. Here are a few tricks for decorating with flat screens.
TV as art: Lots of folks now treat their flat screens like art. They might be hung over the mantel or a wall-mounted shelf. Then they decorate around the screen just as they would a piece of artwork.
I've taken a similar approach with the television in my bedroom. Instead of using a traditional TV stand, I placed the flat-screen television on a lovely three-tiered serving trolley, which is pushed up against the wall. I camouflaged the screen by surrounding it with a montage of artwork.
Cover it up: The minute I put an array of wall-mounted TV cabinets on the showroom floor at my home-interiors stores, I knew I had a hit on my hands. Customers just couldn't seem to get enough of these beautiful cabinets. They come in an array of styles, with doors decorated with sleek mirrors, burled oak panels, gothic wood trim and even landscape paintings. Just mount your television on the wall, then hang the box over it. The television will be hidden, and when you're ready to watch, just fold back the doors.
Book it: Because flat screens are so thin, they can easily fit on the shelf of a bookcase or hutch. If you have a bookcase or hutch in your family room, set up your television on one of the mid-range shelves, then decorate the remaining shelves as normal with books, artwork and accents. The television will be inconspicuous; just another feature in the display — and you won't have to spend extra money on a new piece to house the set.
Take a stand: Historically, I've never been a fan of TV stands, those chunky pieces of furniture that gobbled up too much space and brought too little aesthetic beauty. But I like many of today's thinner TV stands because they are less obtrusive and come in a variety of styles. Or forget the TV stand altogether and simply place your TV atop a pretty cabinet or table, like the serving cart I use for my bedroom television.
Go high-tech: Now you can install a special framed two-way mirror over your wall-mounted TV, and when the screen is on, the picture shows through. You can also get a TV cover that looks like a piece of framed artwork. With the click of a remote, the canvas rolls up to uncover the television below. Or you can use a high-tech hutch that conceals your TV screen in the faux cabinets below. Hit the remote and the screen rises from the storage compartment.