Small living room TV ideas - ways to work a screen into small layouts

How to find space for a TV in a small living room without letting it dominate the decor

Incorporating media stylishly in any room can be tricky, even more so when you're working with a petite space. Finding small living room TV ideas will help you to work your screen into your lounge without it being an eyesore.

While wide-screen TVs and high-tech home entertainment systems offer a fabulous viewing experience, they do tend to dominate in small living room ideas. After all, planning a small living room layout with TV that includes a way to house all the essentials while still looking neat, discreet and stylish can be a challenge.

‘Now, more than ever, people across the country are investing in or upgrading their home entertainment systems,’ says Rachael Hutcheson, National Retail Manager, Sharps. ‘From high end TVs through to sound bars and consoles, ensuring that your AV system is securely and neatly housed is a modern conundrum.'

'But for a mix of quality, surety and style, nothing beats purpose-built storage. It ensures that unsightly cables and fixings remain hidden but also maximises space for peripherals and media.’

Small living room TV ideas

‘The main benefit of opting for smart small living room TV ideas, is that it maximises space for larger items within the room, such as sofas and coffee tables,’ adds Simon Tcherniak, Senior Designer, Neville Johnson

‘Built-in TV storage units can be individually designed to meet bespoke storage needs and fit perfectly within the space required, enhancing the time you spend relaxing in front of the TV at home.’

1. Build TV storage along one wall

dark grey living room with storage wall unit

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

Incorporating all your living room storage into one area will create a more cohesive look, as too many smaller individual pieces of furniture can make a small living room feel crowded. One large unit spanning an entire wall in a small living room layout with TV can house the screen, media equipment, books and other essentials, with everything in one easy-to-reach place.

While fully bespoke built-ins are costly, this smart and solid solution from The Dormy House, simply involves choosing from a menu of top and bottom sections. Just choose a combination to fit your modern small living room ideas and it comes assembled and pre-painted, ready to put into place at home.

2. Blend the TV into the background

small living room tv ideas with black built in storage

(Image credit: Sharps)

Setting the TV against a dark backdrop is a clever way of camouflaging it in using living room colour schemes so that it doesn’t dominate the space entirely. Painting the wall black, navy or a very-dark grey, will help the small living room TV Ideas merge into the background, so that the 'big black box' isn’t the first thing that grabs the attention every time you enter the room.

And having one dark end wall in a small room, will also give the effect of the wall receding, which will make the living room feel more spacious too.

Distract from the TV further, by setting it into a wall of storage, with built-in shelving for display pieces that will pop against the dark background. Drawers and closed-in cupboards will give extra hidden storage for other media kit and equipment.

‘If you are looking for discreet storage, fitted furniture has the advantage of being built to suit the particular need of your room,' advises Rachael from Sharps. 'From the configuration through to the finish, made to measure furniture ensures you make best use of available space and tailor it to your unique requirements.'

3. Get the perfect fit by making your own TV bench

small living room tv ideas with freestanding shelving unit

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jo Henderson)

If you’re struggling to find the right small living room TV ideas or tight space, take the DIY option and make your own bespoke TV bench tailored to fit the exact amount of space available. This example is an imaginative, totally affordable IKEA hack!

Made using two Ikea Bekvam step stools as a base, simply fix a plain white wardrobe or panel of slim MDF to the top of the stools to act as the worktop. Then slot a second panel through the middle of the both stools to work as a shelf for game consoles or other media equipment. Adjust the length of panels, making them longer or shorter, to suit the intended spot.

4. Adapt modular storage to suit the space

small living room tv ideas with staggered unit

(Image credit: Cuckooland)

When standard-sized furniture doesn’t fit, modular units can offer the perfect solution. Whether it’s a small living room, awkward alcove, or tricky recess, putting together a mix of different-sized modular pieces can solve the conundrum, with a configuration that suits non-standard spaces perfectly.

In a small living room with sloping ceiling, arrange modular storage in a staggered formation, starting low and ending high, to follow the lines of the room. A mix of open and closed storage works well for TVs and media kit, with open areas that allow easy access and operation of equipment and remotes, plus closed cupboards to keep mess and clutter out of sight. This is a clever trick when tackling how to make a small living room look bigger.

5. Make a mini media centre

tv on the wall of neutral living room

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jo Henderson)

Create a compact set-up that will slot into the corner of a room without encroaching on floor space too much when considering how to arrange furniture in a small living room. Shelves above and below the small living room TV ideas will provide storage for consoles and players, with an additional drawer unit underneath to house games and discs.

Start by fixing a panel of MDF onto the wall and mounting the TV on to it. Then add two floating shelves, one at the top and one at the bottom. Paint the whole unit the same colour for a cohesive look, a couple of shades darker than the wall colour to make the area stand out. Add a couple of lidded ottomans under the lower shelf to provide extra storage and seating for game players.

6. Conceal the TV with sliding panels

Sliding panels revealing living room TV

(Image credit: Future PLC/Neville Johnson)

While all eyes might be on the TV in the evening when you’re getting stuck into a box set, during the daytime, a blank TV can be a bit of an eyesore. Hiding the TV away in a freestanding cabinet is one way of disguising it, or alternatively consider a bespoke set-up that includes sliding doors to conceal the TV when it’s not being used.

Sliding panels hiding living room TV

(Image credit: Future PLC/Neville Johnson)

Fitted furniture can be configured to cover one whole wall with the small living room TV ideas as the focal point. Though it may seem a bold move, consolidating all your media equipment and living room storage ideas into one area, will free-up extra space in the remainder of the living room and leave it looking less-cluttered.

‘Sliding door systems are a great way to conceal technology in smaller rooms of the home so they don’t overpower the space,’ says Simon from Neville Johnson. ‘Even with larger TVs, bespoke furniture designs mean that small living spaces can be transformed into luxury home cinemas within seconds, and then closed away just as easily.’

7. Hang the TV on the wall

Living room with blue wall and cream sofa

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

If it’s not possible to hide the small living room TV Ideas away, why not embrace it and make the TV more of a focal point. Try hanging the television on a central chimney breast wall, using a concealed bracket to secure it.

In a small living room layout with TV, positioning the screen above small living room fireplace ideas or inset fire is a trick that designers often use. By balancing the two, it can help give the room better structure, with alcove shelves either side also helping to add symmetry.

When it comes to wall colour, painting the background a darker colour will help to disguise the TV a little. Or simply match the wall colour to the rest of your decor if you’re happy for the TV to take centre stage.

8. Fill wall space to distract from the TV

TV on console table in living room surrounded by wall storage

(Image credit: Cuckooland)

A simple freestanding TV bench is probably the easiest and most space-saving option for small living room TV ideas, with room to hold both the television and assorted media equipment.

Divert attention away from the TV when it’s switched off, by filling wall space around it with artwork and decorative pieces. Hanging shelves and cubbyhole living room wall decor at staggered heights, gives space for books, greenery and favourite things that will make the TV less of a focus.

9. Turn your TV into a work of art

Living room wall with artworks and hung TV

(Image credit: Samsung)

Instead of trying to hide your small living room TV Ideas away, make it one with your wall and include it as part of a living room feature wall. Samsung’s Frame TV features interchangeable frames as part of the design and has a bracket that allows it to lay flat against the wall, much like a picture. There is also an ‘Art Mode’ which will display art work on the screen when the TV isn't in use.

Incorporate the TV as part of a picture display, with it positioned centrally on the wall. Mount the TV so that it is roughly 42 inches from the floor to the centre of the TV, which will give a comfortable viewing position when sitting down on a sofa. Arrange your own framed art work on the wall to surround the TV, using a mix of different styles and sizes so that it blends in.

10. Try a freestanding storage option

Freestanding wooden TV unit in front of wall panelling

Bronx oak effect storage TV ladder shelf, £275

(Image credit: Next)

Gain extra storage for TV and media equipment by opting for a slimline storage bench with add-on shelving above. Open shelving looks less cumbersome than bulky, boxed-in storage, so is a savvy option in small living rooms which can feel crowded with too many full-sized pieces of furniture.

Opting for freestanding furniture, rather than built-in shelving, is also less costly and gives more flexibility if you want a change of layout and want to move things around later on. And for renters, freestanding furniture is a better option as it requires no hole-drilling in walls and can be dismantled and taken should you move home in the future.

Where do you put a TV in a small living room?

‘Whether you're working with large or small living room TV ideas, the screen needs to be at the correct height in relation to your sofa,’ says Celine Erlam of Indie & Co. 'You shouldn’t need to look up to view. Ideally, place it central to the sofa.’

‘The size of the TV is a personal choice. Don’t rule out concealing your TV - you can even fit a projector in the ceiling, which drops down when in use, as well as concealed built-in speakers.’

‘And before you start any work, always think about the audio systems and TV that you have so you can conceal any cabling.’

What do you put under a TV in a small room?

If you’ve opted for a wall-hung TV, it’s always worth taking the time to work out the small living layout with TV so that you're using the space efficiently. With a wall-hung unit, use the room underneath to factor in some extra storage for media equipment, games and discs, rather than leaving it empty. Compact TV units and benches offer low-level storage that won’t dominate the space too much, so are a sensible choice for small living rooms.

For small living room TV ideas, floating units are a clever space-saver to consider. Hung on the wall, with no supports or legs to distract the eye, it keeps floors clear and creates a ‘floating’ effect which aids the feeling of spaciousness. Consider corner TV storage too if space is really at a premium. Angled units fit neatly into a corner, leaving more floor space available.

Lisa Fazzani
Deputy Editor

Lisa is Deputy Editor of Style at Home magazine and regularly contributes to sister title Ideal Home. She has written about interiors for more than 25 years and about pretty much every area of the home, from shopping and decorating, crafts and DIY to real home transformations and kitchen and bathroom makeovers. Homes and interiors have always been a passion and she never tires of nosying around gorgeous homes, whether on TV, online, in print or in person.