TV Room Ruminations

Way back on April 21, I wrote about some of our plans for the re-imagined TV room. At the time, we were planning on creating a media closet accessible via a hidden door, carefully concealed with some kind of nifty paneling. Oh, how getting an estimate can alter the planning process! That idea was coming in at much more than we were willing to spend on it, so after a quick team confab we decided to eliminate the secret storage and instead create an open media “niche.” Here’s what it looks like now:

This is a sneaky way of making this room feel much larger than it used to. The old wall extended to the left from the edge of the door frame you can see on the right. In that space between the old wall and the bathroom wall down the hall there was a little coat closet (accessible through ANOTHER door that was to the left of the bathroom door — a top priority of this renovation project was to remove as many doors as humanly possible. The place felt like a madhouse!) and a separate shower in the bathroom. We are OK with eliminating those two elements, as we are installing a shower-over-tub in the bathroom (which will hardly be used) and moved the closet next to the front door downstairs. As a bonus, this could make a perfect spot for a queen size bed in the event this room reverts to a real bedroom again.

It also used to be possible to enter the bathroom from this room without having to step out into the hallway. We think that this was once the “master suite,” but now that the house has a true master suite, and the bathroom really is just right next door, it would be OK to cut off that access to gain a full wall.

As you can see by the tangle of wires there we have decided that the media components will live to the left of the TV as opposed to underneath it. We have also figured out where the speakers should go — the other two are already in the ceiling in the rear of the room — as well as the TV. So now the question is, how do we make the best use of this newly-gained space?

Before the drywall was up, I envisioned flanking this niche with a slim cabinet on either side of the TV. But now that I see the room in a more finished state, that feels like it would be too crowded. I’m now thinking that we should have some kind of shelving system along the left-hand wall and leave the short wall on the right alone.

The shelving would start in the corner where the cables are and extend to the left.

This side would be left alone.

I’ve been playing with a rudimentary online room planning tool (Icovia) and have sketched out a few elements so far:

I think the dimensions are pretty close, though it’s a mix of “before” measurements and I don’t have my niche notes with me so I’m not sure that’s totally accurate. At any rate, it’s a start. The sofa is still the IKEA Manstad. We love the versatility, storage, durability, and price.

The rug I’m showing in the plan is 8×10; 9×12 could probably work, too. Our favorite, design-wise, is the Canopy (indigo) by Angela Adams:

I must admit I have yet to look at the rug and sofa together in person, but I think the sofa color is neutral enough that it should work. The blues in this rug are bold and totally scrumptious.

Even though we don’t need any furniture under the TV since all the components will be to the left and the TV will be attached to the wall, I think we should still place something there to help ground the space.  Just to have a piece with dimensions to play with, I stuck an IKEA Torsby in the floor plan.

So we are finally at the question of the hour: what shelves/storage should we put along the side wall, and how should we arrange it? The three boxes in the floor plan represent three CB2 Kickstand units:

These are sharp. Nice mix of open and closed storage, and I like the shiny white lacquer finish on the shelves and drawers. The brushed nickel could tie in nicely with the other metallic elements upstairs, like the window frames, door hardware, and stainless appliances. I also think these look just as good from the side as they do from the front. I also like that there’s also a good amount of space between the drawer and the floor – I am not a fan of bookcases and shelves that sit directly on the floor.

But white may not be the ultimate solution; sometimes I think the rug and sofa are calling for a natural wood option.

Room and Board Gallery shelves offer a mix of wood and metal (in this case, stainless steel, which is an exact match for our door hardware):

I like the warmth the (reclaimed – bonus!) wood provides. If we were to take this direction, we would probably also put a wood piece under the TV instead of something white like the Torsby. Maybe the Munich?

Or the Hudson?

No closed storage could end up being a pain, though. And open shelving like this makes for some cord management creativity (in fact, I think in the photo above the folks ran that little lamp cord along the metal support in order to hide it. There are certainly plenty of nifty clips for sale these days to make this doable). However, it is possible to pick up some slick boxes or baskets along the way and create “customized” closed storage, like this photo from Crate and Barrel demonstrates:

There’s something about the flexibility this provides that really appeals to me. Someone as prone to redecorating as I am needs some designated space to play!

I must admit I’m having a very hard time finding anything I like more than these open leaning shelf systems. The tapered effect is nice because it helps what could otherwise be a bulky wall system feel less weighty. I’m also a fan of the open back – bookshelves that have a backing on them can also feel heavy. Both the Room and Board and Crate and Barrel systems offer a desk unit – not sure it’s necessary for the TV room, but maybe this kind of system could work in our home office next door?  A little unity might not be such a bad idea…

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