Decorating a TV console is no simple task, as your TV console isn’t a blank canvas. Every piece has to dress up your space without distracting from the real statement-maker: your TV screen. And to complicate things further, your décor has to look good next to your TV—whether it’s turned on or off.
This is a lot for anyone to balance. So we went straight to the experts for advice. We asked four interior designers how to style a TV console, and they had plenty of tips—some classic, some unexpected, all easy to recreate at home.
Meet the Expert
- Kirsten Conner is the principal designer at Kirsten Conner Interior Design, a Seattle-based design firm.
- Mary Beth Christopher is the owner and founder of MBC Interior Design, a California-based design firm.
- Sarah Cole is the principal designer at Sarah Cole Interiors, a Massachussetts-based design firm.
- Lisa Carolla is the owner of and principal designer at Fish & Co Studio, a California-based design firm.
Mount Your TV Close to Your Console
Mounting your TV on the wall is a no-brainer. It frees up space on your console and makes your TV easier to see. And according to our experts, you want to hang it pretty close to your console.
“Mounting the TV to the wall is the way to go,” Kirsten Conner, principal designer at Kirsten Conner Interior Design, says. “You only want 1–2 inches between the bottom of the TV and the top of the console.”
Keep Décor to a Minimum
It may be tempting to load your TV console with décor—but resist the urge.
“If the TV is hung at the correct height above the console (which is lower than most people think it should be), take a less-is-more approach,” Mary Beth Christopher, principal designer at MBC Interior Design, says. “A stack of coffee table books, a small plant, maybe one meaningful object—then, call it a day.”
Stay Away From Framed Photos
In the world of interior design, framed photos are a go-to finishing touch. But when decorating a TV console, they’re a big no-no.
“No framed photos on top of your console,” Sarah Cole, principal designer at Sarah Cole Interiors, says. “You already have a TV there, which is a giant picture. You don’t need more images to compete with that.”
Keep Equipment Out of Sight
Keep unsightly must-haves—like remotes, cords, and video game controllers—out of sight and off your console.
“A TV console should have space to put things away when not in use, so you can keep the top dedicated to a few special decor items,” Conner says. “It should not be a place for remotes, controllers, and games, because the whole purpose of a media console is to store those kinds of items.”
Trade Your Speakers for a Soundbar
“People often use the console as a surface for speakers,” Lisa Carolla, principal designer at Fish & Co Studio, says. “Always go with a soundbar that can be mounted under the TV, rather than putting your speakers on top of a console.” By doing so, you can keep equipment off your console—and free up space for prettier décor.
Paint Your Console a Fun Color
Instead of lining your TV console with bold accents, turn the console into a statement-maker itself. “Paint the entire console, and highlight it as a décor accent,” Conner says. “It’s less visual clutter than having a bunch of stuff on top.”
And if you’re not a fan of color, Christopher recommends adding texture with rattan, mesh, or upgraded hardware.
Choose Décor That Won’t Obstruct Your View
One common mistake people make when decorating a TV console? “Putting too much stuff or items that are too tall and compete with TV,” Christopher says.
Keep your décor scheme sleek, simple, and short. And slide tall pieces to the sides of your console, where they won’t cover up your TV.
Stock Up on Cable Raceways
If you end up with a few cords lining your walls, cover them up with cable raceways—sleek strips that are specifically designed for concealing cords.
“Cable raceways go over the cords and cover them in perfectly straight lines,” Carolla says. “Some options are even paintable, so you can match them to your wall and no one will ever see them.”
Trade Your Console for a Built-In
Instead of buying a freestanding TV console, invest in a built-in. “The room will look so much more finished with a built-in than a freestanding console,” Cole says. “It’s an investment, but has a huge impact.”
You can outfit the built-in with all the storage space you need—and you can even equip the custom cabinet with sliding doors that hide your TV when you’re not using it.
Leave Your Console Top Empty
It may sound revolutionary, but you can actually leave your TV console undecorated. “The key to a media console is everything needs to be put away,” Cole says. “Keep the top clear.”
Focus your decorative attention elsewhere. “Style other places in the room to provide visual interest away from the console,” she adds.