Media Room Dilemma

Media Room DilemmaQuestion:

Dear designers,

I recently found your webpage offering design help. What a great service!

I have a living room that has a unfinished look. The rectangular shape of this room has always left me feeling like the placement of items is not quite right. We changed TV sizes and now have a 50″ that will not fit the armoire that previously held our television. The whole room has been stuck for some time and now I have the added TV dilemma.

I love how the rooms in your magazine look lived in and that the items have been collected over time. Could you please suggest items for updating and finishing this room?



Dear Anne,

Thank you for your recent design dilemma. You truly did your homework! Thanks for sending the floor plan and the measurements. The more information we have, the better we can solve your dilemma. So let’s get started.

We rearranged your furniture to focus on your fireplace. We also created a media center on the opposite wall from the fireplace to accommodate your new 50″ flatscreen. Our choice is the Hanover Console, which should fit nicely against the wall with your flatscreen placed on top.

We created a “reading area” that includes your existing wing chair/ottoman and arm chair with a table (our 36″ Terrific Table Trio is an excellent choice) placed in between and centered under the large window. Match the tablecloth to the drapery panels (which we discuss later) for a cohesive look. The radio chest is placed along the side wall. On the opposite end of the room, we placed your piano under the smaller window and we selected our Santiago Bench to go under the window to the left of the fireplace. Placing a large floor plant in a decorative container to the left of the piano will be a nice finishing touch.

Lighting is a key ingredient to making a room warm and inviting. Try placing a lamp on either side of the sofa, one on the table in the reading area, one on the top of the radio chest, and one on the top of the piano. This should give you adequate light for most activities.

We would like to add drapery panels to the windows. They should be hung close to the ceiling on decorative rods to maximize the height of the room. We suggest our Ballard Essential Rod Pocket Panels in Khaki Twill or Celery Twill. We recommend that you send for swatches so you can better match your wall color. Perhaps you can add some pillows in the same color as the drapes to finish the look.

Please let us know your thoughts. We love feedback! And don’t forget to send pictures of the completed room so we can post them on Style Studio. Let us know if we can be of any further help.

The Style Studio Team

Media Design Dilemma

Posted 2/23/10

How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.


  1. Reply


    March 17, 2010

    I agree Shirley, We tried this seating arrangement and found viewing the TV very uncomfortable and the view was no longer directed to the fireplace.

  2. Reply

    Ballard Designs

    March 16, 2010

    Dear Shirley: TV viewing does not have to be straight on, if there is adequate space between the seating and the TV. The function of the room is varied, and we tried to incorporate as much functionality as possible. We hope this answers your question, and let us know if we can be of any further assistance.
    The Style Studio Team

  3. Reply

    shirley french

    March 10, 2010

    and how do you watch the new 50″ tv? sitting sideways on the sofa and loveseat or from the hearth and bench?

  4. Reply


    March 5, 2010

    It looks like some photos or diagrams are missing. Can we, the readers, see all the ‘before’ information? Then, can we see a rough sketch of the recommended result? After reading this I’m not convinced the change is enough — I would have suggested way, way, WAY more of Ballard’s great stuff to make this room more homey.