As a professional organizer, I get asked for storage suggestions all the time. And one of the most frequent requests is how to “store” the TV—how to hide a huge flat-screen TV so it doesn’t dominate the room when not in use.
One way to do this is to hide the TV with art. Media Decor has sliding art lifts that move horizontally or vertically, without using any visible tracks. This design allows the end user to use mirrors as well as a wide range of art. It’s one of the few designs that uses wrapped canvases, not just framed art. However, it will require significant available space above, below or alongside the TV.
TV CoverUps has a frame that swings outward. This means it doesn’t take up much wall space, but having the frame shading the screen might not provide the optimal viewing experience. Also, depending on the placement, people might bump their heads on that frame.
VisionArt uses a motorized retracting canvas with a giclée print; the company says that the print can be rolled up and down an unlimited number of times with no damage. The purchasers can select from a gallery of artwork or provide their own (with proof of ownership) to be reproduced onto the canvas. This accommodates end users who just want to buy an off-the-shelf solution as well as those who want a very personalized product.
Tapestries, Ltd has an LCD cover which might be the easiest product to install, since it doesn’t attach to the TV. It uses a motorized rod and a remote control.
While all of the prior art-focused designs involve moving the art while the TV stays stationary, Hidden Vision has TV mounts that move the TV around; end users see the art or the TV depending on the positioning.
The flip-out mounts can extend the TV over a bed for viewing while lying down, which will delight some users and freak out others who don’t like heavy things overhead, no matter how securely they are installed.
Flat-screen surrounds (or cabinets) are a low-tech way to hide the TV from view—a nice alternative for users who want to minimize the electronics in a bedroom but can’t quite give up having a TV in there. Cherry Tree Design makes a two-panel and a four-panel model; the four-panel bifold design will require less space on either side of the TV for the doors. There are versions using shoji facings, art glass, photography and fine art.
Cabinets with TV lifts are the other obvious way to hide a television. The quality of the lift mechanism is the most critical issue, but there are other design decisions, too. For example, these cabinets can come with a hinged lid, as this one from Activated Decor does, or they can have a floating lid that goes up and down along with the TV.
This cabinet from Nexus 21, with its floating lid, has a 360-degree swivel mechanism—something you can’t get with a hinged lid. If the cabinet will be used away from a wall, perhaps as a room divider, that swivel mechanism could be important.
Also, items can be positioned on top of a lift cabinet with a floating lid—but I probably wouldn’t do that unless they were held in place with museum wax or something similar.
TV lifts can also be incorporated into other furniture, such as this TV bed, with its very slim footboard. This makes for a compact design, but it also reduces flexibility; what if the owners decide, in the future, that they don’t want a TV in the bedroom?
Although some of these products are intriguing, it’s good to remember that sometimes end users don’t need a fancy design. The simplest and least expensive option for hiding the TV screen would be something like this quilted cover that Louise Hornor made for her personal use. Those who aren’t as talented are mostly out of luck, though, as commercially available products of this sort are very limited.