The Black Hole in the Living Room Wall

Updated: Jun 21, 2019

I've always lived in somebody else's space: my parents' home, dormitory rooms, apartments, my parent's home again.... So I was in my 60s and retired before I ever had a space that was all mine, empty and clear of previous occupants' decorating ideas. I took some of my retirement savings and bought a little winter home in Florida.

It was when I began furnishing the living room that I first encountered the Black Hole in the living room wall. If you've ever decorated a room from scratch, you're already laughing because you know what it is: the television. A 21st century home necessity, yet this severely plain black rectangle sits smack in the middle of a wall, and doesn't blend well with any style of décor but medical-office modern. Not the design statement most homeowners wish to make, but how do you get around it?

The big Black Hole in the living room wall.

There are three options. Option 1 is just to ignore it; if you can ignore the way Aunt Erminegard sucks her false teeth, surely you can ignore the intrusion of a gigantic black rectangle. Option 2: you can buy or build a piece of furniture to hold it and hide it when not in use. There are some lovely wall cupboards with doors that fold back to expose the screen. But they cost as much as the TV, or more, and serve no purpose but camouflage. I like Option 3 the best: surround it with other rectangles to create a gallery of like shapes, all filled with pictures. This not only blends it into the décor, it fills your space with images of people and places you love so you can enjoy them every single day.


The beginning of my gallery wall. (Minor children's faces blurred for privacy.)

It's not quite finished yet, but here's my living room wall now, with all my grandparents, my sister, my Toolish Child, and several cousins all smiling down on me every time I enter the room. It's my favorite place to be (except, of course, the beach.) It's a very small wall, only about six or seven feet long, so it will overflow soon onto adjacent walls to accommodate my parents, my brothers, and a whole gaggle of nieces and nephews, dogs, and other friends. Like families, galleries tend to grow over time.

If you'd like to create a gallery wall of your own but you don't quite know where to start, just ask me. I'd be happy to help. And by the way, those cluttery, distracting power and antenna cords--I have answers for them, too.

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