Five Tips: How to Create a TV-Free Media Room

Den by day, home theater by night: Anne Hepfer reveals how she designed a space that works beautifully for both.

Five Tips: How to Create a TV-Free Media Room

It's one of the most common decorating struggles for designers and homeowners alike: what to do about that big, black eyesore of a television that can dominate your living room and detract from your decor. You can disguise it slightly by hiding it amid a gallery wall, or tuck it inside a cabinet, but Toronto-based designer Anne Hepfer has a better idea. Take a peek around this stylish San Francisco media room and see if you can figure out where she's hid the entertainment.

It doesn't pop out of the buffet console or emerge from the wall of built-ins when you pull out a particular book (though we'd fully condone the latter solution). In fact, you won't find one. Rather than be stuck with a TV of any kind to decorate around, Hepfer went the increasingly popular route of installing a projector and a drop-down screen in the ceiling. Her solution makes both dramatic, large-scale movie viewing or Netflix binges and sophisticated social gatherings possible in the same space.

 Keep reading for the designer's tips on creating a stylish multipurpose room like this one, and scroll all the way down for her projector product picks. 

Five Tips: How to Create a TV-Free Media Room
Five Tips: How to Create a TV-Free Media Room

Five Tips: How to Create a TV-Free Media Room

1. Drop and Give Me TV. So how does this movie magic work? "With the press of a button, the screen and projector electronically lower out of the ceiling as do black-out blinds to block light from the window," explains Hepfer. For a lower commitment (and cost) version, mount a projector from the ceiling and forgo the automated upgrades.

2. Maximize Flexibility. The clever entertainment solution means the space's purpose—and its bold design—isn't dictated by a dominating piece of technology. It works just as well when it's in use as a library or family gathering spot. "Our goal was to make it comfortable, cozy, colorfully chic and sophisticated," says the designer.

Five Tips: How to Create a TV-Free Media Room
Five Tips: How to Create a TV-Free Media Room

3. Prioritize Comfort AND Style. Hepfer chose all of the furnishing for this space with long movie nights in mind. "I used fluffy Moroccan rugs and lots of pillows to cuddle up with," she says. The butterfly-patterned chairs swivel to angle towards the screen, and "have a lumbar pillow for back support." 

4. Go Ahead, Be Dramatic. Hepfer's "mad mix of elements" combines whimsical, flora and fauna motifs with touches of Old Hollywood glamour. A butterfly print textile covers slim slipper chairs, a pair of leopard lamps frame a Warhol fish print, and a vintage wooden bird light sits atop a red-lacquered side table. Fornasetti plates arranged throughout the built-in bookcase even call to mind the faces of silent film stars. 

Five Tips: How to Create a TV-Free Media Room

5. Balance Bold Color with Black. Adding at least one black item to every vignette is a classic design rule that holds up in this space. The coffee table, lampshades, console, and grosgrain ribbon on the curtains help to ground Hepfer's boisterous palette of  yellow, camel, red and fuchsia.

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