My Living Room Isn’t Centered Around My Television, and Here’s Why That’s Amazing

published Apr 17, 2021
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Credit: Kelsey Mulvey

From the moment my boyfriend and I laid eyes on our current apartment, we knew exactly what our living room would look like. We’d buy a large sectional to fit the length of the room, offering enough space for our guests to kick back and relax. (Little did we know the shelter-in-place order would go into effect six months later, but I digress.) I’d fill our sun-drenched windows with all the plants a la my forever design muse, Justina Blakeney. (I faked the look with artificial plants, but it still looks great.) And since it’s the spatial status quo, I figured we’d mount our supersized television in the center of our room to create a focal point. Okay, well, that last idea didn’t go according to plan.

You see, our apartment has a very detailed lease, covering everything right down to where we can and cannot put our potted plants. Though we weren’t technically prohibited from mounting a television, we were nervous about damaging our walls and just wanted to be great tenants. When my mother came to visit a few weeks after our move, she suggested that we consider placing our television in front of one of our large built-ins. We did the math, and it fit perfectly, as you can see below — no nails or tools required!

Credit: Kelsey Mulvey

“It’s so weird that your television isn’t in the center of your living room,” one of our friends said when they visited pre-pandemic. I’ll admit that placing our television anywhere besides the center of our room — essentially above our fireplace — felt… weird. My boyfriend and I love to watch movies, so this unconventional placement felt almost sacrilegious to our lifestyle, and of course, it’s not the symmetrical thing to do. The longer we’ve lived here though, the more I’ve become low-key obsessed with this off-centered placement.

After spending over a year inside — and, let’s be honest, sitting in front of the television — you might think this unconventional placement has worn out its welcome. Truth is, this setup really works for us. As I had envisioned, we picked up a large sectional, one where every seat offers an amazing vantage point for seeing the screen. It doesn’t matter where we’re sitting, we’re able to get our dose of screen time. (And then some, tbh.)

We’re fortunate enough to have a wall filled with gorgeous built-ins and a working (!!) fireplace, so off-centering our television didn’t totally throw off our room’s flow. If anything, it balances the book-filled built-ins on the opposite of the fireplace. And, since this design decision required zero handiwork, we can kick back and relax knowing we’re not wreaking havoc on our security deposit.

Credit: Kelsey Mulvey

Prior to the shelter-in-place order, my boyfriend and I would host bi-monthly dinner parties. Some of my favorite memories of those parties involved a roaring fireplace, a great playlist, and a handful of friends focusing on not the television screen but each other’s company.

I know placing your television in the center of a room has become the design norm. If that makes you happy, who am I to judge? If you want to stray from the status quo though, go for it. If you don’t want a TV at all in this room, that’s okay, too! At the end of the day, design is all about whatever makes you happy. As unordinary as this setup is (especially as we spend so much time at home), it gets me excited for the future; a future that can be, hopefully, spent enjoying each other’s company and giving the television a rest.