One Room Challenge

Before and After: This Dramatic $1,500 TV Wall Transformation Is Pure Art

published Dec 19, 2022
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Before: a tv on a black tv stand

Many living rooms and family rooms have a TV. (If not, what else would you possibly eat dinner around?!) And many homeowners and renters struggle with where exactly to put that TV so it’s actually usable — and how to display it so it’s stylish, too.

Some electronics companies sell TVs that look like framed artwork when powered off, and many DIYers have managed to hack a similar look together. And then there’s Vishnupriya Ayyappan’s (@cozyupwithvishnu) homemade accent wall, which adds a dramatic backdrop behind the TV.

“When I got this house, there was no cheerfulness, the paint was dull yellowish, and there were no eye-drawing elements to bring life to the living room,” Vishnupriya, who goes by Vishnu, says.

Because she had just made a down payment on a house, she couldn’t afford a media console right away. “But my major concern was that I had no place to decorate during festival/holiday season,” Vishnu says. “I couldn’t place Diya anywhere during Diwali or hang my garlands for Christmas.”

Vishnu decided to make a more statement-making background for TV watching (and for decorating) during the One Room Challenge. “Since it was the media wall, I wanted to bring a moody feel so that if I turn off the lights, I should get a theater feel,” Vishnu says. She also wanted to make the room feel taller, and her solution was dark navy vertical slats. Her total project cost about $1,500.

Vishnu used 96-inch sheets of fluted paneling to create her textured wall, but first, she cut and installed the 1×4 moulding, one vertical piece to divide the light switch plates and two horizontal “in alignment with my hallway doorway,” she explains.

After the 1x4s were done, Vishnu added a floating shelf she made from scratch and stained with Varathane’s Early American. Even though there’s no fireplace beneath it, the floating shelf almost feels like a mantel — and can be decorated like one, too.

Next, Vishnu created her TV backdrop. She had a piece of plywood cut at Home Depot and covered it in a blue marble peel-and-stick wallpaper. Vishnu’s advice is to have wood for you at the hardware store when possible. Some places, like Home Depot, will cut it for free, she says. “It makes your life easy.”

Vishnu then drilled holes to install the TV background, TV, and sconces — the latter of which gave her a little more trouble than she would have liked.

“They were curved, so they made my life miserable,” Vishnu says of the sconces. And it took her one full day (out of the two-week project) to find a solution for hanging them, in which she added two extra pieces of fluted panel on either side of the sconces to help cover up gaps. Those pieces of fluted panel were attached with Command Strips “so if it comes to to remove the sconces, then I can remove those panels,” Vishnu explains.

The rest of the fluted panel installation was easy. “The nooks and cuts were already made,” Vishnu explains. She filled in any remaining holes and then gave it all a coat of Behr’s Very Navy paint with a paint sprayer.

As for styling, Vishnu mostly used thrifted and discount items: a table lamp and books from Goodwill, a $25 throw from IKEA, and $40 stools from Amazon.

Vishnu says if she could change anything about the project, she would have made her marbleized plywood background a little larger because she plans to buy a larger TV soon. Other than that, though, she loves the way her project turned out — and it’s much more luxe-looking than the “builder-grade, plain, bland, boring” space before, as she described it. Now, the TV isn’t just a gathering spot — it’s a focal point, too.

This project was completed for the Fall 2022 One Room Challenge, in partnership with Apartment Therapy. See even more of the One Room Challenge before and afters here.