This $20 Trick Will Fix Your Living Room’s Biggest Eyesore—I Promise!

updated Jan 2, 2020
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Credit: Viv Yapp

Not going to lie: I’m in love with a television—the Samsung Frame. I’ve written about her before, but she’s still playing hard to get. Because, well, she’s expensive. And I don’t really need a new television. This hasn’t stopped me from wanting that sleek, flush to the wall form The Frame is known for though. While I’m waiting for the real deal, I came up with a budget hack to get a sleeker look. And all it took was a $20 quart of paint. 

Hanging the TV over the mantel was the only thing that worked for our apartment’s layout, but once it was hung on the stretch of white wall above our black painted fireplace, I couldn’t help but feel like the flatscreen—and its jumble of wires—was an eyesore. Sure, televisions take up less space when wall-mounted, but even opposite a gallery wall full of great art and with a styled-out shelving unit immediately to its left, the television was, without doubt, the focal point of our living room. This bummed me out, until I had a thought. Why not paint the wall behind the television black to match the television itself—and the mantel and firebox below? I don’t have a fancy fireplace or large built-ins like in the inspirational image above, but I figured the idea could work well for more the more humble architecture in my place, too.

Credit: Minette Hand

And so we got a quart of Sherwin-Williams’ Black Magic (SW 6991), and in less than an hour, knocked this little project out. Of course, if you have a huge fireplace or want to do a bunch of coats, it might take you longer or cost more. But I have to say, this one thing has made a huge difference in the overall look of our living room. When the TV is off, it, the wires, and the soundbar recede into the wall behind it. My husband, who was a little skeptical at first, also thinks this tiny tweak has made the room feel more theater-like when we’re binge-watching Netflix, since the black paint reduces the contrast between the screen and the wall, especially in low light situations. Check it out in the photo I took below—just ignore the bad lighting and trust that in person, the black paint matches the television much better. You could obviously do this for any wall that you put a television on or against, as seen in stylist Kristin Laing’s Austin home above—fireplace very much optional.

Not bad for about $1,000 less, right?