Before and After: A Dark Living Room’s Bright Refresh Has a Sleek New Entertainment Setup

published Feb 5, 2022
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One of the most frequent comments on Apartment Therapy’s living room redos is “Where’s the TV?” — and understandably so. For many people, a couch and TV are two musts in the living room, so when a space clearly shows a TV, it looks lived-in and relatable. But when a space can disguise the TV or blend it into a gallery wall? It’s an innovative design-plus-entertainment win.

In Singapore-based couple Leana Doray and Dharma Sadasivan’s (@modernasianlife) living room redo, they were looking to upgrade the media center and the storage in the space while giving the room a sleek, minimalistic look.

“We wanted our home generally to have a gallery-like feel so that we could curate and draw visual attention to the things we wanted to display while removing extraneous distractions,” Leana says.

Before, she says, her living room felt dark due to trees blocking the window, and “the lighting and paint color were too warm and yellow in tone,” she says.

In addition, it had zero storage. “It didn’t feel like the space was being efficiently utilized,” Leana says.

She and Dharma hired an interiors company to construct a new, elongated media console across one wall — though Leana thinks, in retrospect, that a look like this could be easily recreated using more budget-friendly IKEA BESTAS.

Professionals installed the TV above the cabinetry, a Samsung pick designed to look like a frame that they frequently keep in “Art Mode.” “We didn’t want a big void-like mass on our wall whenever the TV was off,” Leana explains. “We wanted it to disappear when not in use.”

She says when guests come over, they frequently mistake it for artwork.

Her advice if you’re trying to make a TV look seamless in your space is to definitely hide the cords — even if that means splurging a bit. “We initially ran trunking from the TV to the electrical point but decided it was distracting and had our electrician hack the wall to hide the wire,” she says.

The new entertainment center is definitely a wow-factor in the space, but the whole room went through changes to make the space brighter. Dharma and Leana painted the walls a bright white (Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace) and the window frames matte black to make them pop. Painting the frames black “creates a visual frame that draws the eye out to the gorgeous greenery just outside,” Leana says, and the greenery got a trim, too, to let more light shine through.

The couple also replaced the old yellow-tinted light fixtures with warm white cove and ceiling lights and used white and off-white furniture in the room to complete the serene, minimalist vibe.

“Another major highlight of the living room is the floor-to-ceiling bevelled mirrors strategically placed on one wall so that daylight is bounced deeper into our home,” Leana says. “It also serves to enlarge the entire space.”

In total, their redo cost around $3,935. “We love that it didn’t cost us the moon but truly makes a huge impact,” Leana says. “It’s now a beautiful and practical space where we can unwind at the end of each day.”