With more than 20 percent of American households owning one, flat-screen televisions can be found in nearly every type of room - from living rooms and kitchens to garages and man caves.

And while HDTV and other technologies give flat screens the ability to turn any room into a private movie theater, there are plenty of design options to keep your room glowing long after the TV is turned off.

"Flat screens being close to the size of a painting or piece of art, makes them much easier to design around," says Kristianne Watts, owner of KW Designs in Solana Beach, Calif. "For me, it becomes a fun challenge to come up with an innovative design that carries the style of the house and function for technology. Design evolves as technology evolves," she says.

"I personally think they're great because of the size flexibility and shallow depth," says Louise Farrar-Wegener, principal owner of Tigard, Ore.-based Z-3 Design Studio "I can make them a showpiece, downplay their presence or make them disappear depending upon the client's desires."

While most Americans place the television in the living room or media room - the places where they watch the most television and do the most entertaining - some designers warn against putting a flat-screen TV in just any room.

"One place it doesn't belong is in the bedroom," says Farrar-Wegener. "Medical sleep studies have shown viewing TV in bed is detrimental to a good night's sleep. For clients who just have to have the news on in the morning as they get dressed, there are TVs that are incorporated into bathroom vanity mirrors and towel warming racks."

Such clever design techniques can be used for flat screen televisions, as well - here's how to make your flat-screen television blend in with your home décor:


Depending on size of the room and how the walls are placed, Watts suggests using a subtle, textured wall finish in a neutral or muted color for the TV wall and/or surrounding walls. Add accents along the TV wall that are balancing in size, as well.


Incorporate your flat-panel television into a modular pre-made or custom wall unit of shelves and closed storage, Farrar-Wegener says. "This works best with the unit in black or dark woods and a black TV case," she says. "Off-set the TV to one side so it's less prominent or dominant. Have the closed storage be deeper (project out further) than the open shelves and the TV. Display books and artwork on the open shelves."


Create a recessed art niche so the TV face is on the same plane as the wall, Farrar-Wegener suggests. Display 3-D art pieces to each side of the TV. A black cased TV works best.


Recess the TV in the wall or in cabinetry behind concealing doors or panels, says Farrar-Wegener. The doors or panels can lift, slide, or open and recess. The doors or panels can be mounted with artwork or be artwork pieces that display when closed.


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