How to Design Around a Media Console

The prominent black presence of a television screen has long been a design challenge. How to keep it from being the focal point? How to offset its size and color? How to work with the unapologetic contrasts it presents?

Whether or not you need a piece of furniture for your TV to stand on, a media console is an excellent starting point for this design dilemma. A console provides a grounding element that makes it possible to design around your TV, both literally and figuratively. Here are a few examples of how you can create a visually balanced space for your media center.


Build Up Vignettes

A media console can provide valuable hidden storage, but above (and even underneath) it offers opportunities for visible styling that softens the impact of the big black rectangle. In this living room, the floating white credenza disappears into the wall, so the planters and artwork above and the piles of books below create interest and variation. The undersized artwork to the left adds an offbeat touch.

Source: Francois et Moi

Here we’ve styled the Cruise Control Console with an emphasis on symmetry. The television is the feature, and it’s framed on each side by a pair of elegant lamps standing on Alluring Counter Stools. The colorful boatwood drawers and the piles of books complete the look with flair.

Source: EcoChic Lifestyles


Go Behind the Scenes

If you can’t beat them, why not join them? A gallery wall is a spectacular way to camouflage a television by overwhelming it with artwork. Here the strong rectangular lines of the media console are echoed in the varied sizes and shapes of the frames on the wall.

Source: Emily Henderson via Studio McGee


Go All in on the Console

Our media equipment has shrunk significantly since the days of enormous cathode ray tubes, receivers and amplifiers and turntables, stacks of vinyl albums and cassette tapes. Which means that your console doesn’t have to hold a boatload of electronics and accoutrements.

Instead, why not go heavy on the styling like this designer, with pretty vases, plants, and books. The design of the console itself is a sculptural element that pulls the eye away from the TV when it’s not streaming Netflix.

Source: Pretty in the Pines

Our EcoChic cabinet collection offers a number of options if you want to put the emphasis on your media console. The Reel Deal Console featured at the top of this post has a mosaic pattern on its two doors and weathered boatwood above. And the Channel Surf Console below is another eye-catching choice.

Source: EcoChic Lifestyles


Build up the Shelving

Here’s another take on the gallery wall, but it’s a little more restrained. Shelving above the console again draws attention away from the TV, with strong horizontal lines that contrast with the solid bulk of the wood cabinet. This designer has opted to keep the artwork all in the same square proportion, which has a pleasing repetition that’s enlivened by the different colors and tones.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens


Designing around a television doesn’t have to be a chore. Start with a media console that delights you, and bring in balancing elements of texture, shape, and tone that make your entertainment center a visual treat.

Megan Risdon

CEO EcoChic

Megan Risdon is the CEO of EcoChic Lifestyles. She was inspired to found the company when she discovered the possibilities for crafting art furniture from colorful fishing boat wood.