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Ask the House: How do l distract from the television?

In our new series, Ask The House, the Soho Home Design team will be answering the most-asked questions from members and customers. Follow us on Instagram (@sohohome) to share your interiors queries.

By Megan Murray

The simple truth is, most living rooms feature a television. It may not be glamorous, but it's the reality. So, how can we design around this fact and create a space that doesn't obviously point towards a screen?

For those wondering, Candy Murray, Soho Home's Interior Style Manager, says that it's all about balance. 'In the same way fashion images can be airbrushed, so can interiors. It's easy to get carried away with the "Instagram version" of a living room, but my advice is to accept that you have a TV and work with it,' she explains.

The first thing you can do is choose a well-designed TV. 'Opt for something simple, sleek and, if you can help it, not monstrously huge. Appreciating the TV that you've picked is a good foundation.'

Then, the choice is yours to frame it beautifully with storage or decorate away from it, creating another point of interest. Here, Murray explains how.

Optimise custom storage

'It's possible to make the TV a focal point, but in a good way. Design a custom storage unit to properly house all of your electrical equipment and you'll have more control over its aesthetic.

'Experiment with colour and opt for a rich navy or ochre for a statement. It also means you have somewhere to put other bits and pieces you might not want everyone else to see.'

Use a tapestry as a hideaway

'In the bedrooms of some of our recently opened Houses, the design team has created sliding artworks to cover the televisions. In Rome, a local artist made decorative tapestries that can be pulled across the screen, and in Nashville bespoke fabric covers were created to drop down in front.'

Curate an art-led feature

'A really huge canvas or a whole wall of different artworks is my favourite way to draw the eye in a living space. Say something with pieces you choose and make this the first thing you look at when you walk in.'

Try colour blocking

'While I wouldn't advise painting one wall a "feature" colour, it is possible to use colour to highlight certain areas of a room. For example, paint an alcove a moody shade and position an accent chair underneath to create a reading nook, and suddenly the room feels multi-faceted.'

Make the most of a fireplace

'You'll find fireplaces in many of our Houses, such as the cosy living rooms of 76 Dean Street in London. An open fire is like magic; it automatically draws everyone in the room towards it.

'Consider the tiles and period details: do they need reworking or updating? Style the mantlepiece with books, ornaments or a vase. Use the space above for a powerful piece of art - there are lots of ways to proclaim this spot the soul of the room.'

If you're interested in speaking to Candy Murray or any of our Soho Home Design team about updating your home, Soho House, Soho Friends and SOHO HOME+ members can enjoy a complimentary initial consultation. Learn more about becoming a Soho Friends member here.

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