I admit it. I like watching TV at the end of the day. It’s relaxing. Plus, there’s so much great TV to watch with all the cable channels, PVR and streaming services, we can pretty much watch anything we want whenever we want.
I’m old enough to remember having 13 channels which required watching umpteen commercials.
Like TV content, TV room furniture has come a long way and so too has TV technology. Just yesterday our 5 year old referred to our 32″ TV as the “small” TV. He’s not wrong because our other television is 65″. When I grew up we had a 27″ television.
I’m not sure how big televisions will get, but I do know technology, content options and of course furniture will constantly change.
These days, many new houses include a media room, which is really a fancy TV room set up for optimal viewing and top-of-the-line technology.
Our home was built in 1983 so it’s devoid of a media room. In fact, we put our monster 65″ TV in the living room. Now that may seem odd, but actually it makes a lot of sense. Our living room is the nicest room of our home. It gets plenty of light and has a gorgeous view (we live on a mountain). Instead of restricting the living room to formal occasions, we’ve made it our de facto media/family room and so we use it every day.
Enough about my stuff… let’s dig into the topic du jour which is furniture options for watching TV. This is gonna be fun.
Table of Contents
- General Rules
- TV Stands
- The Sofa
- The Chair
- Floor Seating
- The Ottoman
- The Table
Okay, “rules” is a bit harsh of a word here. But I think it’s a good idea to choose your TV viewing furniture based on the room in which you’re going to watch. For instance, since our television is in the room designated as our formal living room, we have fairly nice furniture that includes 2 wing chairs, a white sofa, a white club chair and 2 white ottomans. All this white is nicely juxtaposed against dark, reddish hardwood floors. It looks pretty good.
My point is the furniture you go with will in part be dictated by the room. For example, unless you live in a frat house, you don’t theater recliners in your living room. That would look ridiculous… but of course would totally work in a designated media room.
Any discussion on TV furniture would be remiss without including your options for displaying the TV.
1. The Simple Stand
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Personally, I prefer a minimalist approach to furniture designed to hold or store a television, but that’s just me. I certainly don’t care for built-ins or entertainment centers because it hedges you in as to the size of TV you can have. Since size keeps growing, I’m sure some day our 65″ behemoth will seem like an itty bitty screen.
This is why I prefer a TV stand or having it mounted on the wall. We have a simple white stand with 3 drawers. It’s nothing fancy but does the job. Had I the inclination, I’d prefer it mounted for a really clean look, but to date I don’t have the inclination to hire someone to do that.
2. Corner Stands
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Corner stands are okay but often don’t have the room for today’s larger TVs. They were popular for the large, box-shaped TV’s, but aren’t all that great for larger, flat screen televisions. This is why you don’t see them as much as 20 years ago.
The plus side with corner stands is they nicely fit in the corner of a room which may be the best TV viewing configuration for you.
3. Fireplace Stands
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I’m not a fan of the TV stand with built-in electric fireplace, but in small spaces, it makes sense if you don’t mind electric fireplaces (they look pretty real these days). I personally wouldn’t get one, but can understand if you want one.
4. Media Chests
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Media chests are good for the bedroom TV. They offer drawer space and support the TV. Other than wall-mounted, the media chest is a great bedroom TV option. They’re often a bit taller than the usual TV stand which makes it more comfortable to watch while propped or lying down in bed.
5. TV Armoire
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The big problem with a TV armoire is the limited width for the TV. They were great when a 32″ television was the norm, but these days it just doesn’t work with the larger TV’s.
6. The Entertainment Center
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Like the TV armoire, the entertainment center is problematic with limited television space. These aren’t cheap and once you have one, getting a larger TV than what fits in the entertainment center means your entertainment center is useless.
But, just because I don’t care for the large entertainment center, doesn’t mean you don’t like it. Many offer great storage options which can be very useful for any room.
I like the look of custom built-ins, but like the TV armoire and entertainment center, I don’t like the limited television space these often have. While a TV armoire and entertainment system can be moved, a built-in is permanent which can be a long term problem.
No matter what, the sofa must be comfortable. I think even if in a formal room, it should be comfortable. There’s no point in spending money on uncomfortable seating.
A sofa is a great TV viewing seat because you can lounge back or share it with other people. Every TV room should have one. The bigger, the better.
Sectional or no sectional?
Ohhhhh, this is a tough question. I love sectionals, but not everyone does. My wife isn’t fond of them. I like them because they’re big and fill up a room with plenty of sitting space. But sometimes a sofa and a couple of chairs, especially comfortable club chairs, is better.
The hard part of this decision is that there are many fine looking sectionals formal enough for a living room so if your living room is your TV room, you can’t automatically rule out a sectional unless you don’t like sectionals.
Moreover, there are plenty of small sectionals that will fit in smaller spaces.
And so the decision is not so easy.
Either way you can’t go wrong.
5 Classic TV Living Room Furniture Configurations:
- Sofa and loveseat
- Sofa, loveseat and 2 chairs
- Sofa and 1, 2 or 3 chairs (we have a sofa and 3 chairs)
- Large sectional sofa
- Sectional sofa and 1 or 2 chairs.
Room size matters when choosing your configuration. Avoid cramming the place. You need space to walk. Jammed packed rooms aren’t serene.
If your main TV space is in your family room or a media room, you can go all out for comfort and get a uber comfortable recliner sectional sofa. These can be huge or small. The key is you get plenty of seating, some of which reclines. It’s pretty cool. It’s an easy way to get that theater look and feel.
If the interior designer in you simply can’t turn your family room into a quasi theater with a recliner sofa, there are many sectionals to choose from. In fact, there are 1,000’s of sectionals to choose from.
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Recliner sectionals are comfortable but don’t look very good. I’d prefer a stylish sectional with ottomans.
Again, comfortable, but not stylish. I prefer regular sofa with an ottoman. It looks so much better and the ottoman provides the leg/foot support a recliner does.
My favorite style of chair without a doubt is the club chair. I have one and I love it. Mine isn’t all that great either, yet I love the look and feel. And so I fear my discussion about the best chairs for watching TV will be biased toward the club chair. Because our main TV room is in the living room, the club chair is a great choice balancing aesthetics and comfort.
However, I also understand club chairs are on the masculine side of the spectrum. They also are not the most comfortable chairs… the most comfortable chair title belongs to the recliner.
1. The Recliner
The recliner is tops for comfort, but many recliners don’t look so great. That said, there are some stylish recliners that will look great in a living room. I’m a big fan of recliners, but do like them stylish.
While a regular chair with ottoman offers much of the same comfort features, the regular chair, such as a club chair, doesn’t recline so it’s not quite as comfortable.
Check out the following very stylish recliners… I love all of these:
2. The Club Chair
I LOVE club chairs. The bigger, the better. I like varieties that are bulky and very comfortable. The only downside to club chairs is that the backs are often not that high so your head/neck isn’t supported. A club chair definitely needs an ottoman.
Compare the following club chairs to the above recliners. You’ll notice the recliner has a higher back which is more comfortable.
3. The Accent Chair
Many accent chairs aren’t terrific for comfort; they’re often more focused on style and decor than comfort. Therefore, I don’t think they’re all that great for a TV room, but if you want some style in your media room, adding an accent chair or two isn’t a bad idea. You can put them along the wall or out-of-the-way which adds a nice touch, but isn’t the central seating.
4. Chaise Lounge
Chaise lounges can be ideal for watching TV. They are very comfortable since you are more horizontal than vertical, yet your head is propped up for viewing. I think the chaise lounge is an underused TV viewing seating option.
5. Theater Seating
If you want that theater look and experience, go for the theater seats. This alone turns a family room into a media room.
The trouble with theater seating is beyond watching TV, they aren’t much good. They certainly aren’t good for conversing or playing games. They’re designed to look in one direction which works for gaming and watching.
1. Bean Bag
Kids love floor seating and the bean bag is a solid option. They’re good to have on hand when you need extra seats… and then can be stored and out of the way. Any home with kids can benefit with a bean bag or two.
2. Floor Seating
Actually, you can take bed loungers and use them on the floor. They need to be propped up against a wall or sofa, but in a pinch can add additional seats.
If you forego the recliner, you definitely want an ottoman. The bigger, the better in my opinion. I like them big enough for trays of food. In fact, the sofa area should have 2 ottomans and each chair should have an ottoman.
Fortunately ottomans can look amazing and in fact can enhance the design of a room. There’s no reason not to provide every seat an ottoman unless that seat has a reclining option.
Now I say all this in tongue and cheek. A room with 4 ottomans may look a little stuffy and may not be optimal for a living room, but it’s just fine for a family or rec room.
If it’s a media room you’re outfitting, you should have little need for an ottoman because a media room is ideal for recliner mania – recliner sofa and/or recliner chairs.
Actually it should be “The Tables”… as in plural. I like end tables flanking every sitting option, especially on each side of the sofa. Tables next to chairs is a little more difficult unless the chair is next to the sofa (separated by a small side table).
1. End Tables
I love end tables. I prefer end tables over coffee tables because they’re more convenient and don’t clutter up a room. In fact, our living room doesn’t have a coffee table; instead we have 2 end tables and 3 ottomans.
2. Coffee Tables
If you have large ottomans, a center coffee table really is optional. A tray on an ottoman does the job. In fact, coffee tables can get in the way often best serving as a shin-buster. Moreover, they aren’t all that convenient for beverages and snacks because you need to lean over or get up out of the seat. Who needs that? Not me. I’d rather have slide tables where I can retrieve my cold beverage simply by swinging my hand to the side.
3. TV Trays
I’m not a big fan of the TV tray. I’m not one to eat meals in front of the TV. Snacks are fine, dinner not so much. However, there are occasions when the TV dinner is a necessary event… election night, Olympics, some crazy breaking news event… something that you just have to watch live.
This is when it’s time to bust out the TV tray.
Your furniture style needs to reflect the interior room style and the room itself.
That said, there’s wiggle room to play too. For instance, you don’t need stuffy, formal furniture in a living room. You can opt for casual furnishings in your living room.
While it’s fine to place a coastal style armchair in a contemporary room, it’s not good to put a rustic club chair in a midcentury room.
It’s a matter of degrees really. Some styles work together while others are a clash. You want to avoid the clash.
So while comfort is a big part of the TV furniture equation, it’s not the be-all and end-all. You want the furniture style to reflect the room style.