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Last Updated on 20th October 2023
If you are planning on redecorating this year and looking for interior design inspiration then the in-trend home decor for 2022 is media walls. It’s basically a feature wall with in-built TV and multimedia entertainment systems, plus storage to hide unsightly wires, cables, consoles, and satellite boxes.
The perfect media wall effectively makes the living room a home cinema for all the family to enjoy, with many choosing to add an electric fire for heat and mood lighting.
Usually, these are bespoke built with plasterboard stud wall, or MDF, often around unused fireplaces with means the custom build can maximise the recess for storage space and feature shelves for family photos. If you like the clean and minimalist aesthetic style, it’s definitely one to research. Predominantly the TV wall is based in the main family room living area.
What to consider when designing
It’s worth speaking to a company that specialises in installing media walls, as they will have experience and give you additional ideas. An expert will also inform you if you should remove the existing fireplace or build around the chimney breast, and be aware of common mistakes before making them. It’s worth considering if you will ever revert back to the current style before any major work, and consider structural impacts.
And if you are doing this renovation, you may want to improve some other aspects of your lounge or living space too, like installing underfloor heating or laminate flooring. If you are redecorating then you might want to channel other wires and install media console cabling.
And if removing the fireplace you may find it cost-effective to have builders remove the chimney and fireplace upstairs at the same time. But if the job is more than installing a false wall, it needs careful planning, implementation, and then spending time to get it right.
Either way, if you were thinking about redecorating the living room for the summer anyway, you definitely want to factor in a media wall.
Things to consider before starting:
- If you do not own the property, you will need to speak to the homeowner before starting.
- You will need a qualified electrician if moving sockets and light switches.
- You will need a carpenter if building a wood frame.
- You will need a plasterer if using plasterboard.
- If you currently have a gas fire you will need a registered gas engineer to cap it.
- It will need to be painted.
- Depending on the level of work, you may need new carpet.
- Decide if you want a wall mounted electric fire
Main factors for design aesthetics
TV size and speaker placement
The television screen is the visual centrepiece of the family room, and it’s important to not just get this central for viewing, but also the size right to not dominate the space too much. Of course it depends on the room intention, if you want a home cinema then the bigger the better.
While size matters, height does too. Make sure it’s positioned for comfortable viewing from the sofa and it might take some adjustment if you currently use a media unit. And make a point of checking for reflections from windows on the screen, as nice as natural light is it can detract from the viewing experience. If the media wall has this issue in the ideal space, then angling the television screen might solve the problem.
Internal TV speakers are at the back, so you will need to factor in the cost and positioning of an external sound bar into your design.
TV’s don’t like heat, but most design ideas put the electric fire at the bottom of the central feature wall as they use convection heat. This means the TV’s do not get hot as they warm the air and push it back out again, so it doesn’t get hotter externally than your electric oven.
So a modern electric fire is a great choice if you have kids or pets, as even on the hottest heat setting will not cause injuries. And the realistic flame visuals really give the lounge that warm feel.
Media boxes and connection points
If you have a Skybox, or Virgin Media then you will need to factor in their placement based on where the connection points are into your media wall design. These will either need to be moved or have cables run into where the boxes will store. The same will apply to power supply and any TV Ariel point which is worth putting in for future options incase you go Freeview and streaming only.
Don’t worry too much about remotes, as while infra-red can’t penetrate walls easily, Bluetooth remotes (and game console controllers) can and you can get extenders too. Just remember the games consoles require easy access for discs.
Just be aware that the Wi-Fi router performs best with uninterrupted signal, so it would be better to go direct to the Smart Tv with an ethernet cable for uninterrupted streaming and have the router external still.
The best method is to use a TV bracket giving easy access, to HDMI, power leads and AV cables which can be fed through channels to hide them away.
How much do media walls cost?
The overall cost is heavily impacted on the level of work needed and the cost of TV, etc. For a basic false wall, it could be as little as £600. But if additional work is needed or you splash out on some luxury home furnishings then it will push the price up.
You can also consider decorating your media wall with small, delicate objects. For example, colourful neon signs will make your media wall more beautiful and personalized. On a dim night, the room will also be brighter with the neon light. So take action to customize your media wall with neon signs now!