In such a relatively short period of time, televisions have completely transformed. Over the past 20 years, home televisions have fundamentally changed shape. What were once large square blocks are now wafer-thin rectangles, and by and large our homes have easily adapted. But if you (or a previous owner) adopted wall-mounted TVs early, before they became quite as streamlined as they are today, you may be left with an architectural reminder of what came before.
In the living room of this family’s home, this presence was felt more than most. “This particular recess was a holdover from the ’90s,” explains interior designer Mallory Robins, co-founder of Kobel + Co Interiors, “it was a large cutout for the old TV box and media components.”
While it’s easy enough to close an old TV niche, the end result for this space is the perfect example of how you can turn lemons into lemonade, improve this room and provide additional living room storage. “Although they had already updated to a more modern TV, the homeowner was actively using this space to store family games and felt this was a critical storage need to maintain in the renovation,” explains Mallory. The interior designers’ solution to this awkward niche? Turn it into hidden storage, hidden behind hinged artwork. Here’s how they did it.
Hugh is livingetc.comhis deputy, and an experienced housing and property journalist. He spoke with this interior designer to learn the secrets of this hidden storage hack, and help you figure out the best way to approach this project yourself using his DIY skills.
How to make this hidden storage hack
A wall niche doesn’t always mean sore, but for this space it meant the space could be kept for useful storage, rather than just a ledge for decorative items. It is the ideal root concealer.
“Instead of keeping the space visible and highlighting the ’90s architecture, we chose instead to make the most of the space, closing off just a small section at the bottom with plaster, and covering what was left with an oversized piece of art,” Mallory explains .
It introduces something a little magical to the room – a secret door that the kids will love and will undoubtedly be the talk of the town when entertaining guests in this room. But how easy is it to achieve?
As Mallory explains, the living room art, which is a photograph by Natalie Obradovich, “had to be specially framed to receive hidden hinges.” The challenge lies in matching the right type of frame to the right type of hinge, and finding a way to attach the hinge, but it is not impossible. You may need to retrofit a little extra to the back of the frame if you are DIYing to screw the hinge in, or you may want to look at a way to attach the hinge to the frame with glue.
Either way, keep in mind the weight of the frame you choose. The heavier the frame and artwork, the riskier the installation without using lots of hidden hinges to support the weight.
The beauty of the hidden hinge is that it cannot be seen from the outside. “The art sits close to the wall when it’s closed, so the casual observer is none the wiser,” explains Mallory.
Instead of a handle, or trying to awkwardly wrap your fingers around the frame to open the hidden door every time, install it with the correct mechanism fitted. “A touch lock mechanism now gives the family easy access to their games and records,” explains Mallory. This means that when you press one side of the frame, the secret door will open, and when you push it back against the touch mechanism, it will close again.