Hello all,

I moved to a new apartment (first time living on my own) just after graduating this May. I have found that I can fill my time easily enough without a TV but what I can not fill is the space it would occupy. My largish living room feels rather odd with a sofa facing just a few office chairs. A TV would nicely fill that spot but I am interested in other ideas for different things that could go there. I already have plenty of book case, desk and table space. Assuming a budget of a new TV what would you put in a living room?

Best,

William

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I have a tv but don't bother with cable, I have an xbox 360 so I have some video games, a large collection of movies and netflix ($8/month as oppose to cables $50+/month). Between all that i don't miss tv, I do have a digital antenna so i can get local stations etc. so i can get the news etc. but that's all I need.

or a bar's always a good idea.

Is there room for a pool table? I would line the walls with bookcases and shelves to hold cool stuff (I don't hunt but I love taxidermy, lots of it; always gets a strong reaction from people).
I would not have a TV, instead I'd leave one wall open (assuming you have white walls) and get a video projection and sound system to watch a movie now and then across the entire surface.

TV or not TV, that is the question... how about a life sized bust of Shakespeare..?

or a Pinball machine against the wall..?  or a folding ping pong table you can wheel out whenever you want...? 

My favorite set up was always two couches with a coffee table between them, it makes time with company much higher quality.

Also, a dart board is a great way to kill time/have fun with friends.  I've got one I need to get around to making a case for, it makes winter a lot more bearable if you live in a harsher climate.  No need to go anywhere, just throw darts for an hour or two.  Plus it's a pretty awesome "skill" to have, and much much cheaper than a pool table.

Good place to place a computer desk.

You guys have given me a lot of great ideas and a lot to think about. Fortunately I have plenty of time to figure this out. 

Book shelf?

Television

The most important thing we've learned,
So far as children are concerned,
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let
Them near your television set --
Or better still, just don't install
The idiotic thing at all.
In almost every house we've been,
We've watched them gaping at the screen.
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.
(Last week in someone's place we saw
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)
They sit and stare and stare and sit
Until they're hypnotised by it,
Until they're absolutely drunk
With all that shocking ghastly junk.
Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,
They don't climb out the window sill,
They never fight or kick or punch,
They leave you free to cook the lunch
And wash the dishes in the sink --
But did you ever stop to think,
To wonder just exactly what
This does to your beloved tot?
IT ROTS THE SENSE IN THE HEAD!
IT KILLS IMAGINATION DEAD!
IT CLOGS AND CLUTTERS UP THE MIND!
IT MAKES A CHILD SO DULL AND BLIND
HE CAN NO LONGER UNDERSTAND
A FANTASY, A FAIRYLAND!
HIS BRAIN BECOMES AS SOFT AS CHEESE!
HIS POWERS OF THINKING RUST AND FREEZE!
HE CANNOT THINK -- HE ONLY SEES!
'All right!' you'll cry. 'All right!' you'll say,
'But if we take the set away,
What shall we do to entertain
Our darling children? Please explain!'
We'll answer this by asking you,
'What used the darling ones to do?
'How used they keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?'
Have you forgotten? Don't you know?
We'll say it very loud and slow:
THEY ... USED ... TO ... READ! They'd READ and READ,
AND READ and READ, and then proceed
To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!
One half their lives was reading books!
The nursery shelves held books galore!
Books cluttered up the nursery floor!
And in the bedroom, by the bed,
More books were waiting to be read!
Such wondrous, fine, fantastic tales
Of dragons, gypsies, queens, and whales
And treasure isles, and distant shores
Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars,
And pirates wearing purple pants,
And sailing ships and elephants,
And cannibals crouching 'round the pot,
Stirring away at something hot.
(It smells so good, what can it be?
Good gracious, it's Penelope.)
The younger ones had Beatrix Potter
With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter,
And Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland,
And Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and-
Just How The Camel Got His Hump,
And How the Monkey Lost His Rump,
And Mr. Toad, and bless my soul,
There's Mr. Rat and Mr. Mole-
Oh, books, what books they used to know,
Those children living long ago!
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books,
Ignoring all the dirty looks,
The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,
And children hitting you with sticks-
Fear not, because we promise you
That, in about a week or two
Of having nothing else to do,
They'll now begin to feel the need
Of having something to read.
And once they start -- oh boy, oh boy!
You watch the slowly growing joy
That fills their hearts. They'll grow so keen
They'll wonder what they'd ever seen
In that ridiculous machine,
That nauseating, foul, unclean,
Repulsive television screen!
And later, each and every kid
Will love you more for what you did.

Roald Dahl

^This, this, and this. Dahl got it so right

People still use TV's?  Get with the new, man.  All you need is a PC (or Mac) and the Internet   

What do YOU do in your living room?  TV isn't the only choice.  I have a TV, but even if you don't, there are lots of things you can do.  Ask yourself, first, what you're intending to do in your living room.  I always feel that rooms should have a purpose.

 

Whether or not you have a TV isn't the issue.  The decorating seems to be your problem.  So, let me introduce you to a new term...conversation area.  Most people, guys especially, tend to line the walls with furniture, just like a doctor's waiting room.  And, it usually looks terrible.

 

Instead, bring the furniture towards the center of the room, away from the walls, so you can walk around it, and place it so that people can see each other while talking.

 

If you think that looks funny, try an area rug to "define" an area, a room within your big living room, so that it looks intentional.  Usually, between the sofa and the chairs, it'll make kind of a "horseshoe" shape.

 

Generally face the horseshoe towards a "focal area," which while usually the TV set, is always something interesting.  An aquarium.  A fireplace.  A bay window.  Something that is the "focus" of the room, and usually located on one of the walls.  But remember...face each other, not *just* the wall.

 

If you've got a second window, probably on the other wall, you can put a second sitting area over there.  Something small and secluded, 1 chair, maybe 2 flanking the window.  Think of it like a spot for reading.  Small table and lamp look nice, too.

 

This type of arrangement usually looks more intentional, and way more "designed" than the average bachelor pad.  And it works, whether or not you have a TV.

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