Forget Mid-Century Modern (MCM). I predict that the next big trend in home decorating will be CCC, or Current-Century Craigslist. To do it well you need to have a long game curating approach, highly nuanced negotiating skills and a friend with a truck.
CCC decor can be found in every corner of my home. The reward, of course, is that with all that money saved on secondhand items you can occasionally budget for that one showstopper of a statement piece. This post is therefore dedicated to all my Craigslist sellers whose unexpected job transfers, relationship fails and uncontrolled spending (pot to kettle: no judgment here) has helped to beautify my home on the cheap. I’m so sorry for your loss, but it was wonderful doing business with you.
Call me when you decide to get rid of that tufted ottoman.
I get it. You spent weeks picking out just the right paint color for your living room wall. As you stand back admiring it from every conceivable angle, you can’t imagine a massive black stain in the middle, staring back at you like some giant cyclops eye every time you enter the room.
Yet this flat screen TV of yours has got to go somewhere. And because you are committed to no extra furniture in this small space, it must be mounted. What to do?
Turn it into a piece of wall art.
Mine is not the cheapest solution on the market, but it’s not the most expensive, either. If you have between $2k – $5k to spare, there’s a well-known company online that will “frame your tv” (Google it) with any number of costly add-ons…from a mirrored display, to a licensed art canvas that rolls up when you turn the tv on, to a dizzying array of fancy frames that gleam of burnished copper, brass, gold or silver.
I don’t have that kind of money.
But I also don’t mind spending a little more on a custom solution that solves not one but three challenges:
- How to avoid making a 60-inch black hole the dominant visual feature of my living area.
- How to avoid cluttering up my living room with excess furniture whose primary purpose is to prop up electronics.
- How to choose that one statement piece that pulls the entire room together, kills the compulsion to overdecorate, adds warmth plus texture AND answers the question: What to do with these empty walls?
First-world problems, I know. But never before has home-as-sanctuary been such a needed balm on the soul. When I turn the key and walk inside, I want something beautiful and stunning to smack me in the head each time.
By the way, custom was my last resort. I am not married to a carpenter, nor do I possess the kind of DIY game that’s up to a task of this level. I looked everywhere for a decent off-the-shelf product. A few were reasonably priced. Most were tacky, or looked cheap. And none struck me as hole-worthy.
Because there would be holes. Big ones.
I wanted no exposed wires, cords or outlets. That vision would involve someone cutting out a sizable chunk of drywall under the hanging location, in order to fish the cable wiring from the lower-level basement, through to the adjoining garage and then up the wall leading to the living room. Whatever I chose needed to be worthy of all that drama and risk of potential screw-ups.
Though I knew it was coming, I almost choked on my plantain chips when I saw not one but two gaping holes in my newly renovated space.
Pull yourself together. You’ve watched enough episodes of Property Brothers to know how this ends.
All was soon restored to its former glory, without a trace of drywall trauma.
The beautiful piece you see above comes from artist Shari Butella of Modern Rustic Art, LLC, whose work is featured and available for custom order on the CustomMade website. After a specific search online turned up nothing, random web surfing led me to CustomMade where I started browsing for wall art in general. When I came across Shari’s portfolio I stopped cold. Her style resonated with me because the reclaimed wood she used in her designs looked very similar to a piece I already owned. This Crate & Barrel dining room table, which I bought used for a steal, is the Craigslist crown jewel of my home (story for another post).
There was only one hiccup. Shari had never actually made one of her designs into a TV wall mount, so she had nothing to show or promise me in terms of samples or outcome. After diving into my specs, though, she emerged confident that she could get it done by making a few design adjustments. After reviewing her rough sketch, I agreed to move forward.
Let me tell you how fantastic Shari is to work with: I told her exactly which TV mount hardware I was planning to buy and use. Your average craftsperson would have simply jotted down the published dimensions. But because this was a new design case she bought the actual hardware herself to make 100% sure the panels were pre-cut to a flawless fit. Who does that?
So about CustomMade. It’s a site that connects custom goods makers all over the United States with online buyers. It’s a great option when you have a very specific idea of what you want but can’t find it in stores anywhere, and lack the skill or help to create it yourself. How it works:
Describe what you want. Get quotes from makers. Get it made for you.
As their website states, it really is that simple. In my case, the turnaround was even sooner than estimated, and within a few short weeks my customized TV wall panel was delivered to my door. The finished product exceeded my expectations.
Was it Craigslist-cheap? No. But when I take into account that this saved me from having to buy an additional piece of furniture (media center) AND quality framed art for my wall, it was money well spent.
Bottom line: For less than half the average price quoted to me by the “frame your tv” experts, I had a beautiful custom solution to my TV wall mount problem. (Cost varies by job, size, materials and other factors, so if you want an exact price, you’ll have to take that up with Shari.)
Yes, the giant cyclops eye is still there. But now, instead of my wall looking like the portal to a black hole, it’s been transformed into a beautiful artistic statement.
- Sinus Low Profile Tilt Wall Mount for 37-80-Ince TV and Monitor
- HIDEit Uni-S (Black) Adjustable Small Device wall Mount, Cable Box, Digital Media Player
Note: you will also need to make a Home Depot run to get a low-profile (“flat”) type SF cable that will sit as flat as possible against the outlet behind the TV. And if you plan to hook up cable, you’ll need to use the smallest box offered by your cable company (often called an auxiliary box) to get it to fit in the device mount behind the TV. (We’ve had zero issues with our cable remote control signal, which is designed to go through walls, so there was no need to purchase an IR, or infrared, extender with this setup.) If cable’s not your thing, or you’re planning to cut the cord soon, the device mount claims to also hold other digital media players, so check the dimensions of your particular unit.