Television in an Historic House

Choosing a Television for an Historic House

We want to provide the best television for an historic home, but television viewing angles didn’t get much thought in 1883 when the Broughton Street House was built. This post has been updated to include how it all worked out. Pictures at the bottom!

What we would now call the “living room” was a parlor. The parlor’s primary function was receiving guests. It was a formal room where a host would put their finest seating arranged to facilitate conversation. To that end, hosts would orient seating in front of a fireplace for maximum comfort of the guests. In an exceptionally fancy house there would be two parlors: the formal front, and the informal parlor in the middle. An example of this layout would be the beautiful Andrew Low house.

Owners typically closed off back rooms such as the dining room and kitchen behind doors. In a typical Savannah-style townhouse like the Broughton Street House, there are pocket doors that can be pulled shut. For dinner, preparations would occur behind the closed doors while the guests waited in the parlor. Once ready, the hosts would open the pocket doors and present a bountiful table ready for guests.

Times have changed and people expect to be able to turn on a sporting event, check the news, or binge watch a series when the weather isn’t cooperating. We get it it, we do it, too. So here we’ll discuss choosing the best television for this historic home and how we’re making it work. When you come to Historic Downtown Savannah we want you to have everything you need at the Broughton Street House.

Vacation Sometimes Need Televisions – Like Them or Not

The previous owners of the Broughton Street House had deliberately avoided over-emphasizing the television. I respect that decision. It’s difficult to place today’s giant screen televisions in a historic house in a way that doesn’t dominate the room and draw all attention to the television. At the Broughton Street House the rooms are beautiful and multi-purpose. How many times have you sat down in a living room and realized there’s nothing in your field of view except a giant electronic box? You naturally reach for the remote to figure out how to use it. We’re not going to take that route and instead we’re going to put in the best television for a historic home.

The Living Room layout at the time of purchase. Notice the small television to the left of the fireplace. Television in an historic house is hard!

If you check most of the short term rental listings on AirBNB, you’ll rarely see such a small television in the living room. What we see hosts doing most often is putting a big black hole above the fireplace and calling it done. Also, the angle of placement is not natural for sitting on the sofa. At the Broughton Street House we’re going to get more creative.

Samsung The Frame – The Best Television for an Historic House

Samsung the Frame is the best television for a historic house. A few years ago, Samsung started investing in different design options as a way to differentiate their TVs. Samsung offers “The Serif”, “The Sero”

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, “The Terrace”, and the one we’re focused on: “The Frame“. The Frame has four interesting features that make it relevant for The Broughton Street House:

1 – The mount and the television work together and hold the TV completely flat against the wall.

2 – The television has an edge that accepts custom frames that can be purchased separately and help the television blend into the decor.

3 – There is only a single wire going to the television. It handles power, video, and data. That runs to a box separate from the TV itself.

4 – The Frame is a high-quality art display when turned off. Light and motion sensors make the art effect look as realistic as possible.

We did a lot of research before deciding on this, because it’s not a cheap option. We found that a lot of designers and bloggers were using this television to address historic and unusual properties, and that’s exactly what we were looking for. The DIY Playbook here covers the basics. Emily Henderson appears to have a whole series of sponsored engagements using this TV, and they look really good.

Choosing the Right Size

The Frame is available in a variety of sizes, but our goal is to make this natural and consistent with the decor of the Broughton Street House, We selected a 43″ television. Anything larger would be back into the “dominating” category, even with the improved aesthetics.

Our new Samsung the Frame as delivered

Sumsung sells Frame “Frames” that magnetically attach to the edge of the television to further enhance the frame effect. For now, we’ve chosen a wood option, but there are third party sellers that sell much more elaborate versions. We’ll be exploring those later.


It was a little harder to install than we had imagined, not because it was difficult to install the TV itself, but because the mirror it replaced left some pretty serious holes in the wall. But once we addressed that…

We do love the way the television mounts flat against the wall, and the size is exactly what we were hoping for.

Deco TV Frame for the Finishing Touch

To finish the look we went to Deco TV Frames and selected their antique gold frame for the television. Assembly is a 3 minute affair – you piece the frame together and then hang it on the television. It aligns magnetically and there are two snap-type locks at the bottom that secure it.

Antique gold frame from Deco TV Frames to really finish the look.
We’ve selected art from the late 1800’s to be displayed on the television whenever it’s powered off

In the end, we have a beautiful television mounted over the fireplace, but it doesn’t obviously look like a television mounted over the fireplace. The frame is consistent with the décor of the house, and the television itself displays artwork the complements and enhances the look of the room. We’ve received many compliments and comments from guests and visitors for this feature.

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