Disguising the tube: How to make an old-school TV look less ugly

October 12 |
Old TV
This is not Lily's old TV, BUT IT COULD BE! Old TV © by skippyjon, used under Creative Commons license.
In my living room I have a modern flat screen television but in my bedroom I have a little twenty-something-inch old school tube TV. I have it sitting on a vintage suitcase to raise it off the dresser to make it visible while lying in bed. That helps the aesthetic nastiness of it, but is there any other ways to make it look cooler? I really hate how ugly it makes my awesome bedroom look. -Lily

Alright, Homies. We know you've got schemes for how to make an old TV look way more awesome.

  1. Paint it like the TV in the photo! Or build a box (cardboard furniture?) to put around it and put a cool/funky/ornate/whatever-fits-your-style frame on the front.

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  2. Painting it of course! That will really help cover up the super dated 70s-80s wood paneling or 90s grey. It should be pretty simple to unscrew the case to spray paint it. Or you could use a brush. I would worry about spray painting it while it was all together and clogging up the buttons or speakers with paint.

    You could put stickers on it. Add some stripes or just coat the whole thing in Lisa Frank.

    Building a case to go around it could work, but how to deal with the buttons then being even further sunken in and potentially blocking off the remote receptor (if there is one) would be troublesome.

    Painting it really does seem like best option.

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    • This isnt super helpful now, but apparently I am knocking the glass out of that bitch and using it as storage when I am done with it. Thats rad.

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      • Just so you know, old TVs (I have no idea about the new flat ones) have highly toxic components in the area just behind the screen. My dad worked in television, and while he would let us have great fun dismantling old tvs with screw drivers as kids, we had to promise not to go anywhere near the back of the screen.

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  3. I've painted 2 old tv sets. One with silver and gold diamond checkers, and one with purple and pink curvy swoops. It's easy, and it stops them from looking like just big black squares of negative space in your room. Just prime first, and use a light hand if you're painting over vents, so as not to plug them up.
    You could also glue fun fur over the wood panelling on certain styles, or play with glitter, gold-leaf or silver-leaf. You could use paper mache or clay and sculpt something around your set too, if you left the dials/buttons and vents alone.

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  4. I think you should take the case off, glue-spray the whole thing and then cover it in purple glitter.

    Because why not.

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  5. You could decoupage it! Grab some Modpodge and a brush, and cover the casing in comic book pages! That would be rad!

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  6. In the past I have painted the big clunker TV the same color as the walls, it helps it blend in to the room and go unnoticed when not in use. I've found this has the semi-sorta mental trickery of faking a flat screen, because it's all the same color you see the room as wall-wall-wall-magical pictures that entertain me-wall-wall-wall, without, necessarily, noticing the hardware.

    I have also framed the screen with a large gold frame. This is really fun if you have the option of one of the OnDemand art TV channels – they rotate shots of great art set to a bemusing "gallery play list" – of course this is only worth it if you don't mind having your TV on all day.

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  7. Love that steampunk frame…

    In an old apartment I built a theater proscenium out of cardboard and painted it up. I hung a red curtain in back of it using a lightweight cafe rod and presto! my t.v. was magical puppet theater. I liked that I could draw the curtain to cover the screen when it was off.

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