interiors & styling

Surround Sound in the Living Room

Styling Surround Sound Speakers Hi guys! Emmett here. It’s been awhile since I last posted on Room for Tuesday, but I’m back with a common debate. Based on the content of the title you can imagine Sarah has zero interest in this topic. However, I thought if Sarah and I have many heated discussions regarding surround sound, it’s likely many readers out there also battle this design versus tech dilemma with their significant other. Click through to see our compromise, and how we overcame our differences and ended up with surround sound (yessss)!

First, let me explain my reasoning for this article. Surround sound is as much of an upgrade to your regular TV speaker as 4k HD TV is an upgrade to watching VHS tapes. It is something that most people do not think they want- but like many things, you want it, you just don’t know it yet! It enhances the overall TV watching experience, plain and simple… and we’re Netflix / Hulu / Prime kind of people. While one might not appreciate the first time experiencing surround sound, I would bet after binge-watching a month’s worth of Netflix streaming with surround sound, it will definitely be a letdown when you go to a friend’s house and have to go without. I know, petty, right? Maybe. But installing a speaker system may be easier than you think, and with today’s technology, speakers scattered (or in Sarah’s case, hidden) around the room can be a little easier on the eyes.

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How to Hide Surround Sound Surround sound (without going into all the details and options) is essentially 6 speakers: Left Front, Center, Right Front, Left Rear, Right Rear, and a Subwoofer which can be positioned anywhere in the room.

Sarah’s primary argument for not wanting speakers was “they are ugly”. Imagine that- she only cares about the looks of the living room, not my TV viewing happiness! So my goal was to make them the least intrusive as possible, from location of the speakers to hiding the wires.

H I D I N G    T H E    W I R I N G

I knew I wanted to install a speaker system prior to beginning construction on our built-ins and fireplace. So before installing the drywall I ran some in-wall speaker wire to my Left Front, Center, Right Front and Subwoofer location. These speakers are usually the easiest to run the wires to because they are closest in proximity to the TV and control unit for the speakers. Other options are to tuck the wires under the baseboard (if the room is carpeted). There’s a “before” image below… you can see what’s happening behind our built-ins.

Wiring-Electrical-and-Surround-Sound I also purchased low-voltage receptacles along with a speaker wire banana plug faceplate to give our bookcases a cleaner look without long speaker wires coiled up and zip tied in the corners. This also gave me the opportunity to unplug the speaker wires from the wall and remove the wire and speaker. Sarah utilizes this option when she styles the shelves and takes photos, but in real life- she just hides them alongside or behind decorative objects.

Discguising Surround Sound The rear speakers are the most difficult to wire because you have to get the wire from the front of the room to the back of the room. In our case, I ran the wire through the floor and through the crawlspace, then back up through the wall. The rear speaker wires were not a particular issue for me to install, however, if this troublesome, there are options to get wireless speakers. Wireless speakers tend to have less quality and the annoyance of frequently changing batteries, so I opted for hardwired.

L O C A T I O N

Placing the front speakers on shelves rather than mounting them on the walls allows the opportunity to style around them. As I mentioned, Sarah tries to disguise them with styling…. although I think they’re good looking speakers, so I’d be ok just leaving them exposed for guests to see.

We placed the center speaker on the mantle. For the rear speakers, it worked out perfectly to sit both of them on top of the credenza. They sort of blend in and get lost with all the other items sitting around them, as opposed to standing out if they were mounted on the wall.

Surround Sound in a Living Room I also specifically built the lower closed-in portion of the bookcases to fit the large subwoofer along with an electrical outlet. As I mentioned, the subwoofer can be placed anywhere in the room and even placed underneath a table or inside of a cabinet. The only caveat is the subwoofer has to have space around it and it has to be able to breathe. That is why we built the doors with perforated panels.

Perforated Door for Surround Sound Subwoofer I hope these suggestions will sway your decision or convince your spouse that surround sound isn’t a giant eye sore. In my opinion it’s 100% worth it. If you’re interest in our exact model, here’s the link to our setup. I would love to see what clever solutions you come up with for “hiding” your surround sound.

Do you guys have a similar outlook as Sarah and myself? More times than not, it’s usually a husband who is pro surround sound and a wife who is not. I think I’ve convinced Sarah it’s pretty nice. I will say, I’m perfectly content with our living room now.

*This post is brought to you in collaboration with Logitech. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that allow us to create unique content while featuring products we truly use and enjoy!

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  • Reply
    Justynn
    October 17, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    We definitely still have this debate. I prefer the heard but not seen, and the fiance couldn’t care less. We haven’t installed a surround system yet for our tv, still deciding on a set to go with, and still trying to figure out our final furniture layout. However the fiance is a hardcore records guy, and the speakers he has for that are about the ugliest things I’ve ever seen. Easily 3ft tall…. Our final goal is to get a new receiver, smaller speakers and tie everything in together somehow. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    • Reply
      Sarah
      October 17, 2017 at 6:20 pm

      Oh yikes… a 3 ft. speaker?!! I don’t even know what to tell you for that. hahah!! Good luck lady. xox

    • Reply
      Emmett
      October 18, 2017 at 3:19 am

      Only three feet tall? That’s it? Haha. Even with new tech- they still make those massive tower speakers for the true audiophile. I’m not that picky! If I could spend more time planning and implementing one thing it would be to hide the receiver, fire tv, internet router, dvd player, etc. all out of view, but not obstructing the remotes effectiveness.

  • Reply
    joanna // jojotastic
    October 18, 2017 at 1:09 am

    omg sean is going to lose his mind over this post!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      October 18, 2017 at 1:50 am

      Hahahaha!!! Such a man thing (eye roll).

  • Reply
    Elizabeth
    October 23, 2017 at 1:33 am

    New to your blog and oh my gosh you could not have touched upon a more heated debate in our household!! Unfortunately we’re not in our “forever home” so there’s only so much my darling husband is willing to do. : /
    Aaack!! It just riles me up so much, haha!
    Glad to see you two came up with such a good compromise.
    I’ll keep working on my man. ;)

    • Reply
      Sarah
      October 23, 2017 at 4:02 pm

      Hi Elizabeth, welcome!! Surround sound was definitely a touchy subject here too. ha! I think we’re both pretty content with our decision and compromise. Good luck with your husband!! xox

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