Adding feature wall to a room is nothing new. Bright colours, unusual wallpapers, flooring-on-walls: all these ideas, and more, can be used to add wow and character to your home’s interior design. Media walls are a more recent trend that take the concept a step further, giving you a stylish and multifunctional focal point for you living spaces.
The basic idea is to create a feature that houses all of your media in one place, resulting in a centrepiece that immediately captures people’s focus as they enter the room.
This is about much more than simply mounting your TV on a bracket. A media wall is bespoke designed and built. At the very least, it will provide a boxed-out zone to hide all the cabling and provide a neat space for your TV to slot into. But most designs will incorporate other appealing features.
A fully fledged media wall could include recessed shelving, cupboard space or drawers, for instance – giving you some much-needed extra storage.
For the ultimate wow-factor look, many self builders and renovators include an electric fire in their media wall designs. This not only gives you a sleek zone for your TV and other media, but also a cosy, calming focal point that will become the heart of the home.
When it comes to TVs, size matters – and I don’t just mean for cinema-style experiences. The width and depth of your media wall might be dictated by room proportions, for instance, which will in turn influence the appropriate size of television.
And if you’re integrating storage into the framework of the media wall, the TV will need to fit within this – almost certainly centred in the wall. So, this will also influence the amount of space you have to play with.
To get the best experience and complement the look of a built-in fireplace below, you’ll ideally want at least a 50-inch TV. If you’re thinking of upgrading your TV anyway, then do it now to ensure you can factor it properly into the media wall design.
Next up, ask yourself whether you want to include any peripheral devices in the media wall. Do you have games consoles, set top boxes or speaker systems to accommodate?
Your Xbox, Switch or PlayStation might be best located behind some discreet cupboard doors (these could even be push-to-open to give a minimal look). Set top boxes might need a recessed shelf to enable a line-of-sight for remote controls.
Whatever you decide, you’ll soon be faced with your next key decision…
The last thing you’ll want is power leads, aerial cables and audio-visual wiring messing up the clean, contemporary look of your new media wall.
So, plan ahead with the location of devices and make sure there’s a suitable hidden channel to run the cabling where it needs to go.
You’ll also want sufficient power sockets installed into the back of the media wall, so there’s no need for extension cables.
The sockets could be recessed or, as they’re hidden within a media wall, surface-mounted for speedier installation. Just make sure they’re accessible in case there’s any need for future maintenance.
Ask your electrician to bring any aerial and network points you need into the media wall, too.
It’s bang on trend to complete the media wall look by building in an inset electric fire. The benefit of electric models is that you can enjoy the effect of flickering flames, without worrying about excessive heat rising up into the TV area.
When looking for an inset electric fire to feature front and centre in your media wall, look no further than designs such as Stovax & Gazco’s eStudio 105R or the Onyx Avanti range.
The luxury Onyx Avanti electric fire suite is available in three different sizes, all using state-of-the-art technology to give you incredibly realistic flame visuals and a choice of fuel-effect options. It can also be configured as a single, corner or three-sided fire.
Modern electric fires can be enjoyed without any heat; perfect for warm evenings when you just want some added ambience. Or switch the heat on in the winter months to get the full fireplace experience.
Onyx Avanti fires can also be upgraded with an optional mood lighting system, with up to 6m of LED strips that can be installed around a TV or along shelves to enhance your media wall.
Building a media wall doesn’t need to be complex – particularly if you already have enough sockets available in the right location (electrical work should always be undertaken by a qualified professional).
An experienced DIYer could even install a media wall themselves, and there are plenty of how-to videos online to help you do it.
Typically, you would build a base frame in timber studwork to accommodate the fireplace at the desired height. Once the fire has been mounted, you can then build the framework above – including a cut-out for the TV and any shelving etc you want to incorporate.
The frame can then be clad in MDF and painted. Alternatively, you could finish it with plasterboard and skim.
If you’re not confident in your skills, or don’t have the time (budget at least a week), your best bet will be to engage a carpenter to build the media unit. You’ll still need a qualified electrician for the sockets or media plate.
According to Checktrade, the average supply-and-install cost for a complete media wall with a fireplace is around £2,300-£3,500, depending on size and specification.
As a reference point, Stovax Group’s inset electric fires start from around £1,195 plus installation.
|Nik Gardner is head of Electrical Research and Development at Stovax & Gazco, which includes the luxury Onyx fire and stove brand. He has been innovating in solid state visual products for over 20 years.|