An Austin interior designer offers up her tips for styling a dual-purpose media room.

By Emma Whalen
Merrilee McGeheeIt’s fairly common to keep both a desk area and a home-entertainment system in the same room. It’s also fairly common to feel overwhelmed when trying to find ways to seamlessly incorporate technology into the home without adding unnecessary stress, or worse, an unwanted eyesore. That is where interior design comes to play Austin-based designer Merrilee McGehee drew from her experience on a recent redesign project and kindly bequeathed her best tips and takeaways for how to create an entertainment room that is equal parts fun, multi-faceted and functional.

In This Room

  • BuildASofa couch
  • Nuevo Beton from Home Deeco standing lamp
  • Custom-made corner sofa pillows with Manuel Canovas fabric and Dara fabric
  • Etsy pink geometric pillows
  • Vintage rugs
  • Antique chair with castors
  • Fiddle-leaf fig plant with Ikea basket
  • Serena & Lily decorative baskets
  • Custom-made center sofa pillow with Groundworks fabric and Moriyama Carnival fabric
  • Custom built-in cabinets by Alex Cifuentes of Interior Home Solutions


Less is More  

Photo by Kelly Bauch

“A desk area was needed for both parents, and the kids needed storage for their toys and furniture. The space needed to be kid-friendly during the day and morph to be grown-up-friendly at night. We collaborated to create a desk with sliders that camouflage as cabinet doors. These are utilitarian for him, but also keep [the space]clutter-free. For her, we created a desk space under the stairs with beautiful sunlight. It’s exactly the space you want to be in when you need some ‘hiding time.’ You can also take the desk chair away and the doors will close to look like cabinetry. Viola! It’s as if there was no desk at all.”

Embrace storage cabinets

“If it’s not an option to have a media closet for cable and internet boxes, you can always use a cabinet. Use adjustable shelves to maximize space and prevent overheating. You can also use a patterned-wood grill for the front of the cabinet door to help with airflow without sacrificing design. The lower cabinets can serve as toy and arts-and-crafts storage, and the baskets are also a must when it comes to hiding toys after kids go to bed. The space converts easily for a glass of wine, adult time and good movie watching.

Hide electrical cords 

“Computer and electrical cords are always unsightly, and hiding them can be an issue. Use a seagrass or inexpensive rug in your space. Cut a small incision in the bottom of the rug with a razor blade. Duct tape the back to avoid fraying and run your cord down the desk leg or under the sofa through the incision and to a floor or wall outlet. Now it’s out of sight.”

Cover the TV

“If the only place for the TV is over the fireplace, you can always hinge a piece of art to the wall, closing over the TV when not in use. Make sure to use a piece of art with a deep enough cradle to cover the depth of the TV.”


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