Go Ahead, Eat in the Front of the TV

When I was growing up, TV was taboo during family meals. The only exception was on nights when I had buddies over — my parents frequently would let us order dinner, pop into a movie and sprawl on a blanket while we chowed down and saw the series. I remember how much fun it had been to feel like we’re getting away with something that went against house rules.

Now, my husband and I follow the same pattern with our son, including the occasional pizza picnic around the carpeting. While I’d never advocate making a habit of eating with the TV on, it can be a pleasant treat to flex your criteria once every so often. But, there are much more sophisticated ways to recapture that childish thrill without having to crank stiff adult knees right into “crisscross applesauce” position.

Have a look at these homeowners have redefined eating in front of the tube. Which would you go for? Share your ideas in the Comments!

FORMA Design

Remember those old-school folding TV trays? Here’s the 21st-century take: A generous menu on top of an even more generous ottoman provides a spot for drinks and dishes so that they don’t slide or tip. On top of that, it’s easy to throw the whole tray away to the kitchen when it’s time to stretch out and grab the end of the movie.

Cristi Holcombe Interiors, LLC

Somewhere between a tray and a side table, this smart little bit slides under the sofa and above your lap. What a great way to maximize space in a small living space!

The Kitchen Studio of Glen Ellyn

Among the biggest drawbacks to eating around the TV is the fact that it can be hard to make eye contact with everyone else in the area. This breakfast nook provides a solution (for briefer lengths of TV viewing, at least): The telly is tucked into a wall cubby and is easy to see from any spot on the facing banquettes.

Coveted Home

Nesting tables work superbly for mealtime viewing. Because of their different heights, they’re ideal for taller or shorter family members, and they tuck away when the dishes are cleared.

Rockefeller Partners Architects

Now here is my notion of a flooring picnic: Low-slung armrests and rear cushions are prepared for serious loungers, who can hold a beverage in one hand and nosh out of a plate of nibbles nearby. If you can not tolerate a reclining posture on such a hard surface, no matter — only climb up to the sofa on the elevated platform. And off to the side? A bar with stools from which you have a crystal clear view of the screen.

B+g design inc..

A movie theater–style setup makes the dining table pub at the back of this media room feel like the best chair in the house. You might even set up a buffet here for Oscar or Super Bowl parties and invite guests.

Pure Bliss Creative Design

Place the parents around the sofa and the children on busy floor cushions. Having a coffee table in the middle on which to break glasses and plates, everyone can dine in comfort.

I adore this inventive alternative: four modular tables that can be pulled together into a single unit, then slid apart so that every member of the family can have a separate surface from which to eat.

Next, some products to Boost your dining-while-viewing encounter.


Occa Coffee Table – $1,095

With storage for remotes and other gear, also retractable trays that lift to a comfortable height for snacking, this table is tailor made for the occasional TV meal.

House 8810

Western TV Tray – $30

Maybe you’d prefer something a bit more classic. This Wild West–themed TV tray includes a retro charm that will go well in a cabin or eclectic area — or using a excellent spaghetti western.


Royal VKB TV Dinner Tray – $41

Frustrated with plates skidding off your lap while you’re eating to a sofa or sofa? Slip this charger underneath to stabilize them.

Grandin Road

Metal Nesting Tables – $249

Scatter these colorful nesting tables around the area at showtime, then throw them back into place after the credits roll.


AllPro Portable Hand Held Steam Cleaner – $59.95

However careful you’re, eventually you will knock over a glass of soda or drop hot skillet on the ground. Take good care of spills with this handy portable steamer, and it is going to be like they never occurred.

How to Organize Your Room for TV and People, Too

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