Samsung-Picture-Frame_courtesy-of-Samsung-1

Samsung Frame TV Review: Finally a TV I Don’t Want to Hide

This Samsung Frame TV  review is honest and unsponsored. We paid full price for our television on Amazon. However, this post does contain affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission if you purchase something after clicking on one of them.

Modern marble slab fireplace, linear fireplace with Samsung Frame TV by Jillian Lare Des Moines Interior Designer
65" Samsung Frame Television

When we moved into our new house this summer, we needed to purchase a TV for our living room because we left our previous television behind at our old house as part of the purchase agreement with the new owners. I had seen the Samsung Frame TV floating around the blogosphere and thought it was the perfect solution for us.

Samsung Frame TV Over the Fireplace
Our Samsung Frame TV over the fireplace

The best spot for the TV in our new living room is over the fireplace. But, as a designer, I hate the look of the television over the fireplace or as the main focal point of a room. I also don’t watch a lot of TV on my own – almost never, in fact – and I didn’t want to stare at a black screen all day while home with the baby.

Not being a big TV watcher, I don’t care a whole lot about technology but I do care about aesthetics. Keegan is the exact opposite. The Frame appeared to be a great solution for both of us in that it looks awesome but has all of the latest technology packed inside.

When reading a lot of the blogger reviews on the frame, I noticed they talked a whole lot about how fabulous the TV looks, but they don’t mention very much about how it works. How it works is very important, and there are some particulars you need to know before you invest in this pricey and trendy piece of technology.

The Zero Gap Wall Bracket

The Frame is perfectly rectangular with crisp corners and a minimal frame that comes in three interchangeable colors – black, white, and wood. It also boasts a super sleek, no gap, wall mounting bracket that allows the TV to sit flush on the wall. If you’ve hung a TV in the past ten years, you know that this huge. Usually, there is some sort of gap, which drives me crazy.

Samsung Frame TV Review - Wall Bracket Gap - Jillian Lare Interior Design

In this photo, you can see that there’s more of a gap at the top than at the bottom. The bracket allows you to tilt the television forward slightly, which we opted to do given the mounting height.

Our electricians hung the television for us, and this was their first experience with this bracket and particular television. They grumbled at first because the fit is very tight. It definitely requires two people to hang the television and finagle the connections while doing so. But, in the end, they had to admit that the design was very slick.

The Box and Connection

The new Samsung televisions come with a sleek box and almost invisible clear cord, which means there are no unsightly wires running between the television and its peripherals. For cord cutters like us, the advantage is that the box has connection for an HD antenna, which means you don’t have to run CoAx cable to the TV.

Samsung Frame TV Review - Jillian Lare: An honest, unsponsored review of the Samsung Frame Television

That little white cord is the only connection between the TV and the box. It’s clear/white and nearly invisible. We thought about having it run through the wall and may still do that at some point, but we had just painted and didn’t want to tear up the drywall.

The television comes with a 15′ cord. If you need yours to travel a longer distance, Samsung has a 50′ cord available that you can purchase separately.

Samsung Frame TV Review - Jillian Lare: An honest, unsponsored review of the Samsung Frame Television

This photo shows the box (bottom) with our AppleTV, Amazon Fire, and universal remote receiver. We now have this little stack of boxes and our receiver, so it all takes up much less space than our previous set up.

The box itself is very minimal and thin with no lights or buttons on the face. The salesperson at Best Buy explained to me that the idea is to store all of the firmware for the TV on the box so that if there is a major upgrade in a few years, you will only have to buy a new box and not a new TV. If this turns out to be true, that will be pretty amazing, because I’m pretty sure this is the last TV we’re ever going to buy. An exaggeration but this thing wasn’t cheap, so it better last!

Setting Up The Samsung Fame TV

I set up the Frame myself after the electricians took off. We installed it several months ago, so I don’t remember all the details, but it took around five minutes, and I had no issues with it at all. The TV walks you through the process, and you use the remote that comes with it to control everything.

Interface & Remote Control

The Samsung Frame remote control is small, minimal, and white. The white finish is nice because it’s easy to distinguish from our other remote controls. FYI, we no longer use the Samsung remote except for Art mode. We use the Harmony remote instead…more on that later (link to newest version).

The power button at the top switches between the TV mode and the art mode. Volume and channel at the bottom are pretty self-explanatory.

The remote is programmable, but we didn’t get a chance to full customize it before we decided to switch to our universal remote. The 123 button is used for inputting numbers for channels. The button with the colored dots can be programmed for certain repeat functions. You can also control the TV by voice command, which can come in handy.

Samsung Frame TV Review - Jillian Lare: An honest, unsponsored review of the Samsung Frame Television

The Samsung Frame has a Smart TV interface that allows you to download apps like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, etc. The Home button calls up the menu of apps at the bottom of the screen, and you use the wheel to scroll through them. The center button on the wheel is the Select/OK button.

The little icons off to the left are for Settings, Source, Search, Apps, and Art mode, respectively. Like I mentioned above, we use the Frame with Apple TV and Amazon Fire. We have an antenna for our local channels and PlayStation Vue for cable. PlayStation is accessible through both the Apple TV and Amazon Fire, which are added and managed using the Source icon.

The sources are where the interface broke down for us. We were easily able to add all of our sources and had no issue with selecting Live TV from the list of apps on the Home screen. You can also see an option for Amazon Fire in the photo above but no option for Apple TV. They worked at first but eventually got confused. We would select Amazon and the Apple TV menu would come up. Sometimes Amazon would be frozen, and I would have to reboot the box multiple times for it to work. Then one day Amazon Fire got stuck on the screen saver, and nothing we could think of seemed to fix it.

Finally, we switched to the Harmony remote, which we had used with our previous TV.  We use the programmable buttons on the remote to select the source vs. the Smart TV interface, and everything has worked fine ever since. To be fair, this issue is with the box which comes with all of the new Samsung Smart TVs and is probably not specific to the Frame.

The Frame TV Art Mode

Photo via Samsung

Finally, we get to the good stuff. I never thought I would be convincing Keegan to pay $2800 for a television, especially now that you can get a perfectly nice one for under $1000, and neither did he. However, for someone who doesn’t watch a lot of TV – I don’t usually turn it on at all until Keegan gets home for the day – married to someone who enjoys sports, shows, and movies as a way to unwind on a daily basis, the Samsung Frame is the perfect solution because, unlike TVs that stream slideshows while they are on but inactive, it displays static artwork when it is actually off.

The Frame comes loaded with several galleries of artwork, with more available for purchase, in various categories. They include both photographic and non-photographic high-quality imagery such as action, landscape, architecture, still-life, and pattern. Keegan likes many of the landscapes, while I am particularly fond of the abstracts, still lifes, and patterns. In general, the included art leans towards a more modern design aesthetic. You can see the available artwork on Samsung’s website.

You can also upload your own photographs or digital art and add mats to them in several different layout formats. We haven’t played with this too much yet, though I did upload some digital art I purchased online.

The ARt Settings

The available settings allow you to configure the screen brightness, color temperature (cool to warm), sleep timer, night mode, motion detector, and sound mirroring. The settings for brightness and temperature can be used to make the art appear more “art-like” and less like a glowing LED screen. The appropriate values will vary according to the amount and quality of light in your space

Samsung Frame TV Art Settings

Our living room is quite bright during the day with a northern exposure, so I have my settings slightly towards the dark side and slightly warmer. I think the temperature setting could also depend on your paint color. My walls are painted Benjamin Moore White Dove, which is a warmer white with a touch of gray. The cooler setting for the screen looks very blue with White Dove behind it.

I think one big improvement Samsung could make for the art mode settings would be to have a default setting for day vs. night, triggered by the sunset or a user-defined time, much like the night-mode on the iPhone. The current Night setting allows you enable the TV to turn off the image (black screen) automatically if no other lights are sensed in the room. Since I’m often up all night with the baby, I’ve had more opportunities to observe this setting in action. The Christmas tree lights will keep the screen on, otherwise, it generally turns off.

Does the Samsung Frame TV Actually Look Like Art?

stacked stone fireplace samsung frame tv revere pewter

Yes and no, but if it doesn’t look like actual art, it comes pretty darn close. Here is the truth no other (sponsored) blogger is writing: the tv doesn’t look like the marketing photos in real life. It is absolutely discernible from other pieces of art in a gallery wall. It obviously has light to it and a faint glow that is definitely perceptible. Does that outweigh the positives? Absolutely not! We observed it fooling several of our visitors who weren’t aware that it was a television.

Is the Samsung Frame TV worth the price?

As an interior designer who values aesthetics and constantly struggles with the television as the focal point in a room, the answer is an unequivocal yes. The positives definitively outweigh the negatives, which are small and picky, and justify the somewhat outrageous price tag (a 65″ model with similar specs is $1000 less). I will be strongly recommending the Frame to all of my clients who want a large television in their primary living space.

Personally, I know it was a huge splurge, and I am thrilled with it and get a lot of pleasure from the art on a daily basis. It’s one of those purchases that just makes me happy.

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Samsung Frame TV Review
Modern-Map-Art-Des-Moines-Map-Print-Gift-Idea-3

Personal and Thoughtful Gift Ideas: Custom Map Art Prints

I have been fascinated by maps my entire life. I was a huge reader from an early age, and I particularly loved the types of books that had maps of the characters’ world printed onto the endpapers.

Growing up in a small town founded in the late eighteenth century, our library had a huge hand drawn, slightly dimensional map from the late 1800s hanging in one of the rooms. I would study it intently to locate our house, and my friends’ houses, creating a mental connection between the drawing and reality. I even spent hours drawing my own maps of our neighborhood, carefully labeling all of my favorite spots.

On road trips, I passed the time studying the atlas, back when those were a necessity, plotting out alternate routes and wondering about the history of towns, roads, and streets. In college, I had a large map of the United States – just a regular old road map – pinned up on my wall as cheap art. After I spent six months in New Mexico during my junior year, I used it to keep track of all the places I had visited on my drives to and from Albuquerque.

I still think maps as art are pretty great. Reproductions are usually budget friendly and come in a variety of styles and colors. They’re also incredibly personal since you can select maps of places you’ve lived or favorite cities you’ve visited.

I was thrilled to receive a Des Moines city print from Modern Map Art. I had discovered the site earlier this year and was particularly drawn to the crisp graphic quality of their map art prints. When we moved, I knew the style of the print would be perfect in our new house.

Modern Map Art Des Moines City Print Map Gift

They have hundreds of city prints available in a range of common sizes, so they’re very easy to frame. We received the black and white, but I also love the blue and white “blueprint” style print.

Modern Map Art Des Moines Map Art Print Map Gifts

I framed our print in a simple black frame that I picked up at Michael’s ages ago. I have it propped up on our vintage credenza in the living room for now, but I am planning to hang it in our little guy’s nursery as part of a gallery wall.

Modern Map Art Des Moines Map Art Print Map Gifts

The quality of the print is very high. The ink is a deep solid black, and the paper is thick and substantial.

You can also make a completely custom print using their custom map option to create a personalized map. You can select from a variety of styles, set your location on the map, and add your own text at the bottom. Here’s a version in white on black that I made of my hometown.

Modern Map Art Custom Map Personalized Print Gift Ideas

But, maybe even more than the city prints, I love their ski map prints. I still love to ski, even though we rarely get to go. It would definitely be fun to commemorate some of our favorite ski hills with map prints. Smuggler’s Notch was our go-to for many years. There are 94 mountain maps currently available as art posters.

Modern Map Art Ski Map Art Prints

I think that either the standard city maps, a custom map print in a simple black or white frame, with or without a mat, would make an amazing and thoughtful gift this holiday season.

Modern Map Art provided me with the Des Moines city map print, but my opinions are all my own.

Vintage Mud Cloth Planter Covers

Vintage Mud Cloth Planter Covers

I spotted these vintage mud cloth planter covers by Boho Pillow over on Etsy this morning and was instantly in love. What a great idea! You can use these pretty little covers to disguise your basic, inexpensive terracotta planters. I love their boho vibe and how they can add small doses of texture and pattern to a space. I can’t wait to mix some of these in with my collection of vintage ceramic planters.

Vintage Mudcloth Planter Covers by Boho Pillow

The little tassel details are so cute. I also love how they are reversible, so you can change up the look.

Vintage Mud Cloth Planter Covers

Vintage Mud cloth Planter Covers by Boho Pillows

Vintage Mud Cloth Planter Covers by Boho Pillow

All images via Boho Pillow Instagram.

Etsy Finds and Favorites

Etsy Finds and Favorites – August Edition

Over the last year, I’ve had a particular desire to get rid of all our stuff and replace it with only what we really need. I’ve already purged my closet and significantly reduced my book collection and have plans for the kitchen and basement next. But, while I find the idea of minimalism interesting, I don’t necessarily subscribe. I like stuff, but I’ve realized I’d rather have less but better. And, I’d prefer that the things I need be beautiful as well as functional.

In that spirit, I’ve selected a few of my recent Etsy favorites, all of which serve a purpose and look great doing it.

Etsy Finds and Favorites

GiftShopBrooklyn

Little pouches are a life saver for organizing larger bags. I have at least a couple that I use to switch purses quickly and easily. This pretty pouch comes in a variety of colors, but I really like the copper.

Etsy Finds and Favorites

ONEandMANY

A marbled black and white bowl is perfect for catching keys and loose change in an entryway but would work equally well in the kitchen as intended or sitting on top of a stack of books.

Etsy Finds and Favorites

fillydogco

It’s nearly impossible to find a good looking dog bed…kind of like tissue boxes. I love this graphic geometric print version and may order one for Booker and Eddie when the XL is back in stock.

Etsy Finds and Favorites

Katy Skelton

The combination of concrete and brass pairs beautifully in this little end table, and the price is very reasonable at $350 with free shipping.

Etsy Finds and Favorites

INSEKDesign

There are so many uses for little boxes from organizing toiletries to storing precious keepsakes. I love this mixed media version with the walnut lid adding warmth to the black and white marbled concrete.

Have you found any new favorite shops or items on Etsy lately? If so, please share! I’ve been ordering from Etsy makers more frequently this summer after a long hiatus and find it so much more satisfying than shopping at the big brand names.

Etsy Favorites - Ceramic Bangle Bracele

Etsy Favorites – July Edition

Since it’s a brand new month, I thought it was a good time for another round up of my Etsy favorites. I don’t know about you, but I feel like it’s impossible to find anything good on Etsy these days. Why did they take away the old front page? The recommendations in my favorites are just different versions of the same thing over and over. Yes, Etsy, I like mud cloth pillows and brass light fixtures. Show me something I haven’t seen!

That being said, the discovery of these items was completely serendipitous…

I came oh so close to using these lucite and brass robe hooks in my master bathroom remodel last summer. Unfortunately, I needed them yesterday, and while the shop was incredibly accommodating, the expedited shipping drove the price higher than I wanted to pay for a simple robe hook. I still love them and want to use them somewhere. Maybe for a lucky client?

Etsy Favorites - Lucite and Brass Robe Hook

Lucite and Brass Robe Hook

I’ve been trying to subscribe to the principle that the items we use every day should be functional and beautiful. I definitely need to throw out our $.99 cent bottle opener from the grocery store and pick up one of these pretty brass ones instead.

Etsy Favorites - Geometric Brass Bottle Opener

I first spotted this oversized agate print on the HomePolish blog and immediately thought how perfect it would be for over my sofa. It’s available in several sizes. Even better, you can order it framed in black or white.

Etsy Favorites - Agate Slice Print

Blue Agate Slice Print

These white stoneware and copper glazed bangle bracelets are perfect for summer. Also available in blue, you can collect the whole set or select a single favorite.

Etsy Favorites - Ceramic Bangle Bracele

White Stoneware Arrow Bangle

I discovered these great patent prints while searching for artwork for my client’s son’s room. The price for the set of four is incredible, and the shop features patent prints of just about anything you can think of. These would make a great gift for the impossible-to-buy-for guy in your life.

Etsy Favorites - Patent Print Sets

What do you think of Etsy these days? I keep hoping someone is going to come up with a new site that curates really great artisan and handmade items and artwork without all of the clutter while making it easy for the artists to sell and make a living.