We ended up turning it into a bookcase.
Since I stalk the real estate listings for fun (who doesn't?), I am pleased and horrified at the same time to know I'm not the only one with weird cutouts in the wall.
This almost works. If the side bookcases came up just a tad higher and the corners of the drywall were trimmed out you wouldn't be able to tell this built-in wasn't original. Unfortunately, it looks as if an entertainment center was shoved in a hole.
I think this is a common problem. A lot of homes have art niches, but people aren't quite sure how to decorate them.
Instead of using a few small things, one piece of art or a sculpture that fits the scale of the niche would work better.
But, one large piece of artwork can be expensive and some niches are very large. This trio of mirrors works perfectly.
Another option for a particularly large and deep art niche is to install shelves.
Traditional Family Room design by Minneapolis General Contractor Streeter & Associates, Renovation Division
I'm crying inside for these people. How do you decorate around seven holes in the only usable wall, not to mention the awkward window over the fireplace?
Hiring a contractor to cover the shelves with drywall would probably be the best option since there is not another place the tv can go. Using drywall isn't as expensive as you think, especially if you are willing to paint the wall yourself when it's done.
I see this one a lot!
I like the idea of extending the mantel upwards to make it more cohesive like in this living room.
Now, they just have the three niches at the top to fill. Oy!