This is a question we get all the time.
Should the TV go above the fireplace?
Where is the best place for the TV when there’s also a fireplace?
Some time ago, I wrote a blog on this, and it stays one of the most read articles. If you’ve read it, you’ll know that I am not a fan of having the TV above the fireplace, unless the house was specifically designed to accommodate the TV that way.
It is not that I simply don’t like it, there are sensible and sound reasons for not having a TV above the fireplace – we’ll get to that shortly.
First, I want to get to the story of a lovely reader who had exactly this dilemma – TV and fireplace in one room. Where is the best place for the TV?
Her situation is slightly more tricky than most – here is a before picture of her space – see if you can figure out why.
Currently, she has her TV on a stand. It is moved into the corner, and slightly turned. The stand does not go with anything else in the room, and feels out of place. It also obscures the cabinet and shelves behind it.
Let’s explore her options
1 Above the fireplace?
2 Mounted on the wall next to the fireplace
3 On another wall, or in another room?
In this case, number 3 is not an option, as this living room is the best room for the TV, and the configuration of the room does not allow for a practical layout where the TV is on another wall. But it is always good to ask this question, and sometimes, when we delve a little deeper, we find an amazing solution in another area that works perfectly for an intimate TV room.
Number 1 is not going to work either – the mantel is too high, and the TV will feel squashed in between fireplace and ceiling.
This brings us to the two most important reasons for NOT having the TV above the fireplace:
THE FIREPLACE IS DESIGNED TO BE THE FOCUS POINT
A fireplace is an important architectural feature of a room. It is scaled to balance proportions, and the style sets the tone of the room.
A TV on the other hand, is none of that and certainly not an object of beauty. It is a big black block that stands out, and easily becomes a bossy feature in the room. It really is a bit of a bully. Wherever you place the bully, it shouts – Look at Me, Look at Me.
When it is above the fireplace, it will steal the attention away from the delicate architectural features of the fireplace.
So, unless you want the TV to be the focus in the room, it is important to draw the attention to those areas that you want to highlight. Things like color, artwork, proper styling, and accent lighting will do that for the room.
If you have a choice, don’t put the TV above the fireplace. Look how beautifully well done this room above is. The designer maintained the fireplace as the focal point, and balances the weight of the TV with artwork on the other side, and great styling overall.
See the height of the TV? That is another good reason for not mounting the TV above the fireplace:
YOU WILL HURT YOUR NECK
To allow for comfortable viewing, and a healthy posture, the best position for a TV is at eye level – when you sit. That is at about 42″ centered on the TV.
Most fireplaces are big, and mantels are high. Mounting a TV above the fireplace, and far away enough to make sure the heat doesn’t affect it, results in the TV sitting far too high for easy viewing. It doesn’t matter if you tilt the TV down. You still have to look up.
Here’s a good illustration to show what is a healthy height for your TV. At eye level when you sit, and your chin parallel to the floor.
By the way, the same goes for how you should set up your computer monitor – at eye level, chin parallel to the floor, or even slightly tucked in.
So, unless you have a very low fireplace, or stand all the time while watching TV, mounting the TV above the fireplace is not a good idea.
Besides, it looks ominous when the TV sits up there, towering above one’s head.
Having said that, there are exceptions. Especially in contemporary architecture where there is a low, horizontal fireplace that is designed to accommodate a TV above it.
Make sure you install a fireplace that is specifically designed direct hot air away from a TV above.
In the room above, the beautiful woodwork around the low fireplace becomes the focus point. It creates a horizontal band that pulls the eye along its lines, away from the TV. So beautifully done.
Back to our reader’s dilemma.
Her mantel is high, and the TV would feel squashed in between the fireplace and ceiling. The best option for her is to mount the TV on the wall next to the fireplace.
But there is a problem.
The TV needs something to ground it. Normally, low cabinets or some form of shelving helps prevent it from feeling that it’s floating in mid air. But here we already have built-ins and shelving on the perpendicular wall by the Bay Window.
Here’s a simple sketch we received of the room:
M0re cabinets on the TV wall will not work.
So here is our solution:
We love solving problems like these.
You may have a design dilemma that is holding you back from moving forward.
Let us know – we’re here to help. And in the process, you may help someone else with a similar problem.
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