Design Guide: The Best Placement of Your Fireplace with TV

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There are lots of forums on the Internet with people discussing if they should place their TV over the fireplace. The consensus is... no one can agree!

The biggest argument against placing a TV above a fireplace is that it's a huge design "no, no." You're basically placing a big black hole as the focal point and when anyone enters the room that's where their eyes will immediately go. However, if you often like to watch the television then of course you want it to be the center of your space. So it can be a hard decision.

In this article we'll discuss all the different things you need to consider when placing your fireplace with your TV. By knowing all this information you'll be able to come up with a design that's right for you and your family and one that you'll be happy with for years to come.

Amount of Use

One of the most important things to consider when placing your television is how often you are going to use it versus how often you will use your fireplace.

A fireplace makes the ideal focal point for a room. The combination of a flickering flame, burning embers and well designed mantel are not only nice to look at but they also create a calming atmosphere. It's so enjoyable sitting around one with your family on those cold nights.

Let's be practical though, some people very rarely use their fireplace. If you and your family enjoying watching shows together every night then the TV needs to be the focal point. Why make yourselves uncomfortable straining to see it when it's used so often.

Room Layout

So after considering how often you will watch your TV and use the fireplace you have 3 options for the layout of your room:

There are pros and cons to each different set-up. With the first two either your fireplace or your television becomes secondary. When considering furniture placement this becomes a problem because not all the seating placements will have a great view of one or the other.

Also, depending on your room layout you may not have two walls available. Two walls could be open to other rooms and one wall could have French doors or windows that open to a backyard patio.

Combining Two Focal Points

In some instances the only option is to place the fireplace and TV on the same wall. If you go with this option there are two important things that you'll need to take into consideration: the height of your television and what type of fireplace you have.

Height of Your Screen

There is some debate over what the proper TV height is for viewing. Some think it should be like in a theatre, where you look up to the screen. Most people believe that you should be viewing it at eye level. The New York Times wrote an article TV Height There's More Than One Answer that discusses the issue further.

Placing a television above a fireplace puts the viewing angle very high. This can make it uncomfortable to watch and even put a strain on your neck. Here are some solutions:

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A great way to get an idea of how high you can comfortably place your TV is by hanging a temporary screen. Cut out a piece of cardboard or poster paper to your TV's screen size and then hang it on the wall and "watch" it. If you experience any neck discomfort at all then keep lowering the screen or moving your furniture back till you find a position that's comfortable.

Type of Fireplace

Where you place your television can also depend on what type of fireplace you have. There are 3 different types: wood, gas and electric.

Wood & Gas

These types burn the hottest so you'll need to be careful that your TV is protected. Putting a heavy mantle in place can help shield from the heat. Some codes require a specific distance the mantle must be placed from the fireplace if it is made of combustible materials. You can also check to see if there are codes for your specific area that tell the mounting distance requirements for a TV over a fireplace.

You'll want to make sure that when mounting the TV you don't damage the fireplace. Because these types of fireplaces require venting there could be components installed in the drywall above the mantel. So it's not a good idea to start drilling holes in the wall for the TV without checking first with the builder.

Electric

With an electric fireplace you don't have to worry about any of the hassles as you do with wood and gas. Installing them is very easy, most models just plug into a standard electrical outlet. There are many different types available so you can find one that best matches your design tastes and heating needs.

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Even More Options

Whether you decide to make your fireplace, television or both the focal point there are more design options you can consider.

Now you should have all the information you need about fireplace and television placement. If you're still not sure about what kind of setup you want to do it's always helpful to do a simple internet search. Look for photos of other homeowners that have installed a fireplace with TV. You'll be able to get some more ideas for your own home. Then you'll be even closer to enjoying your favorite shows, relaxing by a warm fire or both!

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