Mounting a TV Over the Fireplace

As the TV has become a more prominent feature of the home, it raises the question; should it hold a place of prominence over the fireplace mantle? With family rooms still a popular design trend, homeowners often find themselves asking the question from a design standpoint (and logistically) should I put the TV over the fireplace? In almost any case you can put the TV over a fireplace, but there are pros and cons to this.


The pros:

  1. It often keeps symmetry in a room.
  2. It creates a common focal point and is an easy design solution.
  3. It makes sense to people because they have seen it before. 


The cons:

  1. Proper viewing height can be compromised by existing conditions. 
  2. TVs can melt.
  3. The TV isn’t always the best focal point in a living space.

Considerations for installing a TV above the mantle.


Balance of space: From a visual standpoint, ensuring the TV does not feel too “heavy” on the wall along with the fireplace and mantle is important. This could be a problem if you have a smaller room or lower ceilings. In this Wellesley home renovation we had both going for us- high ceilings and a sizablel built-in despite it being for a gas fireplace- notice the gas fireplace allowed for transom windows above for more light!


Thermal considerations: The TV needs adequate height above a fireplace or a substantial mantle to allow the heat to dissipate before it reaches the TV or blocks the heat from traveling upwards. Remember a fire in the fireplace can reach 1000 degrees which can cause damage to most screens. 


​While the TV above is optimized because of the lower and modern fireplace, we are currently designing a kitchen/family room in Dover (left) with a slightly larger fireplace and lower ceiling. But in order to achieve the client’s needs we are working closley with the manufacturers specs to make the design possible. 
​Ergonomics: You have to consider the viewing angle. For optimal comfort a TV should be at eye level (a reason to avoid the front row at the movie theatre!). And to stay out of the chiropractors’ office you should have the TV on a wall-mount hinge that allows you to angle the TV downward to avoid picture distortion and it will keep you from craning your neck. In this Weston home renovation (approx. 15 years ago when the trend began) we had to compromise on TV placement as there were two viewing points to take into consideration- sitting and standing at the pool table.


There are times when a compromise is required for the space you are working with- just make sure the placement takes the space and comfort into consideration… football season will be upon us soon so we may have friends over sitting and standing!



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