If you want to start an argument in a room full of interior designers and decorators, just mention that you’re thinking of hanging a TV above the fireplace. For some people, this is a major no-no. For others, it’s a reality that we need to accept, so let’s try to find the least offensive way to do it. We fall into the latter group. Too many family rooms simply don’t allow for a furniture layout that can accommodate two focal points, with the TV and fireplace on separate walls. For that reason, homeowners need to mount their TV above the fireplace, so they can enjoy both, individually or together, while seated comfortably on their sofas and recliners. With that in mind, we’ve created some ground rules for getting it right, based on two decades of experience. When discussing TVs and fireplaces with clients, the two biggest questions are:
- What size fireplace do I need below my TV?
- How high should I mount my TV and fireplace?
Size of the TV vs. Size of the Fireplace
Before we can determine which size of fireplace we need to install below a TV, we need to understand the basic principals of TV measurements and fireplace measurements.
TV’s are measured diagonally, from lower left corner to upper right corner, or lower right corner to upper left corner. A 65-inch TV is 65 inches diagonally. If you recall high school math, this means that the left-to-right width of the TV is less than 65 inches.
Fireplaces are measured straight across, from side to side, left to right or right to left. So, a 60-inch fireplace is approximately 60-inches across. They are rarely exactly this measurement, as there are trims bordering the glass viewing window, but you get the idea.
From an interior design perspective, we want our feature wall to look balanced. This means that the big black TV needs to be paired with a slightly bigger black fireplace below. The ideal visual would be a pyramid shape, where the fireplace is wider than the TV above, so that if we drew a line around the fireplace and TV, we would end up with a pyramid shape. Next best would be a solid square, with the sides of the fireplace in line with the sides of the TV. Worst would be an upside-down pyramid, with the TV wider than the fireplace. This will look top-heavy and unbalanced.
The most popular fireplaces for mounting below TVs are what we call linear fireplaces – they are long and slim, and range in height from 17 – 22 inches. TV’s are two or three times taller than linear fireplaces, so they look a bit top-heavy, even with the fireplace is the same width. This is why we recommend that the fireplace we wider than the TV, to give it a little more visual ‘weight’ below the TV.
How high to hang the TV and fireplace
Electric fireplaces have lots of advantages over gas and wood-burning fireplaces. One of these is the fact that they don’t heat up the walls around the fireplace, because there’s no combustion inside an electric fireplace. When the heaters are on, hot air blows out the front of the fireplace, not up at the TV, and it’s not an extreme amount of heat. For these reasons, it’s safe to mount a TV directly above an electric fireplace, with minimal distance between the top of the fireplace and the bottom of the TV. It’s recommended to leave 8 – 10 inches between the top of the fireplace and the bottom of the TV, and we would want this distance anyway, because it would look odd to have the TV right on top of the fireplace. There is no need to have the TV mounted several feet above the fireplace, as you would with a gas fireplace, for instance. This means that you can have the TV at a height that’s comfortable for viewing from a seated position. With that in mind, we have some recommended mounting heights for the TV and the fireplace. These are not hard and fast ‘rules’; you should mount the TV at a height that’s comfortable for you, and position the fireplace accordingly. Just remember, the objective isn’t to fill the space between the fireplace and the ceiling. You want to end up with both the fireplace and the TV at the optimal height for enjoyment. If you have high ceilings, and you have a lot of wall space above the TV, that’s a challenge to be solved with decorating or architecture.
Stylish Fireplaces knows that adding a fireplace to your home can be challenging. With an electric fireplace and their NFI Certified Hearth Design Specialists, it’s easy to create a space you’ll love to share with family and friends. Check out all the options and connect with their experts for help to find the perfect electric fireplace for you. You’ll live stylishly ever after.