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Finding Space For The TV Over The Fireplace

If you visit the family room in a typical American home, you’ll find the focal point of the room tends to be the television.  It tends to be a primary location for entertainment viewing and often the furnishings are arranged to make the most of the TV viewing experience.  You may also find that many of these same family rooms have a beautiful fireplace which is a natural focal point for the room, which can conflict with the more practical usability of the television.  Many people faced with this challenge have decided to pair both the fireplace and the television into a single unified focal point of the room by placing the television above the fireplace.

“In many homes, placing the TV over the fireplace can make a great deal of design sense, however, there are important requirements that need to be met in order to create a visually pleasing, yet functional, center-of-attention,” says Normandy Designer Laura Barber, AKBD.

If you are considering placing a TV above the fireplace in your home, there are a few basic rules of thumb that can help you make the most of both the beauty of your fireplace and the functionality of your television:

Appropriate Clearances: “Because the fireplace can create so much heat, it is important to have adequate space between the television and the fireplace in order to avoid any damage to the TV,” added Laura.  Ensuring that the TV is protected from the heat can be addressed in a variety of ways including placing the TV in a recessed niche, or leaving adequate space above a sizeable mantle, both of which can be designed to minimize the amount of direct heat that reaches the TV.

Family room with fireplace and wood beams on the ceiling

Proportions:  It is important to keep proportions in mind so that the focal point of the room remains balanced.  If the fireplace is smaller than the TV, the space can appear to be too top-heavy. For example, this image shows how the tile surround creates an illusion of a larger fireplace, which helps keeps the television and fireplace in balance.

Design: “Having an intended space for the TV from the initial design stages can help with the overall layout of the room,” says Laura. “Having a central point of interest helps homeowners decide where furniture would be best placed as well.”  You want to be sure that the TV is positioned at a comfortable viewing angle so that it is an enjoyable and relaxing experience.

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