So where should the TV be mounted?

Height wise, the ideal height for a TV is: the center of the screen should be at eye level when you are seated.  Why you ask?  Here’s a simple experiment to do to understand why.

  • Have a seat. 
  • Look straight ahead and mark a point on the wall that is at eye level. **Typically around 3 feet off the floor**
  • Mark another point about 2-3 feet higher.
  • Now stare at the higher point for about 3 minutes straight. (Keep in mind average TV shows are about 30 minutes long.)

That being done, you probably would have noticed that it gets quite annoying looking up to view something for an extended amount of time.  I’ve had people who were adamant about having the TV higher who keep their head level (horizontal to eye level) and simply move their eyeballs up.  Try that out as well, you should find that that is more irritating to do than tilting your head upwards.  So you will eventually start looking up.  So for those of you who spend hours watching TV, this will get annoying.

So that being said, you are probably wondering when it is okay to mount higher.  The only time where you would mount higher is in a bedroom.  You would do this because typically you are watching TV while lying down.  So you want the TV in your natural line of vision so that you are not doing anything weird with your neck in order to view the TV.
I’ve had situations where clients wanted the TV mounted over: 1. Fireplace. 2. Corner of a room. 3. Over a sofa.  4. In a cabinet. 5. In a built in niche.

  • Over the Fireplace:

I would say go ahead and mount over the fireplace if and only if you have no other options.  Typically a room with a lot of windows and/or an open concept means you can only mount over the fireplace.  As mentioned above, be aware of the height.  It will take some getting used to, especially if you are used to your TV being at a much lower height.

Is it safe to mount over a fireplace?
Here are the points to consider:

  • Plasmas/LCDs operate at a pretty high temperature.
  • If you were to place your hand on or above the mantle while the fireplace is on, it shouldn’t be burning hot.  Warm is okay, but not hot.
  • Read the manual, every manufacturer will have safety warnings and advice on what they suggest.

All that being said, considering the panels operate at a pretty high temperature, you just don’t want to raise that temperature.  So you only want to have either the TV or the fireplace on at the same time.  Provided you do this, you should be fine.  Typically with newer homes with gas fireplaces, it is perfectly safe to have the TV mounted over the fireplace and have both on as the inside of the fireplace is safely shielded from heat.  Keep in mind the framing of your house is made of wood, which means they have to shield it properly so wood doesn’t catch on fire!
Let’s say you have an older home with a brick/concrete chimney, this is where you want to be careful.  Only have one on per time.

  • Mounting in a corner.   I get this often as an alternative to mounting over the fireplace.  Is it possible to mount a TV in a corner? Absolutely it is.  You would be getting an articulating bracket which will make the TV sit 45 degrees to either wall.  There really are no issues to mounting in a corner, but there is a higher cost associated with articulating wall mounts.
  • Mounting over a Sofa.  Rooms that are small or in a situation where more seating is required, I’ve gotten the request to mount over a couch.  The same problems listed above exist with the height.  In addition, if someone is sitting underneath the TV, you will need to consider what happens if one loses balance while sitting or getting up and uses the TV to regain balance.   See if there is a corner or another option where you can have it mounted safer.  You would also need to consider where you would keep your components.
  • In a Cabinet.  It is definitely possible to mount inside a cabinet, reinforcing may be required depending on the cabinetry.  Typically if a cabinet is made to house a TV, it will be strong enough to support the TV.  Reinforcement is usually when customizing an existing or older cabinet.  Be advised TVs do need air circulation, so take that into account as well.
  • Mounting in or in front of a built in niche.  I’ve done numerous installations over niches.  Niches are spaces left in the wall or over fireplaces where an old tube TV would have gone.   So you’ve had a 27” tube TV all this time and now purchased a new 46” and need it in the same place as where the old TV was.  
    • So here’s a solution, build a frame to mount the wall mount on, attach it to cover the niche and mount new TV so it floats right in front of the niche. 
    • Another solution is to use an articulating bracket and mount without building a frame using the rear niche wall.
    • Provided there is enough space, you can use the niche to house your components like your DVD or Cable/Satellite box as well.

All that being said, I want to reiterate the fact that it is you who has to live with the TV.  So if you know you want it higher than what is suggested, then have it mounted higher.  Everyone prefers something different, go with what you like.  Do the little staring experiment mentioned above to figure out where you prefer it.

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