Modern Family Room: modern Living room by Olamar Interiors, LLC

TV above the fireplace or not: is it a solution for my TV placement?

Amy Buxton Amy Buxton
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Finding enough inspiration as to how to install a fireplace in a living room isn't difficult, but when there is a very specific style of mounting being considered, there are a number of very pertinent questions that need to be addressed before a final decision is made. For the purposes of this guide, mounting a TV above a working fireplace is the central issue and it's one that is fraught with questions and concerns.

The main issues that should be considered, in respect to a wall-mounted, above fireplace TV are:

 - Why even consider such a placement?

- Is is safe to mount a TV above a fireplace?

- Will the TV be damaged in the long run? 

- Who could benefit from a TV in this position?

- Are there any alternative ideas?

All of these questions will be addressed in this guide, to make sure that a reasoned decision has been made and that every living room will look and function as well as possible. After all, no interior designer wants to complete a decorating project only for something to go wrong because of ill-advised technology placement. 

How to mount a TV above a fireplace.

More interior ideas: classic Living room by Lux Design Associates
Lux Design Associates

More interior ideas

Lux Design Associates

Before committing to a TV on the wall, it needs to be asked whether this is actually a safe option and the short answer is yes. All modern models of televisions have been designed to fit securely onto a wall-mounted bracket, thus freeing up valuable extra floor space in a living room and as long as an official bracket is bought, there will be no concerns as to the weight capacity or flexibility. 

The next question is whether a TV above a fireplace  is safe and again, the short answer is yes. We will address more detailed queries later in this guide, but for now, the method of mounting a screen needs to be understood. The process goes as follows:

- A location is decided upon, in this case, on a chimney breast. The TV should be mounted centrally, to maintain a natural and common sense aesthetic, so the wall needs to be marked up properly, using a spirit level and tape measure.

- If an inset mount is wanted, a stud wall may need to be built, to house the rear of the screen, but if a direct mount isn't an issue, a recommended wall bracket can be affixed straight onto the finished surface.

- Cables can either be left to hang out of the bottom of the screen or the wall can be 'chased out' to allow for a concealed and minimalist finish. This is not recommended for rental properties, as it would constitute damage and could put a renter's deposit at risk.

What about the install height?

Luxury Kalorama Condo Renovation in Washington DC: classic Living room by BOWA - Design Build Experts
BOWA—Design Build Experts

Luxury Kalorama Condo Renovation in Washington DC

BOWA - Design Build Experts

When trying to work out if it is actually safe to install a TV above a fireplace, the height of the installation will naturally be a serious issue. The best advice, in this case, is to align with the manufacturers' recommendations, both the TV set and bracket makers. Going off piste and making an independent decision could invalidate any warranty claims, should an accident occur and may even mean that home insurance premiums won't pay out as well, in the event of a broken TV set or damaged wall.

For people that are concerned about getting an absolutely perfect set-up, but manufacturers recommend a height that is at odds with the owner's desire, a hidden TV above a fireplace could be the ideal solution! The screen can be installed exactly as the manufacturer suggests, but then hidden away when not in use, so as to prevent it looking annoying.

What about the heat?

Master Suite and Master Bathroom Renovation in Great Falls, VA: modern Bedroom by BOWA - Design Build Experts
BOWA—Design Build Experts

Master Suite and Master Bathroom Renovation in Great Falls, VA

BOWA - Design Build Experts

Potentially the most asked question, in terms of finding out whether a TV really can be installed above a working fire, is if the heat will have an impact on the screen and inner workings. It's probably fair to say that when designing the most incredible fireplaces, experts weren't thinking about minimizing heat transfer to adjacent technology items or screens above and yet, there seems to be little to suggest that there will be a problem.

If problematic heat ideas simply won't go away, some homeowners prefer to install each element at an offset angle, as seen in this picture. All the benefits of a wall-mounted TV can still be enjoyed, but with absolutely no lingering doubts as to whether hot air will become an issue.

Which living room styles will it work with?

A wall mounted TV might sound like a very modern and contemporary design choice, but surprisingly, it works well with absolutely any style of living room, from traditional all the way through to minimalist. The best ways to integrate a TV into the most commonly explored living room design genres are:

- Scandinavian. Add a natural wood frame around the screen, to make the transition from technology to wall a little smoother.

- Classic. Consider mounting the screen inside a cabinet, which can be closed when the TV is not in use.

- Minimalist/modern. Choose the most slimline TV possible and keep the mantle[piece clear of clutter.

Is it really a viable decor choice?

modern Living room by Rupert Bevan Ltd
Rupert Bevan Ltd

Antiqued Mirror Alcoves to Fireplace Wall

Rupert Bevan Ltd

When asking if a wall-mounted TV is really the way to go, the actual question is who will benefit the most from a higher placement? There has to be a practical upside, as well as an aesthetic one, surely? The following people will get the most benefit from a wall-mounted TV, placed above a fireplace:

- Film buffs. The elevated screen position will lend itself to a far better view and increased enjoyment. Reduced neck pain and glare could also be potential upsides.

- Sports and gaming fans. In terms of a comfortable media experience, a raised screen height is perfect for anyone that will be sat in the same seat for a while. This definitely means sports enthusiasts and gamers.

- Anyone who enjoys the ambiance of a burning fire as they curl up to watch some entertainment. 

What's the alternative?

A final point to consider is, if a TV isn't going on the wall above a fireplace, what will? Art is a natural choice and looks great, but what are you left with then? An attractive wall display and a significantly reduced floor plan, because a freestanding TV needs to be stood somewhere? It's a question of what will look best and be the most practical in each individual home.

If you need more ideas for TV placement, check out Interior design: 10 TV panels ideas for the whole house

Are you decided on a wall-mounted TV now or not?
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