Do your tv and fireplace compete?

gingerjennyFebruary 27, 2012

i am having a heck of a time trying to figure out furniture placement in a great room. I don't know what to do if there is a fireplace in the room and a tv. do you put it over the fireplace? is that too high? i didn't grow up with a great room nor do i have one now. I'm used to more rectangular rooms with a defined wall for a tv. making it open concept throws another kink in the plans. couches and such can only go so many places.

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You can put it over the fireplace if you don't have a raised hearth - otherwise it can get too high for comfortable viewing (unless you have a very short fireplace and mantle set up). We had this in our last house with random seating distances and it was always fine - no cricked necks at all!

We always put our tv above the fireplace because we often like to enjoy both at the same time. Some put the tv to the side of the fireplace in a built-in unit, which is another option.

Some people hate having the tv on the fireplace. I don't. When I see it in magazines it doesn't bother me. And I know a couple of folks who have mechanisms to hide the tv above the fireplace and they never, ever use it. But to each his own! ;)

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 7:34AM
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We planned to put our tv in the corner next to the fireplace, then decided it would be better viewed above the fireplace. We didn't do a raised hearth and we feel the tv is hung at a good height. Our kitchen is open to the great room so the tv can be seen from both rooms.

I love a nicely decorated mantle and having the TV up there messes that up. But I also love having the TV centrally located and in the best viewing spot.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 8:13AM
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We also put the TV over the FP in our great room. The room is fairly large (24x19) so we don't have a problem with the height of the TV. I honestly never turn it on, so I wanted it covered/not seen when not in use. I had two guys that have built things for me make a sliding cover to my specs. Two panels slide to the left, one to the right. The TV is inside a niche - DH decided how deep it should be during construction. The top of the mantel is 6ft high, for perception. We're both tall, so reaching up to open/close the panels are not a problem. They easily slide back/forth with a touch of a finger.

Here are three pictures I took at Christmas. Panels are closed, so you can't see the TV.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hidden TV behind sliding panels

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 9:25AM
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We also have ours over the fireplace with the kitchen open to the family room setup. No problems viewing, but like others have mentioned, our family room is also on the large side ~19.5'x 21'. We also sized the TV so that it's size matched what we would have put up there if it was a mirror or painting. I highly recommend using cardboard cutouts during construction to figure out what height & length TV will look the best with your setup and buy the appropriate size based on that. Yes, they look at you funny in BestBuy when you're running your tape along their TVs, LOL! Here's a pic of ours:

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 9:45AM
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I am weird, lol, I REALLY don't like the look of TVs, and the way our house is set up....our fireplace is visible not only in the great room, but also from the front foyer. Heck, since our front doors are seedy glass...the FP is technically visible from before you walk in! :) Dh and I had quite a disagreement about this....he wanted a flat screen smack dab over that FP, I didn't really even want the TV in that room! I thought it could go in the study. Anyway, of course I gave in on having the TV in the great room...but wouldn't budge on not having that thing over my FP! We decided to have the carpenter build some built-ins on the left wall. They are great, I have been enjoying futzing with arranging all the items in e shelves and of course I love the storage underneath...but that big, black TV keeps mocking me, right there, front and center. I wish I had put doors over it, but EVERYONE said that was ridiculous...flat screen TVs are meant to be seen. *eye roll* Anyway, I grouped the seating so the couch person can see both well, but the chair people are more oriented to the couch people and the fire. I'll post pics...

Now there is another chair in front of that glass door on the left....

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 9:49AM
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I'm still torn. :) I like both. Nini what size is your great room? Your built in looks great!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 11:21AM
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I have two rooms with fireplaces & TVs, which are placed on different walls. My reasoning and preference is that I can sit comfortably by the fire, warming my back side while watching TV. I don't tend to "watch" the fire...

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 11:26AM
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Our room isn't huge, its like 17'6" x 19'6" or something.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 12:01PM
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I have three TVs above fireplaces. We put tilt-down mechanisms on them that are controlled by remote control so they will be comfortable to watch

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 12:48PM
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After months and months of swearing I wouldn't have our tv over our fireplace but instead to the side in the bookcases next to it, we're now having it over the fireplace. Reasons: we have one main wall for both as our backyard wall is all windows and French doors and the other two "walls" are open to other rooms. So the two options are beside or above. The symmetry thing with furniture placement started bothering me. If we placed the tv next to the fireplace yet the sofa was centered on the fireplace (as it should be because of the room configuration), then we'd be off-set when watching tv.

So it's going above set flush but on a tilt and swivel. TV is part of our lives. So be it. We're doing a low hearth/mantle and it won't be bad for viewing at all.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 1:05PM
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Our set is like nini's. We really didn't want the tv over the fireplace; it really is too high for comfortable viewing.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 2:03PM
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We have had (and are putting in this house) a real wood-burning fireplace in the great room. So we have to be able to see the fire in order to tend it (an activity we really enjoy for some crazy reason - it's peaceful!). We don't "watch" the fire much, but when it's conveniently located in my line of sight to the tv it's much more likely to happen. Plus it's just more in my normal field of vision there. Can't miss the ambience that way.

I don't know if my tv is above my fireplace or if my fireplace is below my tv, but we really prefer being able to easily see both!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 2:39PM
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My set up is just like babs711; two sides of the room are open and one side is all doors. That leaves just one side for the TV & fireplace...... Also like babs711, I prefer both elements centered. OP, is your room open on two sides or just one side like pps7's room?

There are many threads discussing this and people who have differing opinions. It really depends on what you like to see, how you live and your space. If you do put your TV above the fireplace, tilt it and make sure your couch is far enough back to have a comfortable viewing angle. If your couch is too far forward, it won't be comfy.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 2:59PM
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I prefer the TV on the other wall, like pps. In fact, the layout is very similar, to what I hope to do with the farmhouse.

Not only is the TV at a better height, but I can enjoy the fire and have the TV on, without the fire flickering as I'm trying to focus, on the TV. That would give me a headache, in about 30 seconds.

If you rarely use your fireplace it may not matter. Also, is it a gas or wood fireplace? Ours is a big wood fireplace and even having the TV in the corner, by the fireplace, would be too busy and distracting.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 3:18PM
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We are still finalizing our floorplan, but my husband and I have been having this same debate. I would like to put the tv over the fireplace so there is one central focal point, but we rented a vacation home with the tv above the fireplace and my husband did not not think it was comfortable to watch. Since he watches tv more than I do... i think he should be comfortable while watching. :) My husband was concerned that putting the tv in a cabinet beside the tv would not work because based on our seating arrangement, the tv could not be seen by everyone in the room. So now we plan to move the fireplace to the corner and do a builtin wall just to the right of the fireplace with the tv in the center and all the seating centered around it. I have found a few examples of how this will work. I am just hoping that the fireplace has enough "presence" this way. We are planning a stone fireplace to ceiling with a 12' ceiling, so I think it will be ok next to a tv and bank of cabinets.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 8:27PM
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I too have that concern. I saw this pic on houzz and I am going to try and incorporate this set up within our home to be built.

traditional family room design by toronto interior designer c3d design

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 10:39AM
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IN our great room ( which is approx 20x20) we will have a corner fireplace and the TV on an adjacent wall. We prefer our TV to be more at eye level. Don't have a pic because we are still in the planning stages. Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 8:01PM
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Same problem here, thanks for this post! We change our minds every 5 minutes.

This NYT piece was helpful

New house has 20x19 great room open to kitchen in back; fireplace on front, one side is a giant slider/wall of windows, and the other side is a 3/4 wall (last 1/4 is stair railing of open staircase going up). We want to have large windows flanking the FP.

Option 1: No hearth FP, mount TV atop with better dedicated tilt-down mechanism. Pros: Can see TV from kitchen, FP is on 4-5x per year max so who cares, easier to do seating groupings. Cons: Less than ideal TV watching position, prefer hearth FP.

Option 2: Along 3/4 wall in a built-in that has a telescoping arm to bring TV out and tilt it towards you. Pros: TV less of a focal point in family room and nicer aesthetic; TV is more at eye-level when watching it. Cons: hard to see from kitchen (no TV in kitchen, but who cares we don't watch TV in kitchen), could be hard to pull off?

Decisions, decisions. Need to be made soon, as they are drafting construction plans and need to know what windows go there/built-ins.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 9:05AM
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Found 2 mounts that may help folks. I remain amazed that my 50" TV weighs 30 lbs - well within limits of these mounts, which I suspect were made for older TVs that weighed north of 80-120 lbs!

1. This one is a motorized tilt, to help aesthetics & viewing angle of over-FP mount:

2. This is one that could help folks recess their TV back behind a cabinet door, then pop it out & swivel.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 9:37AM
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Arsenal, if you don't have a hearth, you won't need the tilt function, unless your chairs are too close to the tv/fireplace. We had ours above the mantel about 5" and no hearth, and never noticed any neck strain at all. I never even thought about it until I read about concerns here. The guys who installed it from Best Buy said lots of people were mounting them above fireplaces, so it's certainly common.

But keep in mind, we had no hearth, and we're not putting one in the new house either, for the tv reason and because it takes up square footage visually.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 10:30AM
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We are putting our TV and fireplace on different walls similar to Nini because I love the look of a traditional fireplace without a TV above or beside it. Just my personal preference. So from one end of the room the fireplace will be the focal point and from the kitchen the TV built-in will be the focus.

Nini, I love your wall and trim colors. Would you mind telling me what they are? Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 12:21PM
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I'm another "hate the look of a TV on a fireplace" person... Somehow, a beautiful stone fireplace seems cozy and calm, and to me, seeing a TV in the same view just wrecks that mood. When the fireplace is white woodwork and the TV is a big ole' hunk of black plastic, the contrast seems equally wrong.

What I really love is NOT having the TV in the great room, but rather in a smaller study off to the side. We first arranged that way as kind of an accident when we first moved in. We had a big big-screen TV and no good wall to put it on in our great room -- one wall was all glass, the other was all fireplace and French doors, the other two sides were open to other rooms. So the BIG-A$$ TV got banished to another room, and we discovered the joy of actually sitting and talking and playing games together as a family in the great room. No more cartoons, NASCAR or action films blaring through the public rooms! What a nice way to live...

Never again will the TV go in my great room -- the room is so much greater without it.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 11:12AM
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I have attached a picture of what we are trying to do. Our fireplace will be stone up to the 12 ft ceiling, so I think it will have a bit more presence than this one.

Our kitchen is open to the family room and the only time I get to watch TV is when I am cooking dinner so I do want to be able to see the TV from the kitchen. If we are entertaining, I also want everyone to be able to see the game and not have me slaving away in another room away from the crowd. My husband enjoys TV more than I do, so I also want him to be "with" me while I am in the kitchen (where I spend most of my time). Not to mention, I like to monitor what the kids are watching and that will only be more important as the kids get bigger.

I just wanted to list some reasons people choose to have their TVs in the family room (at least that's what we call ours). With the TV in there, the family can be together. I know there is a big debate as to whether to put a TV in the living room, whether it belongs above or beside the fireplace, etc. I am not trying to be divisive.... I just think each person needs to evaluate their own family to decide what works best for them. Best of luck gingerjenny! I have enjoyed seeing your posts.

Source: via Tamara on Pinterest

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 11:45AM
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TV over the fireplace looks just awful. There's just no way to make a TV look nice no matter where it is. We have our TV on one wall and the fireplace on the other then the furniture is arranged so that the couch is facing the fireplace and the loveseat is facing the TV. Since DH likes to lay on his back on the couch while watching TV it works great.

However, if I had to do it over again, I would have done what Allison did because the TV is totally hidden and we rarely watch TV in the living room anyway.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 11:55AM
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Gingerjenny, we have the same great room layout as yours. The fireplace is a raised hearth flanked by cabinetry. The TV set sits on a pull out shelf to the right of the fireplace and rolls back behind closed doors when not in use. We have seating in front of the window wall and we floated a sofa between the kitchen and great room . We have two chairs with their back to the front entry but with enough space in between them to allow traffic flow into the room without having to walk around furniture.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 1:04PM
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Any chance you could post a picture of your TV/fireplace solution?



    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 7:18PM
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Sindey4, we are going with the exact same layout as yours, after sitting down with our interior designer. 55" LCDs weigh 30 lbs these days, making them easily mountable on brackets that can pivot out 3' and swivel 180 degrees - great because the mount+TV width is 6" when tucked tight to the wall.

We're arranging a sectional so that it faces the fireplace (and the 2 overstuffed wing chairs by the fireplace). You can sit on the entire right side of the sectional to see the TV, which will swing out and pivot 45 degrees to face you as needed. Allows for our preference of a hearth FP flanked by large windows, and a large TV that tucks away. Also, TV will be 24" off the ground, which to us is the optimal viewing height.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 9:52PM
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arsenalfan, I agree. With the pull out tray and TV pivot, you can view the TV from any seat in our room. We are big sports fans so there are times where we entertain around the TV. Although, I hate the TV as a focal point, we needed a way to arrange things so it could be watched by more than one or two people at one time. Someday I hope to have our lower level designed for those kinds of occasions but for now we use our great room.

OntarioMom, I think you may recognize that these pics are a "rerun" but I'm happy to share them again.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 7:46AM
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Oops, yes I did ask you to post this picture on another thread -- what a pain I am. I should have paid more attention to your username! It really is an awesome look and a perfect solution to the fireplace/TV issue. For others who didn't see you photo on the other thread, it will certainly be an inspiration. Thanks!


    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 1:37PM
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Carol, you are most definitely NOT a pain. That's what this forum is all about. Good Luck.


    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 3:55PM
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Sidney that is a really neat layout you have. I am not sure all that would fit in my greatroom but it is positioned the same. Is that a direct vent fireplace? i was under the impression they were directly vented to the outside wall so i didn't think i could have it on an inside wall.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 1:08PM
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I didn't want a television over the fireplace, either.
I must say that Allison's solution is beautiful and practical.

Here's what we did, short wall and not much space as almost the entire back of my house is windows and doors.
I do not have a photo, but when the sliding doors are pulled out and shut over the television, the cabinet looks much like an armoire.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 2:25PM
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Sorry to bring up a nearly month old thread but we're in the same dilemma as the OP and others. One 15 ft wall for the fireplace and TV and wall of windows to the front of the house.

My big question for those who put their TVs on the wall to the side of the fireplace, how did you arrange your surround speakers, center channel and two sides? I could see it being somewhat difficult to arrange when you pull out the TV and rotate it. Putting it above the fireplace would be easier to arrange the speakers.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 7:34AM
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We don't have an external speaker system with our TV. We are pretty low end users when it comes to our multi-media set up so we have few bells and whistles. I do know a surround system is doable , however, because it was an option that our builder discussed with us in the design stage. I'm going to sound stupid because I know so little about this but are you referring to the challenge of cable/ cords tethered to a TV which is not stationary?

Gingerjenny, I did not see your question from your last post until now. Yes, our fp is on an inside wall. As for scale, our room is 18 X 20 ,including the hearth. I don't think it is huge but the vaulted ceilings makes it seem larger IMHO.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 9:17AM
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A client I built a house for got around the dilemma by using a front projection display system. The projector hangs from the ceiling and the screen rolls down by remote control.

I'm of the minority "can't stand TV over fireplace" group.

But the built-ins in those extravagant rooms from beaglesdoitbetter could change my mind. Mauve cabinetry!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 10:23AM
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sidney4 - It's a little about the HDMI cable and cord tethered to a movable TV but it's mostly about the external speakers, the Center Channel, and two front side speakers which are pretty typical in a home theater set-up. With this my only "TV" room, I want the ability to have a Theater Sound system, which is easier to accomplish with the TV above the FP; more difficult if not impossible with a setup to the side of the FP. Maybe if I could see how others set-up their external speakers (with the TV on the side of the FP) maybe I'd go for that setup.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 12:09PM
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When designing or house, DH and I took a hard look at how we really lived and realized that, while the two of us did watch quite a bit of TV, we didn't ever watch it when we had company over. When we have company, we want the focus to be on conversation and VISITING and having a TV going in the background seems to interfere with that.
So we decided to banish the TV from our Great Room entirely. Instead we have a very small TV room upstairs next to our laundry room. The TV room is just big enough for our love-seat recliner (where the two of us sit when watching TV) a 48" flat screen mounted on the opposite wall at eye-level when one is seated, and a glider rocker plus a small stack of big floor-pillows. The extra chair and floor pillow are in case friends bring kids when they come to visit. Half a dozen kids can watch TV comfortably while the adults visit downstairs.

By banishing the TV from the Great Room, I totally solved the problem of how to keep it and the fireplace from competing. And interestingly, DH and I find that with the TV upstairs, we actually watch a whole lot less of it now than we used to. We record the shows we like and only watch when we make a "decision" to do so. Usually, about one or two evenings a week, we will go up and catch up on our shows and I'll get the laundry caught up at the same time. Most evenings, even when we don't have company over, the two of us will sit in the Great Room and read or work on crafts or do something like that INSTEAD of watching TV.

I admit that we did stick a second small flat-screen TV in the breakfast nook where it can also be seen from the kitchen. But I think that TV has been turned on maybe three times in the two years we've lived in the house. And eventually DH says he wants a big screen TV in his "man-cave" over the garage b/c he has visions of hosting the guys over to watch the big games. Truthfully tho, he really isn't that big of a sports-fan so getting the big-screen TV for the man-cave isn't really a high priority.

Not saying that our "solution" will work for everyone - but it is another option that some folks might want to consider.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 12:27PM
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We have 3 large plasmas in 3 adjoining rooms. Not my choice, but since I make most of the decor choices in the house I have to let DH have his say in something. My formal liv room is more of a den, with a 65" tv. It is in a custom cabinet, so if we have a more formal event I can close it up. The kids have a 50" in the playroom. It is open to the family room, but will have a door installed soon. The family room has a 42" LCD over the fireplace. I will probably remove this one as we never watch Tv here.

DH has the tv on all the time when he is home and I'm the opposite, so not having the main Tv in the family room has given me a bit of peace and quiet when I'm in the kitchen, which is open to the family room. We have no TVs in the bedrooms upstairs.

Someone asked about surround sound. With the 65" we have very good quality speakers to the side of the cabinet, center speaker below tv, sub-woofer behind one of the speakers and we placed the rear speakers in the ceiling. DH has huge L/R speakers that I vetoed and we purchased the smaller ones we use now. The huge ones will go in his workshop!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 2:51PM
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