TV Over Fireplace vs TV On Separate Wall

Jason143NBPDApril 1, 2014

I know this is probably a question that would be better suited for later on in the build but it will help with sizing/shape of room.. Anyway.. We were looking at some homes for ideas and layouts and we saw two different variations for tv placement.. So.. What is the best place for the television in the family room? I have always anticipated it would go over the fireplace but as pictured below the fireplace is such a nice focal point with the brick/stone work that I feel like it should be by itself.. Just wondering what others have done..

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We are putting our TV in the builtins next to the fireplace. It is a personal preference but I do not like to look up to watch a show unless I am at a movie. Good luck on your decision! You will get both sides of the question here. :)


    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 5:11PM
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I am not a fan of the tv over the fireplace. I think the fireplace should be the focal point, not an piece of electronic equipment. I also think that it is more comfortable to have the tv at a proper angle, less eye and neck strain.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 6:07PM
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To be honest I know we will use the tv very often.. We love to watch our movies.. Not a fan of having the tv off to the side. I feel like it would just be "off".. I am 50/50 on this.. I understand why people put it on top of the fireplace.. It is a focal point of the room and it does look good there but I am also partial to displaying the brick/stone work.. I could go either way but feel like putting the tv on a separate wall will give you the great view of the fireplace by iteself and also you can lower the tv so you are not having to look up and strain your neck.. Although with the size of the family room we are planning i don't think you would be tilting your head back all that much.. I guess we will have to play with the idea..

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 6:20PM
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The TV is above the fireplace in our current home. If we ever have a fireplace in a room with a TV again, it will be above the fireplace there, too.

There is no neck strain. The TV is not on the ceiling. Looking at the TV requires lifting my eyes slightly.

Having them on different walls makes them compete as focal points. How often are you going to sit and watch the fire? Probably a lot less than watching the TV. So you end up situating the furniture for best TV angles. Then this fireplace looks awkward. If you face the fireplace, it's awkward for looking at the TV.

A second choice is to have the TV in built-ins next to the FP.

In our new place, the FP is going in the dining room so there will be no competition with the TV.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 6:46PM
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Would you consider going fireplace-less?
We will not have an indoor fireplace in our new house but our circumstances probably are different than most . . . no one (other than Santa Claus) has used either of the two fireplaces in our house for the past 9 years . . .

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 6:53PM
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I agree with all of Amberm145's post. We prefer it above the fireplace and find it actually more comfortable for watching TV.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 7:28PM
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I've been thinking about this topic lately, and I'm thinking of putting it over the fireplace for these reasons:

- Since we're doing a new build, I have the option of NOT going with a raised hearth (which I otherwise would have liked) so that the fireplace will be a little lower than usual . . . which means the TV won't be all that high.

- If we don't put the TV over the fireplace, we'll have the aforementioned "two focal points" issue; PLUS we'd have to give up a window. I don't want to do that.

- I'm considering some type of "shutter" to cover the TV when it's not in use.

I'm interested in hearing any thoughts on my reasoning.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 8:43PM
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No to competing focal points! :0)

I put the TV above the fireplace in the livingroom....which is also the greatroom. The ceiling is 22' high. Plenty of room to still see the stonework....

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 8:52PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

This has been debated many times and there seem to be 2 camps: those who complain the TV over the fireplace is too high for comfortable viewing and it causes neck strain, vs those who prefer the single focal point which makes for easier furniture arrangement. We solved it by having 2 separate rooms...the TV is in the family room where TV viewing is the primary function, the fireplace is in the library where reading and conversing is the primary function.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 8:18AM
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I've been there / done that both ways. Absolutely hated it over the fireplace. Even from across the room the angle was not good, and glare was also an issue. My advice is, have loads of extra space available. Even if you have something like a 50in now, who knows what you'll have in 10 years or if the overall shape will change again. Don't lock yourself in to the way things are now.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 9:13AM
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I have it over my fireplace and I LOVE the set-up.

This has been rather hotly debated here through the years. :) You will find people who seem to hate the very idea of it. It seems to come down to personal aesthetics, as long as you solve for the issue of viewing comfort.

It is possible to have the TV over the FP and have it very comfortable for viewing. You will also find people who categorically state that is not possible...which leaves me wondering why so many people also post here that they have the set-up and it works fine. :) (I suppose it is possible I'm delusional and don't know it.......)

I don't have a raised hearth, and I have the bottom of the TV set relatively low over the mantle. The TV is then angled downward too, and that downward angling makes a huge difference. (We first installed it without the downward angle, and it felt a smidge too high. It amazed me how just tilting it made a world of difference.)

Our regular viewing chairs are about 10-12 feet back from the FP.

I'm very pleased with this set-up. I have 5 windows in my living room and didn't want to block any of them. Competing focal points would have been a huge problem in the room too. This set up solved both issues and I couldn't be happier.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 9:46AM
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Two rooms might be ideal for some people, and that's what we have in our current house -- but I'm looking to downsize. I don't want to pay for two rooms or keep two rooms clean!

As for glare, I suspect that has more to do with the location of your windows than whether your TV's over the fireplace or not. If it is an issue, consider covering the TV with shutters; when you open them, the shutters will provide protection from window glare.

I'm not surprised that people have different opinions: Much of the success or failure of this concept has to do with the height of the TV placement, the windows in the room, and the angle of the TV. These are highly variable.

QUESTION for those who have this set-up: Obviously we want to have electrical outlets above the fireplace for the TV . . . but where do you place your DVD player, etc.?

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 8:27PM
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jason-debated back and forth forever and we are going with it off to the side...but we do not have a huge TV so it will not be overpowering and the fireplace and mantel will be the focal point. Totally personal though. I think putting it above seems to solve a lot of issues but yet again we still didn't do it? WE have a hearth for 1 so it would be higher and I guess I wanted to use the mantel to decorate and not have a tv in the background.

Good question about the dvd, etc. I'd imagine that would be off to the side in a cabinet but I don't know.

Another option maybe? You could put either the TV or the fireplace in a corner on an angle and maybe that would sold the competing focal points? A friend has this and it looks really nice. BUT, I know it does take up more space so maybe not for you.

Good luck! Whatever you choose just make it right for YOU.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 6:57AM
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I'm putting mine off to the side. I love to decorate my mantle at the holidays, and don't want my TV interfering. Plus, I want the 'stuff' (components) tucked away underneath.

This is my inspiration pic, I want my fireplace/TV to look like this, with the exception of putting the TV a bit higher on that cabinet (its a bit low).

Traditional Living Room by Saratoga Springs Design-Build Firms Witt Construction

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 7:24AM
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Nepool-that hearth is awesome! Great inspiration. :)

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 7:38AM
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we are putting the tv in a built in off to the side. The fireplace stone goes to the ceiling so there's no questioning the focal point of the room. The tv will be on an articulating mount so it can tuck in to the cabinet somewhat when not in use. IMO tvs are such a prevalent item in homes that they don't necessarily attract attention sitting near a fireplace.

I think that also if you have the right space you can put the tv and fireplace on completely different walls and that could work too.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 7:51AM
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Placing components shouldn't be an issue. All of ours are wireless.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 7:53AM
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Is someone willing to try the fireplace OVER the tv and report back? I think this would look just as absurd as tv over fireplace but at least you can solve the TV viewing height problem!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 3:39PM
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Just moved into our new construction home a few weeks ago. We chose TV over the fireplace - no raised hearth, 10-12 feet from TV to seating. We made this choice - after much debate and research - to avoid competition of three focal points in the room: Fireplace, TV, and view of the Rocky Mountains. I can sit in one place and enjoy one, or all three. I may eventually cover the TV with either a large piece of art or a sliding barn door system but for now, it's not bugging me - and I much prefer that all the furniture in the room is oriented to all 3 focal points.

As for components, our TV is recessed into a niche in the framing with a shelf above for a soundbar. Behind the TV is access to power and a "smurf tube", which is a tube that was run from the TV location to a closet that currently holds all of our components (cable box, router, Sonos bridge, DVD player, etc.). We did hire an audio/visual expert to connect all of the components rather than fishing the wires ourselves; he also set up an IR system which means that we point the remote at our TV and all of the components in the closet respond. I'm loving it so far. Of course, as mentioned before, you don't have to put the components in a closet - just know that any audio/visual guy worth his/her salt can set up your TV to communicate with your components in almost any location for a few hundred bucks AND if you have run a tube between locations during the build to accommodate wires.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 6:37PM
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Another TV above the fireplace fan here and with the new TV's there are hardly any bad viewing angles. I would absolutely not have the TV in any other location.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 7:04PM
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Best place for the TV:

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 8:40PM
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Aaahhh DreamingoftheUP I like your way of thinking. :)

Only that round fireplace could use some work.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 9:54AM
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Pookapie, I intend to do exactly what you've just described (um, minus the Rocky Mountain view). I'm glad to hear you're pleased with your choices.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 10:48AM
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I understand because I too struggle with this. The best position in the room is over the fireplace, however, I love to decorate the mantle and don't want the tv over the fireplace, so it's going on another wall.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 12:40PM
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Our TV is over the fireplace, but we purposely designed the built-ins so the fireplace is quite low. Recently, DH decided we needed a bigger TV, and we set the new TV on a low table until the installer could come out and install it above the fireplace. We hated looking at the TV so low. We couldn't recline or lean back in a chair with ottoman. It was very uncomfortable. So glad when they finally came to install over the fireplace. Can't imagine putting this behemoth of a TV anywhere else.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 3:17PM
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I prefer to have the TV on a separate wall for a reason that no one has mentioned yet. When the fireplace is in use, I often get up from the sofa and stand in front of or sit next to the fire while watching TV or a movie. I've even been known to pull a chair over very close to the fireplace to soak up the warmth.

I spent a month this winter at my dad's house, who has his TV over the FP, and I realized it was impossible to stand in front of the fire and watch TV at the same time. Competing focal points or not, this was a dealbreaker for me. Therefore, in my new house, the TV will definitely be on a separate wall.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 3:54PM
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Mrs. Pete - one more word of advice, though I'm not sure what stage you are at in your build. Smurf tubes come in different sizes and when my local cable provider saw mine he thought it was WAY too small to run wires (I think mine is 1 in. circumference?). However, the audio/visual guy we hired just used HDMI cords, etc. that were super thin with no problem. Just be aware if you haven't run your setup yet that you should err on the side of a larger tube just for ease of use.

Great thing about a setup like this is that it is flexible enough to accommodate any wired options that change as technology advances. Look at me, I sound like I know something. :) Electrical/wiring was actually the most confusing part of the build for me, but now that we are done I can see the wisdom of this setup.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 2:16AM
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We are off to the side people. Lived with this for over 4 years in our previous home and it worked well. I greatly suggest having the TV on a pull out unit, as I do not think we would have been nearly as happy if we hadn't. We were able to pull the entire tv out a few feet and then turn the tv at an angle more towards the center of the room.

We have a wood burning, blower unit that we used often. A high, raised hearth was high on our want list. DH and others sit there all the time. This would have made our tV way too high. It isn't perfect viewing for a room full, but I'm not sure any location is ideal in a family room setting for a number of people. We usually do not watch any "TV," but do enjoy a couple movies on the weekend. We hope to have a home theatre room finished in the lower level in a few years and I guess that will solve our placement issues ;)

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 4:33AM
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Pookapie, I appreciate the hint about the tube size. I would have thought 1" was plenty big, but making it bigger won't be difficult or expensive -- I just would've thought it unnecessary. Being made aware of small things that make life better is why we all read this board, isn't it?


    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 8:17AM
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I like the second picture...nice blue walls, but you need a BIGGER TV! LOL Having the TV on its own wall, means it can keep getting bigger...which is something my husband always seems to think he needs! It is nice though, when you're watching Game of Thrones :)

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 2:11PM
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I am planning on installing my tv over the fireplace in our family room. Builder didn't charge much for the extras.

1. Added extra support bracing where tv mount would go.
2. Conduit from corner of room to tv for hdmi, ir extender etc.
3. Added Power and cable.
4. Recessed lights pointed to fireplace to try to maintain focus on fireplace instead of tv.

We haven't moved in yet, but I hope this looks good.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 1:19PM
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My fireplace is near a corner, so for me, TV went on a separate wall so that the fireplace would stay the focal point (it's pretty grand), but the TV is on a long extension arm, so normally it's folded up so the TV is on the South wall, but when we're snuggled on the couch, we can swing it out over the fireplace for easier watching. I like it because it is easier to watch when it's in front of the fireplace, but I HATE the way a massive black box looks over our beautiful floor to vaulted ceiling stonework. Makes a nice compromise.

...though I requires getting the DH to put the TV back against the wall.... :P

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 9:10AM
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We don't have room for a fireplace (woe is me).

But my parents did. The FP was in the middle of the long wall of the family room; the TV was in the corner, at the end of the FP wall. My Dad's recliner was parked in front of the FP, facing the TV, but could be scooted back to face the rest of the furniture for conversation. As Vanilla pointed out, having the TV above the fireplace means you can't watch it while you warm your tootsies by the fire.

Our friends built a house with a FP in the corner of the living room, and TV on the adjacent wall. It works great, and allows for a cabinet under the TV for components. There is an outlet on the wall behind the TV, and a tube behind the sheetrock for cables.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 4:00PM
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