Design Debate: Are you FOR or AGAINST hanging a TV over a fireplace?

Mitchell Parker
23 September, 2016

Design Debate: Is It OK to Hang the TV Over the Fireplace? · More Info

Some designers say go for it; others say no way. Which side of history are you on?

Be sure to check out our design debate conversation on this topic, too!

Comments (126)

  • susanalanandwrigley

    We chose not to put our TV in the room with the fireplace, instead we put the TV in the room that others might use as a formal LR, but we are not formal people. So the LR has a beautiful cherry cabinet with the TV in it, the TV itself can be closed off by doors, room is set up to allow both TV viewing and conversation (swivel chair in one corner helps facilitate that). The room with the fireplace is more of a "den" area and I love to sit and read there plus it is a nice cozy gathering area.

    I really dislike TV over fireplace, if we ever move again I will definitely be looking for house that doesn't require that set-up.

  • magaitan

    There is nothing better than curling up in front of a crackling fire with a good book and a cup of tea. Why would anyone want to add the distraction of a TV?

  • jecpin

    Nothing tackier than a TV over the fireplace...just screams," my life revolves around the idiot box!"

  • Tat1

    It depends. If you have a more traditional decor, no TV over the fireplace, this would be in opposition to your traditional decor. If you have a more modern-contemporary decor, yes the TV over the fireplace is appropriate and very much on trend and should go well with contemporary furnishings and fireplaces...i.e. looks great over a quartz fireplace.

    However, if your decor leans neither traditional or contemporary, but rather transitional. Let the style of your fireplace in your transitional room dictate. If the finish, materials, or design of the fireplace itself is more traditional in your transitional space...then no TV over, if it is more contemporary then a TV over the fireplace. The eye level issue is pretty much solved by the style of the fireplace as well, since the more contemporary fireplace designs are typically lower in height almost, suggesting that this is where you should place your eye-level TV. Whereas, traditionally designed fireplaces are typically grandiose and taller in height suggesting this is not where you should place your TV. It will not be eye-level and this piece is your main focal point.

  • indy240601

    Go for the beamer. Everybody happy.

  • PRO
    Refined Renovations

    There are concerns about the heat generated from the fireplace affecting the TV. Granted, this can be mitigated, but that is extra costs as well.

  • user7654321

    So, I voted "against", but that's only because there was no option to vote for "I don't think houses should have a TV at all". I cannot imagine my house with a boob tube in it. I have learned that people hang out more, stay longer, and converse more because I do not own a TV. Oh, and I'm not a senior citizen. I think in the future no one will have a TV and just be watching shows on their devices.

  • L W

    In my condominium complex nearly everyone with a fireplace has a TV mounted over it. I don't. Just don't like the look of an up to 60 inch "black hole" hovering over the fireplace as you view programs with your head tilted up as if you were sitting in the first row of an IMax movie theater. I have a medium sized (40 inch) TV which fits perfectly in a space next to the fireplace. As for the mantel, my husband and I enjoy decorating it for each season.

  • pvkshouse

    Artwork is best viewed when the center is at eye-level...or so I've read for years. When you're sitting, eye-level drops. Watching a TV screen placed over a fireplace is probably terrific for people who love sitting in the first row of a movie theatre...but not my cup of tea. And then, there's the aesthetics....

  • PRO
    Studio NOO Design

    Tv above fireplace is ALWAYS to high...and who wants to see a tv there anyways !

  • Liz
    I really liked the designs where the tv was not above the fireplace, but IMHO many family rooms would need to be redesigned to accommodate these designs unless they are large. Without enough space for entertainment centers, many rooms simply do not have a better location for their large flat screen TVs than above their fireplaces. Also, with smart TVs comes the ability to display beautiful photography or artwork above your fireplace as well. It boils down to space and budget limitations, and of course, personal preference.
  • PRO
    cryder construction
    i voted for. our tv sits on the mantle above a fireplace insert. everyone that has come into this house has loved our set or woman. the neck strain thing is ridiculous, unless you are up to close to the tv. As Mr. Clawson pointed out, in a recliner it is BETTER. So, alot depends on the size of the room and furniture placement....just one of many things that affect a families decision on where to place the tv. Its a matter of personal opinion, wall space, size of the room...etc. when it comes to tv placement.
    And I am in construction business Ms Susan Arlitt, and can design any room or house as good or better than any designer. All I need to know is a general idea of what a person wants. Simply put, it comes down to what the customer wants for a "designer" or contractor to get it right. Your notion that a designer has more ability to layout a room is ridiculous as it is the customers idea of the room that is being brought to life, and all a designer can do is offer suggestions. And you may need therapy for some kind of anger issue it sounds like, and talk about arrogance! lol
  • pvkshouse

    Spot on!

  • lynartist
    There should have been an other box to check! I never say never , ever! Every home is different, and everyone's situation is too! We are living in modern times and our homes should meet today's needs . They are not museums. While it may be beautiful to have an accessorized fireplace in an older home it just might not be practical either! If the room is to small , has too many windows or doors you might not have any choice. While everyone is screaming "Don't put the tv over the fireplace"! The poor OP is stuck with it balancing on a TV tray on the side which looks just awful! Hmmm, I'm often left wondering if a fireplace is worth all the trouble!
  • D C

    They do not discuss having paintings that lift up to expose the TV underneath. This option allows for both a lovely look of a traditional fireplace yet having a TV in the living room. There are also mirrors which allow the TV screen to be seen behind it when on and roll up paintings. Both points of view seem to be behind the times.

  • Dan Keuter

    I agree! See my comment from Sunday at 10:08 AM, You can have both with ARTV Mount. ARTV Mount Video

    Dan Keuter

  • momof5x

    Two reasons I am against:

    1. Too high.

    2. Electric and Fire close to each other doesn't go with me.

  • sails365
    We love fireplaces.We have had a TV over the fireplace ever since thin screens came out. We have a split piece of artwork that covers the TV when its not being viewed. The art work is hinged and opens for viewing.
    The TV's mounting bracket is articulated for comfortable viewing.

    One of the examples you displayed in the debate was a long horizontal tube. Viewing a long gas tube is so far from a real fire that you might as well turn on the burners on your kitchen gas stove and watch that. How's that for romance. Some high quality gas burners come close to a wood burning fire, but many clearly fall short.
  • Karen Nichols

    It depends on each individual home and homeowner. For us, we're pretty much limited to the fireplace wall because one wall is all glass and the facing walls have large art pieces that play across the room at each other. Even if it weren't for the art, we would want to put an entertainment cabinet on either of those two walls because it breaks up the wall height (30ft). I'd prefer to keep the TV hidden away, but until we can figure out how to make that happen, the TV remains above the fireplace and the entertainment center cabinet is in the formal living room.

    You put it where it works for you.

  • silentfilmfan

    If television viewing is your main priority, then maybe it's time to get rid of the fireplace. Use your picture in picture feature on that smart TV for a fireplace. And aren't we more 'glued' to our phones than anything else?

  • willozwisp

    No TV, so moot point for me. Watch TV or Fire in fireplace? Guess I am too pragmatic. Figure the heat radiating from the chimney and any blowback of smoke or soot would not be good for electronics or the new screens. Ash is an abrasive.

  • joelegnater

    If it makes sense in your room then do it....I have both a living and family room and only one tv in the house....I put it over the fireplace but is still not the focus of the room because of the pool...I really like it there and I can watch while making dinner or doing anything else in my multipurpose kitchen/family/breakfast room. Wouldn't have it any other way....

    Kitchen Ideas · More Info

  • jtalk4456
    Over a fake fireplace sure
  • Maria McNulty
    Never understood the idea. Too high for comfort. Takes away from the actual fireplace (much like crowded mantles do). When it is not on, its just a black box.
  • jtalk4456

    depends on how you build it. I agree with you in many instances I've seen though.

  • orangebeach2015

    I absolutely HATE the TV over the fireplace. Practically, it is very uncomfortable. More importantly, as Tamara Leicester mentioned, the TV does not need to be the center of attention for any home. I cringe as I witness America bow down daily before the "god" of television. Aesthetically, at best it speaks of low imagination. Your home should reflect your interests, beliefs and joys. Put up that art you love! Make a collage of things that make you happy. Show that sculpture! Arrange your photographs. Do SOMETHING beside that television!

  • Lu Lyon

    I agree, sails365, with your view of the long horizontal blue flame, which is somehow supposed to be viewed as a fireplace. To me, they look like an aquarium after the Apocalypse. Those videos of traditional fireplaces (popular at Christmastime) are more interesting to contemplate.

  • Monica

    I've lived in 3 house in the last 10 years that have/had fireplaces. If I can find another place for the TV I have. I feel like the TV takes away from the special evening and ambience a fire creates. And I don't always looking at a fireplace unless there is a fire in it. So I'll keep them separate - unless there is just no other way to work it into the room.

  • PRO
    Advantage Audio Video Services

    As a Custom Audio Video Installation Specialist for 15 years, I have always and will remain to support my client's decision in the choice. I always educate them before the installation process begins and offer multiple solutions for mounting and disguising the TV. There are companies like Seura & Visionart that specialize in hiding while not in use. Dynamic Mounting (pictured) for lowering to a suitable height when in use. Custom cabinetry might also be an option for gas-log fireplaces as long as they meet code*.

    Advantage Audio Video Services

  • graycern

    A TV over the fireplace would not work in our house. Our mantle is about 5 ft high, the TV would be too high to watch comfortably. When we had a TV, we had it on a low TV stand that was perfect height for viewing from the couch.

  • Mitra
    I'm against any television in the house, period! Haven't watched it in more than 10 years and don't miss it.
  • templeofm

    I have had tv's over fire places, they are always placed too hight for comfortable viewing, so no, don't do it.

  • Kathy

    I don't think it is a yes or no. Every case is different. Sometimes there is no option. If it is a wood burning fireplace you have to check the heat factor. Otherwise I think it is up to each individual case.

  • creatureofchaos
    TVs are ugly. Fireplaces are pretty. The math - even without concerns about viewing height/distance - is simple.

    I don't want to see a TV *anywhere* unless it's turned on and showing something I want to watch. TVs are ugly. Mine are hidden even in my family/media room (lift cabinet, doors).
  • Judy Hotchkiss

    Television is a personal choice. creatureofchaos solved the issue for themselves in a way I would have suggested--hide it unless you are using it. For others, it is NOT an issue.

    I'd never put mine over a mantle because it unbalances that side of the room. (probably too high AND could be damaged by heavy use of a fireplace). I've also mostly lived in old houses where the firebox and the mantle are rather high. Modern houses have lower fireboxes so placement may indeed work, especially in new spaces with open plans and very little wall space.

    I'm about to hang one of mine centered on the framing of white built in bookcases which have a right and left section. I "wish" TV frame was white or silver. It isn't. But at least it will be the spot's focal point, balanced in its placement AND functional for our needs. Getting electric to it may be the bigger issue!

  • PRO
    A U D I O L I E R

    Evolution of the fireplace and the television is here.

    Audiolier | Digital Hearths designs and installation · More Info
    Nothing a fireplace can do the can't do better. Smell, heat, sound and fire. It's totally safe. Best fires and they can be changed. Why all the headaches of the fireplace and the maintenance. Evolution of the fireplace and the HDTV is coming and will become the focal point of today's home. It's a thought. Model shown is 70" television.

  • PRO
    A U D I O L I E R

    Televisions in the home are a fact of life. And the large HDTV are a modern miracle connected to the Internet. To enjoy the the television you must have good sound system and that is a big problem. The other problem is the television must be mounted so that it at eye level viewing to be enjoyed. The big problem with the television it's not decorative like everything in the room. The solution is to redefine the fireplace and make the television the focal point. It can be done.

  • sjka111

    I have a beautiful painting abovey fireplace . Everyone that comes in loves my home. The warmth of the fire and the beauty of the art does it all

  • PRO
    Mint Kitchen Group

    It depends on the size and the look of the space.

  • eightpondfarm

    i would spend more time downstairs if allowed a TV over the fireplace....but alas, it's verboten. Ergo, i hang out in the 'dog room' or bedroom, two places where there is a tv.

  • kenduce

    Why NOT BOTH - lots of ways to hide the TV, suggest fire proof mantel under TV and out 6 inches or so to deflect heat away from face of wall/TV. and keep fireplace low - lots of ways to do this - to have comfortable viewing angle. Close TV when company comes - not a distraction, open when the game starts? - Best of both!

  • micknmina

    Ohfergoshsakes. What works for you & your home layout? There are no hard & fast rules. The fireplace surround at our house in a open living space with windows all along one wall facing the lake is dark to camouflage the TV over the fireplace. The rest of the room is a cool beige. Art flanks them both, occupies the facing wall, & kitchen/dining space. I can work in the kitchen & still see nightly news. We don't sit right on top of the TV (buy big enough or go low) in a truncated couch & there is seating close to the fireplace as well. The gallery room showcases the larger art collection & the piano as guests come in the front door. Live optimally in your space & leave others to optimize theirs judgement free.

  • PRO
    Sarita Simpson Design

    In this project I separated the television and fireplace within the same space. I believe the design emphasizes the continuity of space for a loft-like environment.

    Minimalist Modern Renovation · More Info

    Check out my website!

  • Dana Veach

    I'm late to the party on this thread, but wanted to weigh in on the value of fireplaces or wood stoves in a home in the first place. Not all of us live in the city or in suburbia, and there are those of us who heat our homes with wood out of necessity, and not for mere aesthetic reasons. The T.V. is utilized in our home only for watching videos...either for education or entertainment purposes. (I will not watch commercial T.V. any more.) So the T.V. gets its own spot on a wall opposite the fireplace. If I had a fireplace of an appropriate design, I wouldn't mind mounting the T.V. above it and covering it with a movable piece of artwork as a previous poster suggested. I'd rather situate it to one side, however, if at all possible so that I can view both!

  • misscorl1

    If you are a purely functional driven person , its an obvious choice. If you are visual & strive to create a unique look in your home, it is not an appealing option.

  • ootockalockatuvik_7a

    Against. Throw in some 3-D viewing glasses and you all look like a bunch of idiots watching a solar eclipse. The mantel is for seasonal decorations, not upward TV viewing.

  • PRO
    Danniels-French Design

    @misscorl1 - what is it that you feel is functional about a TV over a fireplace? Can't be the viewing angel as that's all wrong, as is usually the proper viewing distance. So in my opinion this is not a functional place to put the TV.

    And it certainly is not a pleasing look unless you are able to hide it. ootockalockatuvik_7a is correct in that the mantle - if there is one, is a place for decorative items, though not just seasonal. If no mantle then the wall above should be nicely decorated with art, mirror etc.

    A fireplace with or without a mantle (as so many of the newer linear ones give different options) is a focal point and should be pleasing to look at. It's so much nicer to spend time in a room that is well laid out, functional and nicely appointed. Keep in mind that when the TV is off - it's just a black hole.

    For those who want to hide the TV, have a look at the new Samsung Frame TV - such a brilliant idea!

    The debate goes on!

  • misscorl1

    @Danniels-French Design. Allow me to clarify my comment, as I believe you've misunderstood my meaning ... I would never have a television over a fireplace mantel (unless there was absolutely no other option and I would hide it for the exact reasons you've mentioned).

    I am an extremely visual person ,not everybody is visual. People who are less motivated by style or aesthetics (ie...more oriented to the functional aspects, tend to place their televisions on a main wall in the room , they spend the most time. Function over form.

    My comment was on different motivations no need to lecture as you're preaching to the choir :-)

  • PRO
    Danniels-French Design

    @misscorl1 - my apologies for missing your preference! Regardless, I still do not see it as functional unless people like a sore neck!! Or I guess they have nice recliners or theater seats that somewhat help. :-)

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