5 Crucial Things to Consider Before Placing a TV Over a Fireplace
The advent of lightweight, flat-screen televisions has opened up many more opportunities for where you can place a TV. Hanging a flat-screen above a mantel or on a brick fireplace's face results in a dual-purpose entertainment center that becomes a room's visual centerpiece. The TV-hearth partnership frees up valuable floor space, allows you to focus furniture arrangements toward a single wall. But as with many high-tech design treatments, this pairing presents a few challenges. High temperatures from the fire, mounting techniques, and wire-management are all important factors to think through before you hang a TV above your fireplace. Consider the following to determine if this configuration is a practical choice for your home.
1. Check the Temperature Before You Hang a TV Above the Fireplace
If you plan on burning a fire while watching TV, it's important that the place you'll be hanging your TV doesn't exceed the recommended temperatures noted on the unit's technical specifications. Too much heat adversely affects a TV's lifespan and creates a situation that could void product warranties. To check the surface temperature, tape a thermometer onto the wall or fireplace face when a fire's blazing in the hearth. If the temp is higher than what's recommended, you might want to forgo the TV-over-fireplace idea. If you decide to go ahead with the plan, understand that you won't be able to watch flickering flames and TV programs at the same time.
2. Test the Viewing Angle
Consider the viewing height when placing a television. Ideally, televisions should be set at the eye level of seated viewers, but unless you have a very low mantel, this placement probably won't be possible above a fireplace. You can double-check the angle by taping a paper template the size of your TV in the preferred location. Sit in your favorite chair and stare at the template for a while; if you experience neck strain, consider placing the TV somewhere else. Otherwise, invest in a mounting system that lets you tilt the TV to improve viewing angles.
3. Choose a Safe Method for Mounting the TV Above the Fireplace
There are a number of mounting methods and systems that allow you to easily place and hang flat-screen TVs above a fireplace. Select a mounting system designed to suit your TV's weight and size to ensure the unit stays safely secured to the wall. If the area above your fireplace is drywall, you'll likely need to secure the mounting system to a wall stud, so check the stud location before you begin. Be sure to follow all manufacturer instructions carefully to avoid damage to your TV or the wall. If you have a deep mantel, consider placing your TV on a stand.
4. Determine How to Manage Wires and Cables
Consider power sources and how you will manage electrical wires, cable systems, and sound equipment. If there's no power source nearby, you might need to call an electrician to install electrical receptacles. Consider hiding wires and cables using a bridge system ($53, The Home Depot) that carries wiring behind the wall surface. You can also purchase cable channels ($14, The Home Depot) that run along the wall and cover small bundles of cords. These can typically be painted to match your wall color for a more discreet look. Because a TV above a fireplace will become the room's focal point, you'll want to hide as much technological clutter as possible to integrate the technology into your decor.
5. Consider TV Integration Ideas
To minimize the appearance of a large black screen, try setting the television into a wall recess or behind a pair of accordion-style folding doors. For a more high-tech solution, add a mechanized panel that rises and falls to hide and expose the screen with the touch of a remote-control button. If possible, choose TV frames, cabinet doors, and mechanized panels that mirror finishes and materials already in the room to create a cohesive scene. You can also consider other technological advancements, such as motorized artwork that rolls up when you want to watch a favorite program or mirror panels that disappear when the TV is turned on. Adding fireplace-framing built-in bookcases can also help hide electronics and distract attention from an oversize TV screen.