Interior Design Advice: How to Place a TV in a Room

French Country family room design

One of the first places we begin with when creating an interior design scheme is determining the activities that will be going on in the space. If television viewing is going to be an important part of the needed functionality, then we have many factors to consider. Knowing how to place a TV in a room requires a complete understanding of the available space, the size of the TV, how the homeowners view the TV and how the TV will fit into the rest of the design scheme.

Recent interior design trends can make placing a television even more complicated. Preferences toward great rooms rather than separate living and family rooms means the TV shares another focal point in the space, usually a fireplace. Competing focal points make creating a balanced design scheme a challenge. Also, the move to more open concept home design means there are fewer walls to place a TV against. TVs do not float! They need either a wall or a piece of furniture for placement, plus a way to hide the ugly cords. With wall space coming at a premium it can be difficult to find an appropriate spot for TV viewing.

Another design aspect to consider is that as TVs get larger, they take up more visual space. And, when they are not on, they can turn into black holes! We mitigate this issue by either hiding the TV behind cabinetry, or by hanging a collection around it to offer visual interest when the screen is dormant. There are applications that allow you to show your photo stream or place a decorative image on the screen; however your TV must be on for those to have impact.

Finally, it is important to consider how the TV will be watched and by whom. Is the TV for family time, entertaining or quiet, nightly relaxing? Do you sit up, lie down, or even hang out on the floor when you watch TV? How many people do you need to seat? If you and your family have regular movie nights, you will need more seating suitable for viewing. If you live alone, perhaps one comfortable spot is enough. Depending upon what is needed, you may end up with asymmetrical furniture placement or an unusual spot for your TV to accommodate your viewing needs.

Shared Focal Points: Hanging a TV Above a Fireplace

A popular solution to the conflicting focal points issue is to hang the TV above the fireplace. Unfortunately, this design can make television viewing uncomfortable with the TV being set too high. We have found that this placement works in large rooms where the furniture can be arranged far enough way to keep viewers from having to strain their necks. Also, placing a TV too close to the heat source can cause damage. We determine the appropriate hanging height by considering the size of the firebox, the placement of the mantel if there is one, and then some breathing room for heat dispersion. When we are remodeling or building a new home, this design concept can be implemented much more easily than when we are trying to fit it into an existing space.


For the home pictured above, we were able to place the TV above the fireplace in a great room adjacent to the kitchen. The space is large enough to provide comfortable viewing, as well as allow the TV to be seen from the eating area. Since the TV shares space with the main architectural focal point of the room, we were able to create a seating arrangement that allowed the homeowners to enjoy all of the activities they planned for that space – enjoying the fireplace, watching the TV and chatting with family members and visitors.

Fireplace Remodel

In another design project, we hung the TV on a large stone fireplace wall with no mantel. The size of the space allowed us to place the TV far enough away from the heat source while providing comfortable viewing. The homeowners were able to sit in chairs or lay down on long sofas when watching TV, and the placement also allowed for easy use while entertaining a crowd.

Using a TV as a Secondary Focal Point

Built-in Shelves and TV

In the home pictured above, our client did not want the TV to be the main focal point in her great room. Instead, she had a favorite piece of art that she wanted to highlight above the fireplace. Since she was building a new home, we were able to integrate custom cabinetry on either side of the fireplace, one of which would house the TV. We chose to keep the nook open; however the TV was placed on a bracket that could be pulled out and angled for comfortable viewing, then pushed back in when not in use. The other open shelving and large space above the TV provided a place for large accessories that would distract from the black screen. Finally, though our client lives on her own, the seating arrangement was created to accommodate visits from her family.

TVs as the Central Focal Point:

Basement remodeling project

In the project shown above, we were asked to design a basement for family TV time. Since the TV was the focal point of the room, the functionality of the rest of the space was created around it. The placement of the TV was chosen to allow flow from the entrance to the game room, as well as comfortable viewing from a counter-height bar space. Seating was chosen to accommodate the whole family, and we even provided side tables that wrapped under the couch to bring the useable surface closer to the seating. To balance the wall space, we added a piece of furniture and accessories, which grounded the TV.

Television viewing has become a central design consideration in today’s homes. Understanding how the TV will work with the available space, how it will be watched and who will be watching it all need to be factored into where it is placed. Creating a cohesive, balanced and comfortable interior design scheme is always the goal. If you are struggling with placing a TV in your home, send us an email, or give us a call at 317.253.8986. We’d be happy to help.

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