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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Televisions Above Fireplaces: The Do's and Don'ts.

 Tweet #TrendTalkTuesdays to continue the discussion.

Living in a metropolitan city, I notice a common thread on many of my client's wishlists. They are always looking for more space. Who doesn't? Brilliant space-saving solutions are at the top of your wishlist, especially in every condo, apartment, or town house situation.  This space-saver quest has become a trend in its' own right. And naturally, the television mounted above the fireplace idea was born.

The concept behind this idea is a no-brainer. Got limited floor space? Well, take that chunky entertainment unit out of your living room and throw a flat screen up on a wall! Instantly your space will feel open and more fluid. Heck, ridding yourself of your large media center may even open up prime real estate for that cute n' cozy reading chair you've been eying up for months. Replacing dust-collectors with pieces you will find actually useful is always an upgrade.

Unfortunately, this fairytale does not have a happy ending.

As hot as the TV over fireplace trend may be, I have very firm opinions as to why 90% of the time it doesn't work.

 DON'T: If your mantle is at 48" or higher, do not mount your television above it and expect to actually enjoy using it.

The fireplace shown above is stunning. The dramatic millwork, the herringbone tile... the attention to detail is outstanding. Unfortunately, the height of the TV is abysmal. These clients either a) love cranking their necks to look up for long periods of time or b) never actually watch this TV. I love a good faux fireplace, but there's a solid 2 feet of unused airspace that could have been better utilized. Practical by default, I do wonder how much they spent on a useless fireplace and a useless television. I can only assume they chose this look to stay true to the design's integrity, so this example my friends, is classic battle where form won over function by knock out.

If you need more proof of non-functioning designs, all you'll need to do is type in the keywords "tv above fireplace" in

DON'T: Mount your television high above your fireplace when you have no good reason.

This example  has the potential to drop down the television even more. Notice the abundance of toys? Your tiny tots are cranking their necks to look up at this beast, so why not do them a favor. If this fireplace is gas, there is definitely still some room to bring it down before you reach the 'non-combustible zone'. If this fireplace is electric.. really, what is your excuse?

DO: If you are unable to lower the height of your TV, ensure that it can be tilted downwards. And be OK with the fact that it will stay like that 99% of time.

DO: When designing a fireplace/TV combo from scratch, do your due diligence and get educated on your products.

Why not do it once, and do it right? If you don't have an Interior Designer in your corner, head out to your local fireplace dealer and book an appointment to sit down with a professional. By the time you've selected your unit, you'll know exactly how high your mantle has to be, and thus the final placement of your television. Take out the guesswork and look at the numbers before you buy. If your fireplace unit is too tall {and you must have a TV above it}, then reselect and try again.

End rant.

I'm hardwired to be a functional designer, so I get a bit jazzed up when I see precious budget dollars go to waste. With that said, I have and probably still will design these types of fireplaces for my clients in the future. My job is to educate them on their choices, but ultimately they will always have the final say.

What's your take on the TV over fireplace trend?

Stay classy,


  1. Imagine the bad neck you would get from watching such a high tv! May as well lay flat on the floor and stick the tv on the ceiling.

    1. Agreed! Enjoying a bowl of popcorn may never be more dangerous.

  2. We're looking to install our tv above an electric fireplace . Do the don'ts still apply? With around 900 square feet, 2 adults, 2 kids, 2 dogs and a cat, space is limited. To say the least.

    I follow you via all social media; Sarah De Diego (Journeys of The Zoo) and tweeted this out (

    Besos, Sarah
    Blogger at Journeys of The Zoo

    1. Hi Sarah!

      Tv's can be great above electric fireplaces. You can actually have your television mounted lower, closer to your eye level when you're sitting at your sofa, thanks to a minimum area needed for a non-combustible zone .

      Of course it all depends on what you're working with on your existing fireplace (mantle already in place?) but if you have the opportunity to keep it low, you will be golden!!

      Let me know how it goes!!


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