Thinking About a TV Above the Fireplace? Pro Tips to Consider

Maybe it's just me experiencing this, but ever since flatscreen TVs became light enough to mount on a wall, everyone seems keen on placing it above their fireplace mantle. Mixing tech with fire isn't always the greatest idea in the world, but if you are thinking about this placement plan, consider these tips from pros who have seen it all...We sat down with a couple of our good friends from a home theater installation company in Denver, Colorado and asked them what they've learned from installing the hundreds of TVs above fireplaces. Here's what they had to share:

1. Focus on reducing neck strain. "Folks often fail to realize how high up the TV will be. Even if you have a shorter fireplace, it may be less of an issue, but you're likely to be way above the recommended eye-level for viewing.

We recommend getting a TV mount with tilt capability. It might not look as good tilting downward like that, but you can always just push it back into place when the TV's not on. Or, if you're really looking to get fancy, you can grab an automated mount that tilts when the TV is turned on and retracts when not in use. Chief has one for around $350."

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2. Blend the TV into the room. "Most folks don't realize that throwing a giant TV up there really turns the space into a sports bar rather than a cozy living room. That is, unless you try adding a couple of bookshelves, paint, and some nick-nacks to even out the wall's focus from 'just the TV.' It's amazing what a few aesthetic changes can do."
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3. Don't force placement when there are better options. "There are people out there who want a TV above the fireplace, even when it makes no sense at all. Unless you have plenty of wall estate, or an indent that allows for easy installation, sometimes you just can't force it. More often than not, there's plenty of nearby areas that can serve as a great spot for a wall-mounted TV."

4. Sketch it all out. "You'll probably want a quick checklist of all the things you'll need in order to pull it off. We break it up into a categorized hit list: mounting equipment, wire management, proper power allocation, sound equipment (if you're putting speakers into the walls, this gets super complicated), and the TV itself. Like most things, it's often better to plan it all out and check the list twice before jumping into the deep end."

Got a tip to share for mounting a TV above a fireplace? Let us know in the comments...

(Images: Trevor Tondro for The New York Times, Today's Creative Blog, Hilton & Hyland)

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