DIY

Answering: What Size TV should I get?! (And how high do I hang it?)

August 17, 2021  —  Written by Julia Marcum 

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We are unofficially officially dedicating this week to the TV room. When it comes to TV size — bigger is better, right? Who doesn’t want a home theater? Well, let’s pump the breaks.

The general rule of thumb is the tv should be about 2/3 of the width of whatever piece of furniture is anchoring it. So whether you’re setting your TV on a console, hanging it above a credenza, or mounting it above the fireplace, you want “breathing room” on either side. If you’ve got your heart set on a 65-inch TV, you’re looking for a console that’s more than 84 inches wide. Conversely, if you have a 60” console, you’re probably in the market for a 48-inch TV.

When you’re hanging art above the couch, the dresser, or a bed — it’s a good idea to leave 4 to 8 inches of visual space between the bottom of the art and the “anchor” furniture. The same rule applies to a TV! It’s visually appealing for our eyes to see the TV with a handsome margin between the screen and console or the mantle. It seems like easy math to split the difference and center the TV between the ceiling and the furniture or mantle — but if the distance between the TV and the anchor is too large, it’ll look like it’s floating away.

I’m obsessed with how Erin at Frances et Moi hung hers asymmetrically above her low credenza and offset it with some art. Note how the TV isn’t floating midway between the top of the shelf and the ceiling, but rather is grounded comfortably. Also I can tell she shares a pet peeve about cords because she tucked hers neatly behind some painted channeling.

via Francois et Moi

If you’re NOT hanging the TV — but setting it on a console instead — the same width rules apply. But there are ways to “cheat” in this case. You can get away with a smaller TV over a wider piece of furniture hanging art on the wall behind it. Your TV creates a focal point, and by hanging a gallery around it, you’re just enhancing the scene. It’s not really about HIDING the TV, but embracing it and designing around it.

via Jessica Garvin

Hanging a TV above a fireplace is probably the most common place I’ve seen it hung, and it’s also where I’ve seen it done wrong a hundred times. Most common mistakes? Using a “too-large” TV, and hanging it too high.

I know it’s controversial, but I’m actually FINE with a TV above the fireplace. Since the fireplace is a natural focal point, I think putting a TV above it is a okay — with a few do’s and don’ts.

  • DO ensure that the TV is smaller than the width of the mantle (Use the 2/3 rule if you can).
  • DO mount the TV to wall. Setting the TV on the mantle can look a little clunky.
  • DO hang the TV 4 to 8 inches above the mantle.
  • DO hide the cords.
  • DO apply a piece of digital art to the screen if you can (you don’t even need a Frame TV for this!).

Amber Interiors did it so right by using a smaller scaled Frame TV in a tighter room and not centering it between the top of the mantle and the ceiling. Instead, it’s floating comfortably above the mantle with breathing space on either side. So classy.

via Amber Interiors

Studio McGee is another great example on how to place a TV above a fireplace. Shea left a smaller gap between the mantle and tv, but in this case I think it works so well because of the scale. I also love how the height of the TV is aligned with the top of the cabinet so my eyes can move across the room effortlessly.

via Studio McGee

I’ve already concluded that our TV is hanging a little too high than where it should be in our bonus room. In hindsight I think we were trying to hang it as high as possible because it already felt low to the ground, rather than embracing the lowness. So when we move the outlet to a more discreet place, we’ll lower the TV to a more comfortable height.

Hopefully these tips help you when placing your tv!! We all have them, might as well help each other make them look better. :)

What do you think?

  1. Joanna says:

    Julia, it’s mantel, not mantle. Totally different meaning.
    Your graphics are excellent. I can see you put a lot of thought into this post.
    I find a tv over a mantel is too high. We tried it but you get a sore neck. Yikes! So we switched it to a wall, bought a gorgeous console from Pottery barn, and now it is perfect. It depends on the size of the room. If your chairs or sofa are far enough back, you won’t experience the awkwardness of looking up.

  2. Holly says:

    What do you recommend to use to hide all the cords ?

  3. Finding a smaller media console for my 43 inch TV (37.5 inches across) is super tricky! It needs to be about 54 inches long according to this. I’d love a round up! Off to hunt for one…

  4. theresa says:

    hi! this is great! could you help with suggestions on corner tvs! feeling so stuck on how to do this in my space and the corner is the only option!

  5. Suzanne says:

    I would love some credenza/media cabinet inspiration!! We’ve had a black wall for over a year just searching for the right dresser/credenza/anything!!

  6. Emma says:

    Hi Julia! I love all this advice but I have a question- do you have recommendations or places to look for mounting a tv in a corner? We only have 1 good spot in our living room for a tv and it’s a corner. It’s mounted on the wall now and I feel like it’s disproportionate and have no clue what to do below it either! I feel like corners are a dated place for a TV and struggle with making it cute. Thank you!!!

  7. Sarah says:

    Does the 2/3 rule apply to the “size” of the TV (how it’s sold, typically the diagonal measurement) or the actual width of the TV? For example–the 55″ Frame TV is 48″ wide–would I be looking for an 82″ (2/3 by size) piece or 72″ (2/3 by width)?

  8. EP says:

    I bought a TV this year after not having one for a while. I got a smaller sized one because I didn’t want it to dominate the space, and I didn’t want to pay $$$ for something I don’t use often. I’m also moving within the year and smaller just seemed easier. Well, my LR is pretty large and I didn’t expect to have trouble SEEING it. I normally only need my glasses to drive, but now I need them to watch TV. Oops.

    • Rebecca says:

      We did the same when we bought our TV years ago, it’s now uncomfortable to watch. There is a formula for TV size relative to how far away you will be sitting.

  9. Liz says:

    This is so helpful! My question is how would you hang a tv on a more modern fireplace that does not have a mantle? Thanks!

  10. vanessa says:

    I am unusual in that I watch TV while I am laying in the bed on the side. So the placement of the TV will have to be low which makes me concerned that it will look too low on the wall. Any ideas on what to do? I have considered a gallery wall, but I also wanted a cleaner “less busy” look for the bedroom.

    • Kerri says:

      You should check out what Casey from the DIY Playbook did in her master bedroom, she is also a “watch TV on her side while in bed” kinda gal!

  11. Jas says:

    I find that TVs above fireplaces are so uncomfortable to watch. It’s such an awkward position for your neck to be in if you’re sitting on a chair/sofa, especially if they’re not in front of the fireplace. You should be eye-level with the TV while sitting down, not standing up.

    • Michele says:

      Totally agree. It’s a TV not a painting. TVs above a fireplace literally cause a crook in the neck. Also how large the TV should be is dependent upon the distance you are sitting from the TV. There are actually calculators online for this. Most people would optically benefit from a larger TV then they have. For example our couch sits 9’ from the wall so technically we should have a 65”. We currently have a 43” and plan on getting the larger size when this TV goes.

  12. A says:

    We *just* installed a new tv and did a lot of research. Ideally the center point of your TV should be 42″ from the ground! This seems low but it is perfect eye level for sitting on the couch. We ended up doing 46″ center, bc it’s a large TV and we wanted room for the sound bar and a media cab below. But you’re right – lower seems odd at first but it’s actually correct (and nice!).

  13. Celia McMath says:

    I always paint any cord on any wall with my wall paint color. The cord disappears. We only have one tv in a 6k sq ft house. My pet peeve is tv’s in
    every room. Just stream to a pad.

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