The TV Question

A while back I brought up the notion that the television belongs in the living room, where all us guys should be able to enjoy the game on the “good” furniture. A number of readers have emailed me to ask for design advice on placement of flat screens.


Should a flat screen be hung above the fireplace? I’m all for it, but if your fireplace has a high mantle, your flat screen will be too high. Aside from it just looking kind of lame, you’ll soon be cursing the neck strain. I’ve also had a few clients hang their plasmas above the fireplace where it absorbed too much heat.

For impatient people like me, using the base to set the screen up on a credenza makes more sense. You can store hi-fi units inside and run the wires through the back as well as providing storage of all your DVDs and CDs if you’re still old school, like myself. I also do not want to deal with the mess should I want to change the location of the screen.

How far back you should sit for viewing? According to The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, you should be sitting 0.136 feet away per inch of diagonal screen size so you end up with a 30-degree viewing angle. So for a 60-inch television, the recommended distance would be 8 feet away. Sitting any closer can cause HDTV programming to appear grainy as well as induce eye fatigue.

I have had clients ask me about putting ornate frames around their flat screens. In a word, don’t! Frames were meant for art and family photos. Framing a flat screen is like going to Canadian Tire to buy “go-fast” flames decals to put on your Porsche.

Write me with any TV tips or questions you have or if you have other design dilemmas, please email me at

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