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wall mounted tv above white and timber rustic entertainment unit

Tips on Mounting a TV: Height, Distance, Hiding Cords & More

As a designer and absolute decorating junkie, it pains me to admit that styling your home isn’t just about picking beautiful furniture to go with lovely art and cushions.

Turns out, there are some practical decisions everyone needs to make. And one of the big ones is what height to mount a TV. If you’re pondering on whether to not to mount it at all, allow me to clarify: mounted TVs always look a thousand times better and make your home look refined. So mount, mount, always mount.

So now that you’ve made the clever decision to mount your tele, a tonne of questions are going to arise: how high should it go? And where? Oh and what about all the cords; how do you make those disappear?

That’s what I’m here to explain today. So strap yourself in as we deep dive into what height to mount a TV, the unit beneath it, hiding cords and so much more. 

Oh, and if you want to decorate around the screen once it’s up, check out this post on decorating around a TV.

California Bungalow Mounted Tv from Sanus

1. Cord Management Comes First

Before we discuss what height to mount a TV in your living room, you need to think about everything that plugs into it and what you’ll do with those cords. No one likes to see a power board with wires going everywhere, so let’s avoid that like we do our drunk uncle at Christmas.

If you’ve got the budget (and I suggest you find it), get an electrician to run all of your HDMI cords and other cables from where your TV is going to sit, down through the wall to where your set-top box, games consoles and other devices will live below.

They can also add a power point and outlet for your antenna directly behind the new TV spot. This puts everything out of sight, and you only need to think about keeping things tidy where they plug into your devices and right behind the TV. The telly should hide that if you choose the right mount (more on that below).

If you can’t put your cords through the wall, cable concealers are an OK option. Not perfect, but better than dangling wires. They cover your cords and adhere to the wall, at least keeping things neat. Try to find one that matches your wall paint colour.

Don’t have any devices to plug in? Great, you can get a electrical outlet installed behind the TV, like in the image above from Sanus. You can’t see any wires, right? That’s the idea. This look keeps everything extremely tidy and is great for a room where you need to maximise space, or if you’re a minimalist.

wall mounted tv woman watching tv with remote

via Echogear

2. Now Let’s Figure Out Height

Exactly what height to mount a TV comes down to three considerations: the size and resolution of your TV, how far away from it you usually sit, and personal preference.

TV Size Does Matter

In the world of TVs, size is everything. You want to be able to see what you’re watching, right? But, contrary to popular belief (and what the salesperson might tell you), bigger isn’t always better.

There’s a whole bunch of maths that goes into calculating the perfect distance, and it’s complicated further when we start talking about whether your TV is Standard Definition, HD or Ultra HD. Basically, what definition or resolution means when it comes to your TV is how many dots (pixels) make up the screen. More pixels equals a higher resolution, which should mean a clearer image.

Are we clear on that?

Good, because now you’ll need to consider how far you’ll be from the TV when deciding on the size and resolution. The lower the resolution, the further away you need to sit to make sure you don’t notice all those pixels. You want to concentrate on the latest renovation show, not see all the dots that make up the image, right?

Think of it like a painting: stand too far back and you can’t really appreciate it, too close and you’re admiring the brush strokes but can’t see the whole picture.

Near…Far…Wherever You Are…

Distance from the TV when you watch it goes hand-in-hand with the size and resolution of your screen. To keep it simple, the smaller the screen, the closer you need to sit. But if you prefer your TV higher, you will need to sit further back to see it properly, unless you have it on a mount that can angle it downwards.

Personal Preference

At TLC Interiors we mount TVs for clients lower than most designers. We’re not trying to fool ourselves into thinking we’re at the movies. And most living rooms we style don’t have recliner chairs to lounge back in (though if you want to find a good one, here’s our list of best recliners on the market).

We advise that the middle of your TV screen should be slightly higher than eye level when seated on the couch.

What Height to Mount a TV?

I know that’s a lot to take in. Thankfully, there’s a calculator that I like to use that helps you choose the right size TV for the room and viewing distance. Part of how high to mount a tv will come down to personal preference like I mentioned though, plus the technology of the TV.

If money were no object, you might buy the exact right size TV for the room. But you live in the real world where rooms can be strange shapes or you move house and don’t buy a new TV each time. So use the calculator as a guide on how high to mount a TV and just keep the size of it in mind when you’re planning to mount one in your space.

wall mounted tv above white entertainment unit

via Catch

3. Choosing the Right TV Mount

Right, that’s the question of how high to mount a TV answered. But we’re not done yet. There’s actually a huge variety of TV mounts on the market so we need to discuss this element as well. Generally speaking, they work across multiple brands and models. Thankfully there are only two main things you need to think about when choosing which is right for your TV: viewing angle and size.

Viewing Angle

If you watch the TV directly across from where it is mounted, this one’s easy. You will want either a fixed mount, or one with a tilt. The tilt option is great if you like your TV up. Personally, I like my TV fairly low in the room – about eye level from where I sit on the lounge – so a flat mount that doesn’t move works well.

If your TV is in a corner or you want the option to move it around to suit where you are in the room, you’ll need a full motion wall mount. These look a bit like robot arms and allow your TV to change angles. The range they allow your TV to move varies so check out the product specs or talk to someone at your local electronics store.

Size

Mounts can usually only hold a TV within a particular size range. One might say 22″ – 55″, another 42″ – 80″. As long as your TV fits within the range, you should be fine (but double check with the TV manufacturer if you’re unsure).

wall mounted tv above white and timber rustic entertainment unit

via Wayfair

4. What Lies Beneath

Once you’ve figured out how high to mount a TV, you have to consider the entertainment unit underneath and how it relates to the TV above.

The entertainment unit serves some practical purposes, like hiding away power points and the antenna outlet, as well as housing things like Foxtel boxes or Playstations. It can also be used as a place for a bit of decorating and styling (now we’re talking!) so keep that in mind too. Mount your TV too low, and anything you sit on the furniture below will sit uncomfortably close to the screen. Too high and you’ll have a hard time finding objects that fill the space adequately.

As a rule, I would not leave any taller a gap between TV and entertainment unit than in the image above. 

wall mounted tv height above white entertainment unit blue wall

via Freshome

5. Future Proofing is Essential

As much as you can, plan for the future. Technology changes faster than ever and if you’re spending money to get your TV mounted now, you might as well prepare for the future, as much as you can.

A few things to consider:

  • Don’t go for the cheapest mount. Your TV likely cost many hundreds, maybe thousands, of dollars. Do you want it hanging on a $35 piece of metal? Invest a little more and it should last longer.
  • Buy the biggest mount you can afford so that if you up your TV size it will hopefully fit the existing mount.
  • When cabling through the wall, put in at least 4 HDMI cables (even if your TV doesn’t take that many). Four is standard for new TVs. You might not need or be able to use that many today, but your next tele might allow more. Or you might buy a new game console and have nowhere to plug it in.
  • If you do run out of HDMI cables, don’t stress. Buy an HDMI switch and you can allow one cable to connect to multiple devices

Thinking as a designer, you don’t want the TV to dominate the space, even if it is technically a good size for the room. So buy the biggest you can afford that works in the space, but not the absolute largest that will fit.

Hopefully you now have a better idea about what height to mount a TV at your place. Shout out in the comments section below if you have any questions you need answered.

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He's also spent time on TV, on Channel 10's Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7's Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you'd like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

COMMENTS
  • Tina B

    REPLY

    Sadly a little too late for me, my TVs are mounted (possibly a little too high). Alas… however I loved the last TV unit from Freshome. Where is this – I would love this under my too TV – help please Chris!

    1 July, 2020
  • Megan

    REPLY

    Great article thanks Chris. Our TV niche is enormous – nearly three metres long. What are your thoughts on a long piece of furniture underneath the TV and then how to style it?

    6 July, 2020
  • Claire Stannard

    REPLY

    Hi Chris. This info is super helpful, thanks! I was wondering if you have any advice on mounting a tv above a fireplace as many examples I’ve seen seem to show the tv mounted way too high. Would love some inspiration / advice on this as am thinking a side by side arrangement may work better and could look fab in an open planning living area. Thanks!!!

    21 July, 2020
  • Vicki

    REPLY

    Great tips! We just moved and are looking to mount tv so this very helpful. We are getting new decor as well and love your top photo with the floating shelf and ottoman underneath. Can you share where the picture came from or where to look for some of these items?

    4 August, 2020
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