Interior expert reveals the common TV placement mistakes you're probably making

TV above white fireplace
TV above white fireplace (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Whether you enjoy binge-watching your favorite shows, movies or even gaming, every home needs its entertainment space. But even if you’ve spent a fortune on one of the best TVs, or best TV for gaming, knowing where to position it in any room can make all the difference — and cost you your viewing pleasure. 

According to interior designers, there are at least five places that are a no-go for your TV, and we’ve all been guilty of making these mistakes. Ranging from placing it in dangerous places or at the wrong distance, to having your Wi-Fi router underneath it, these can all impact the way you enjoy movies or games. 

And if you’re dealing with a compact room, or worried about the interior style, there are some clever ways to decorate around a TV, to make it less of an eyesore.

Before you do however, we spoke to Zara O’Hare, interior expert at Land of Rugs, to find out the 5 common mistakes with TV placement — and how to avoid them.  

1. Too high on the wall  

Family watching TV wall mounted

Family watching TV wall mounted (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you’ve ever been to the movies and sat right at the front, it’s not the greatest position when forced to gaze up at a giant screen. Not only does it take away the full viewing experience, but it can cause discomfort, making your neck feel stiff from looking up. The same principle applies to your TV screen, when wall-mounting at home. 

“Before you mount it on the wall, ensure it’s at a comfortable viewing height for where you’ll be sitting,” says O’Hare. “Avoid placing it too high, especially if your sofa is positioned very close to the screen. Otherwise, you might be in for a serious neck ache. Remember that some TVs have an optimal viewing angle for picture quality. Ideally, you want to be looking straight on at the screen.”

As a general rule of thumb, the center of your TV screen should always be at eye level. Experts advise measuring the eye level height of a person sitting, before using this height to mount your TV bracket. In addition, you’ll need to invest in one of the best TV wall mounts to suit every space and need. 

2. Too far away from your seating area 

Ratchet and Clank being played on a Sony TV.

Ratchet and Clank being played on a Sony TV. (Image credit: Sony)

Another common mistake is placing a TV too far or too close from the sofa or seating area. This can also impact the way you use it, and full enjoyment — plus, you don’t want to strain your eyes in doing so. And while this all depends on the size of your space, there are recommended viewing distances for 4K TVs. 

“You can sit further back if you’ve got a giant TV, but you’ll want to be a bit closer to small TVs. The recommended viewing distances for 4K TVs are:

 — 43-inch TV – approximately 3 feet

 —  49-inch TV – approximately 3 feet 

 — 55-inch TV – approximately 3 feet

 — 65-inch TV – approximately 4 feet

 — 75-inch TV – approximately 4.5 feet

 —  85-inch TV – approximately 5 feet

“Remember though, these are just recommendations and your personal preferences may vary. Therefore, it’s advisable to experiment with several TV and sofa positions before deciding where to stick it permanently. For the optimum viewing distance, you might want to use a TV distance calculator. It’ll tell you the ideal distance at which to position yourself based on the size of your screen.”

3. In direct sunlight  

Floating TV unit

Floating TV unit (Image credit: Shutterstock)

It’s always a nuisance when you get a horrible glare on your screen just as you’re enjoying a movie. One reason is from positioning your TV in or near direct sunlight — which isn’t ideal. What’s more, exposure to sunlight for long periods can actually do more harm than good for your TV. 

“Firstly, the screen glare can significantly impede your viewing experience. Additionally, prolonged exposure to strong sunlight can damage the internal components of your TV. If you’re using your TV outdoors or with the windows open in direct sunlight, it’s best to reposition the TV to give it some shade or protection.”

If you did want to watch summer flicks outdoors however, check our guide on how to make a backyard movie theatre

4. In front of your wireless router 

White router on table with TV behind

White router on table with TV behind (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Placing your TV near the router can weaken the signal strength

If you have one or more of the best streaming services for all the family, you’ll want to make sure you have a strong Wi-Fi signal at all times. After all, you don’t want your movie nights interrupted.

But, did you know that placing your TV near the router can weaken the signal strength? “Lots of people have their TV and the Wi-Fi router side-by-side, which makes sense. But sticking it right behind the TV, or even underneath, can mess with the signal strength. It might weaken the signal or even block it completely.” 

“Moving your router is usually the easiest solution. But if that’s a no-go and you’re suffering from poor Wi-Fi, then maybe think about finding a new spot for your TV.”

If you do want to upgrade your routers to fit your entertainment needs, you’ll want to invest in one of the best Wi-Fi routers for better performance and range. 

5. Right above the fire 

TV above white fireplace

TV above white fireplace (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Placing a TV above a mantel or fireplace is a convenient design option — especially if you lack floor space, but this is also a common TV placement mistake.

“A TV above the fireplace seems like a right winner: it’s nice and central and makes good use of that awkward bit of wall space. But hold on a minute. Placing your TV above your fireplace is an extremely bad idea. All that heat and smoke can damage your TV’s electronics. If you want your TV to last longer, keep it well away from the open fire.” 

In addition, interior experts advise it is much safer to mount a flatscreen to the wall rather than having it stand directly on the mantel. This will also eliminate the risk of it falling off! If wall-mounting isn’t an option, consider placing your TV on a stylish console, bookcase, or TV wall unit.  

More from Tom's Guide

Cynthia Lawrence
Content Editor, Homes

As the Homes Content Editor, Cynthia Lawrence covers all things homes, interior decorating, and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 

Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.

With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!

  • husky91
    I stopped reading at the distance from seating area section. 3 feet for a 43" TV and 5 feet for a TV 4X larger? Who would sit just 5 feet from an 85" TV? Well, I read it on the internet so it must be right!