I have conversations like this with friends all the time—more to come.
JTF: In addition to painting this white, I need to find a way to mount a TV to this brick and fully functional wood burning fireplace. My current thinking is a hollow mantle to hide cords?
I hate TVs. There is really nowhere else to put the damn thing.
me: I’m going to pretend you didn’t just say you’re painting this room white, and move right along to the TV question. I hate TVs too. And I get why mounting it above the fireplace feels right—but I want to talk you out of it anyway. It’s super common, but here are my biggest issues with that placement:
1. It’s always too high. What our necks really want is a tv right across from our face as we sit—that’s a good 4 feet lower than using the spot above the fireplace.
2. The fireplace is a natural focal point. It always brings architectural detail, and organic elements like brick or stone. It adds visual interest, and demands our attention. We’re compelled to put it there partly because it feels orderly to yield to its authority. But we don’t like TVs, so let’s not partner them with the focal point of the room. Give that fireplace all the attention and make the TV recede.
Let the room inspire calm human interaction even though watching tv may be the main activity happening there. You can arrange it so that people can comfortably watch tv, but that the room doesn’t announce “we watch tv here!”
Remember this living room? The 40” tv was on the second shelf up—on the left side. The next shelf up was left out to make room for the TV.
JTF: The previous owners put it on a credenza in front of the window on the right. That blocks the beautiful nature and view of the city at night. I'm afraid this may be our only option, Obiwonkanobe.
me: I love your sass, but there have to be a few furniture plan options that would give you what you want without putting it over the fireplace.
Consider a super low (like 12” tall) credenza. Sight lines through the window would not be so spoiled. Or floating in the room some other way.
It’s a trade-off. I have strong feelings about avoiding the tv-over-the-fireplace scenario, so that factor largely drives my space planning in living rooms.
Also—putting it so high on the wall makes your house look like a sports bar.
JTF: You make a strong case. I will go back to the drawing board.
me: Someimes I bury the lead.
I'm an artist and a serious introvert. I'm an interior designer and a writer. Let's talk about the golden rules of design. It's not about having "good taste." Let me unravel some of the mystery.