A dual-purpose entertainment center can be created by hanging a flat-screen above a mantel or on the face of a brick fireplace. The TV-hearth combination frees up valuable floor space. However, this combo poses some challenges to consider before doing so and requires a bit of research and extra care to get right.
Above your fireplace may seem like the ideal location for a TV, but fireplaces are more complicated than your standard drywall, so there are a few things everyone should absolutely be aware of before picking up the hammer.
We spoke to a handful of experts to get their insights on the best way to go about this cozy, dual-purpose entertainment center. Read on if you’re curious to find out the most aesthetically pleasing (and safe!) ways to mount a TV above a fireplace.
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Don't Overlook the Mounting System
The first thing you should be considering is the mounting system—now's not the time to cheap out or overlook where the studs are in your wall. Select a mounting system that is suitable for the weight of your TV and make sure to use a stud finder if you're not used to mounting such heavy items.Continue to 2 of 21 below.
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Understand the Material You're Working With
“All fireplaces are different and it is critical while mounting to understand the materials you are working with,” adds Jessica Neuman, Interior Designer at Numi Interior Design. “You don't want to damage the structure of your fireplace and as such, you’ll want to make sure you are working with someone who understands this material and knows how to approach them.”Continue to 3 of 21 below.
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Contain Your Fireplace Properly
Heat and electronics are typically not a great match so you want to ensure your TV is at a reasonably safe distance from any heat coming from your fireplace. “Make sure the heat from your fireplace is contained properly, whether you have a gas or electric fireplace you may have a glass door or air-tight doors you will want to keep your TV away from direct heat,” says Neuman. “Your TV should specify heat limits on its technical specifications. You will want to follow your manufacturer's instructions a bit more rigorously than normal here.”Continue to 4 of 21 below.
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Practical Power Sources Are Key
You'll want to ensure that you have a power source to suit your TV positioning, especially if your fireplace emits a lot of heat. You might want to consider calling an electrician to consult if you're worried about your power cables getting in the way of open flames or heat.Continue to 5 of 21 below.
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Avoid Visual Clutter
According to Neuman, the space around your fireplace should be as clean as possible since the TV and mantel will become the focal point of the room. That means this probably isn’t the space to display your photo memories or snowglobe collection!Continue to 6 of 21 below.
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Consider Plants and Other Accents
“If you are placing a regular TV over a fireplace, the element of focus should be the fireplace, and all other decor and design aspects should help emphasize it,” says Andre Kazimierski, CEO of Improovy. Consider adding some plants to offer a punch of color and life to the space.Continue to 7 of 21 below.
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Create a Social Space
Choosing a smart focal point in the room, like the fireplace entertainment area, is also a great way to create a multi-functional living area to promote conversation. Instead of making the television the sole focal point of the room, consider arranging your furniture in a way that will foster conversation rather than having all of your guests facing directly toward the TV.Continue to 8 of 21 below.
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Don’t Overlook the Aesthetic of Your TV Set
If you don’t like the dark, blank space a TV takes up, try getting one that display art when in sleep mode, like Samsung’s “The Frame” TV. “The Samsung Frame allows your TV to appear as a customizable art piece when you are not using it,” explains Kazimierski. “You can find a piece that inspires you and design the rest of the wall/fireplace around it, but I would still recommend using neutral paint on the wall in case you decide to change the art from time to time.”Continue to 9 of 21 below.
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Karen B. Wolf, Interior Designer at Karen B Wolf Interiors, suggests bringing in colorful artwork, throw pillows, and other more whimsical and bright accessories in order to brighten up a darker TV set/fireplace combination.Continue to 10 of 21 below.
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Opt for Folding Doors
Most television sets are not exactly built with design in mind, and as such can take away from the overall aesthetic of your room. If you're not ready to forego a TV, consider situating your set behind a set of cabinets. This will allow for easy viewing when you want to kick back and binge Netflix—but nobody will know you have a TV once the cabinet doors are closed.Continue to 11 of 21 below.
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Consider High-Tech Solutions
If you’re looking for a more high-tech solution, you can add a mechanized panel that rises and falls to hide and expose the screen with the touch of a remote-control button or even a projector that you can hide away when you’re not watching television.Continue to 12 of 21 below.
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Install a Lower Mantel
“Some people are apprehensive about mounting a TV above a fireplace as a result of craning their necks to gaze up at it not exactly at eye level,” says KD Reid of KD Reid Interiors. “If you have a contemporary fireplace or a low mantel, this is an exception, and is seen in new construction homes where they build it into the design plan.”Continue to 13 of 21 below.
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Hide the Cables and Wires
Nothing kills the vibe of a floating TV quite like a dangling mess of electrical wires and cable systems. It might not seem like the biggest detail, but hiding any wiring behind the wall is going to be well worth the extra planning and execution.Continue to 14 of 21 below.
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Adjust the Viewing Angle
It’s vital to consider the viewing height when placing a television—even if it is high above the fireplace. Televisions should be set at eye level, but that won't be feasible if you have a standard sized fireplace. If you're worried about neck strain, consider picking up a mounting system that allows you to adjust the angle for a more ergonomic viewing experience.Continue to 15 of 21 below.
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Fake It Until You Make It
Love the look of a fireplace entertainment center but don’t have a fireplace? No problem! Consider picking up an artificial mantel—although it won’t provide heat or the soothing sound of fire crackling it will still offer the same visual interest as a built-in unit.Continue to 16 of 21 below.
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Likewise, an electric fireplace is a great option for anyone who likes the visual appeal of a fireplace but who isn’t lucky enough to have a chimney at home. Electric fireplace units also typically offer a bit of warmth which can be more appealing than an artificial mantel.Continue to 17 of 21 below.
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Consider Putting Your TV in an Alcove
If you're designing your living room from the bottom and have the option to customize it as you see fit, consider placing your TV in an alcove or a recessed wall. Not only will this look much more modern than a typical fireplace it will also serve as an additional safety measure. Don't have the luxury of designing your space from scratch? You can always add more texture to the space by adding a couple of floating shelves or cabinetry.Continue to 18 of 21 below.
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Make an Accent Wall
“I would recommend painting the wall around the fireplace, and behind the TV, a neutral and bright color that matches the undertones or secondary colors of the fireplace to really make the fireplace be the main focus,” shares Kazimierski. “You usually can’t go wrong with white, light beige or light gray.”Continue to 19 of 21 below.
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Create a Modern Backsplash
Dealing with a dated fireplace structure? You don’t need to swap it out entirely in order to bring it up to your current standards. Consider building a board and batten wall around your mantel for an instantly more modern look.Continue to 20 of 21 below.
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Consider an Unconventional Placement
You’ll often see TV sets mounted directly above the fireplace—but there’s no hard and fast rule that says it has to be completely symmetrical. If you’re dealing with a small or unconventional space, consider placing the TV off to the side or diagonally above the fireplace to best suit your space.Continue to 21 of 21 below.
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Work With the Existing Structure
If you’re already working with an attractive original structure like a brick wall or accent stone, a whole lot of work has already been done for you—take advantage of it! Brick and stone accents offer an inherently cozy vibe and can always be painted or stained to match your aesthetic.