Monday, December 21, 2009

TV over mantel: yes or no?




Or this, yes or no?



HERE's more on the topic over at AT.

113 comments:

my little apartment said...

ugh, barf, no I hate it.

Amy said...

no! over the mantel is usually too high for comfortable tv watching...i hate to feel like i'm in the front row at the movie theater.

honey living said...

you know, i have mixed feelings about this one. my feeling is this, ultimately.

if the room with your fireplace is a TV room, then i say go for it, it just makes good sense, and putting somewhere else often creates a strain either visually or design-wise.

but if it's a room that generally has not been a TV room, and is more of a living room where you talk, listen to music, take naps by the fire, etc...then i think putting a TV there simply because you have the real estate could change the vibe of the room and turn it into a second TV room. to me, that would be a shame. unless that's what what you want, of course...

Anonymous said...

I've never been in a house that did this, but I imagine I'd feel a little idiotic, looking up at a TV that high. Is it really "classier" than putting it on an articulated arm in a corner of the room, like hospitals or prisons do?

Iheartfashion said...

NO

reclamationdesign@yahoo.com said...

You know, I never understood how people could do that. I know it is probably often a very convenient location, but no way could I spoil the ambience of a fireplace by placing a television over the mantel.

GL said...

No, no, no, no. I hate it. I think it spoils any room. TVs should never be seen. Ever.

Anonymous said...

No. Tacky (and too high for comfortable viewing). The technique and the technology could be out of date long before you can (afford to) change the rest of the room.

laurencorbyn said...

Usually no, because it's too high! You've gotta think about what's reasonable for your neck. I think Best Buy or CNET have guides to optimal viewing height on their websites.

Nikki said...

I say no. It's too high and can be overpowering. Of course it depends on how big the tv is too. After making this mistake, we switched ours to the opposite wall and it is at a much better height and breaks up the focal point in the room.

Denise Smith said...

No

Emily said...

NO! I hate it. It's like "we don't even pretend to care about art anymore, just humongous TVs that suck all the light out of the room."

OK, so you've touched on one of my biggest pet peeves...

But what's the point of even having it over the mantel? Why not put on one of those "real fire" DVDs and get all cheeky and postmodern and get it over with? I think it's really garish.

An Aesthete's Lament said...

I've got to admit, in a room dedicated to private family gatherings (ie NOT the living room), I don't mind this solution. I don't fully accept it either, but I don't mind it. One can't hide the thing in an armoire, because of ventilation requirements, etc. So why not mount it over the mantel?

SFDC said...

No!

Erika said...

No - hurts neck.

Decorina said...

No. It is an uncomfortable angle for viewing - unless you are over 9 feet tall and, frankly, looks like a giant black hole. Just no.

DesignAddict said...

No. It is a very uncomfortable angle for regular TV watching --unless one watches tv standing up or completely stretched out on the couch, which means you are watching alone. I appreciate the design style of it, but form (or in this case, decor) needs to follow function. I would never do it, unless my fireplace mantel was chest height or below (and I am under 5'2").

ArchitectDesign™ said...

as most rooms with a fireplace generally have no other wall to place a tv -it's the logical place.Plus -i hate to have 2 competing focal points in the same room. It seems we often have clients wanting to 'hide' the tv though -which I really don't undrestand.
You have a tv -you don't need to hide it -we all have one! I know they make some now that look like a mirror when they are turned off, but the picture isn't as clear.

milly (elephants&redwoods) said...

I don't know!!! But I think I agree with Honey Living.

Decorno said...

"It's like 'we don't even pretend to care about art anymore, just humongous TVs that suck all the light out of the room.'"


This is funny. It's silly to think that Art (capital A) needs to go over the fireplace. There are a lot of places to put art in a home.

We are totally going to do this in our house. Why? Because the f-ing TV is taking up floor space in a very awkward way and I want a better seating arrangement. Putting the TV there will actually allow for better conversations and general (non-TV) hanging out in the front room.

I think it's so old fashioned to think that TV is this ruinous element in home decor. Yes, the angle of viewing isn't ideal above the fireplace, but I am not usually actively *watching* it when it's on. I am usually just trying to listen to catch bitchy highlights of Real Housewives. I don't need to keep our art over the fireplace to get credit for owning it and appreciating it.

Decorno said...

This thread (which is fun, BTW) reminds me of this post:

http://decorno.blogspot.com/2008/06/high-shine.html

From the article in the Times:

“The clients did have a few more-mundane needs. They’re news junkies, so “there are, I think, eleven televisions. They disappear into slots all over the apartment,” says Turett, who even installed them in the bathrooms and the husband’s closet. “I remember asking them, ‘Don’t you want a bookcase somewhere?’ And they said, ‘We don’t need to have books out. We know that we know how to read.’ 


Love it.

little augury said...

It does seem appropriate that the tv be ensconced in an altar of sorts. I'd rather just see it propped up on someone's lap or on their stomachs in bed, or on a tv stand- an interesting alternative might be a painting of a tv.

Anonymous said...

Along the same lines as the eleven-TV people who keep their books stowed:

I was just in an apt. in which there was not one book (it's transition housing; the host's books are in storage). Cannot tell you how relaxing that apartment felt.

I'm sorry, but there it is.

Lyndsey said...

Oh, we all watch TV. In fact, I would venture a guess that many of you *gasp* might even have scheduled programs that you watch. Embrace the shame. The TV is here to stay for a while.

If it makes the most logical sense for the space, put the TV over the mantle...I did. I've been far happier not having it taking up an awkward corner of the room on an even more awkward piece of furniture. It opened up a lot of space for me, and was the most reasonable wall and location to hang it.

It's a perfectly comfortable height to watch, assuming your viewing spot isn't two feet in front of the TV (And if so, that's just weird. Get your eyes checked).

ACL said...

yes, if you can cover it with one of those clever sliding picture frames!

CindyinSC said...

My house was built in 2006 with an alcove over the fireplace for a TV in the family room. It is very practical and I paid extra for pretty hinged doors to hide it but they are rarely used. And my neck never hurts - I am 5' 8 but my ass sits in a standard-height chair when I'm watching TV.

Anonymous said...

"i hate to have 2 competing focal points in the same room."

This brings up a question I've wondered about: Is the "focal point" thing a relatively new development/requirement? I look at tons of old rooms and there are no focal points, or multiple ones, or things you could argue either are or are not be focal points... Do you have to have one? And only one?

Anonymous said...

I'd prefer to avoid it if any other practical option exists, mainly because the height is awkward.

If you have an open plan and you can see the TV from the work areas of the kitchen, the height is fine. But I live in a neighborhood of older, small homes with small living areas, forcing the seating to be too close to the fireplace for comfortable TV viewing. Also, in older homes, you have all the wiring to contemplate. You need to get those wires in the wall and to a cabinet housing the DVD, cable box- in my case, this would be a rather expensive project. And, the technology is moving towards wireless with all controls via the computer hardrive, so it's a tricky decision whether to incur this expense now or wait for the next evolution of technology. A cabinet maker I know that works with developers is no longer even being asked to build cabinets near the TV destination - everything is going clean lined with TV's expected to be adjacent to the fireplace and rooms proportioned accordingly - wires are going in the walls but it's expected to go wireless and the main concern is having a computer near the TV to control what you're watching.

Amy said...

No way. I never understood the people who don't want a TV to be visible "ever" because everyone knows people watch TV and there's one in the room, but no one wants to break their neck to look at it.

An Aesthete's Lament said...

After reviewing the other comments, I honestly didn't think about the angle of viewing. However, the angle's about the same as being in a movie theatre, no? Sort of? (This is coming from someone who doesn't even have a television, mind you.)

Nikki said...

Decorno, you can adjust the hanging rack to angle downward so viewing isn't really a problem. Just make sure your husband doesn't make you help him hang it while you have the flu...

Anonymous said...

capital "N" to the capital "O". so ugly.

Jennifer said...

Amen Decorno. We have a pretty small apartment with only one real living area and the truth is, we watch tv. A lot of it.

I considered hiding the tv in a guest room, but then we'd be squirreled away in a small room, sitting on a bed and not enjoying our gorgeous fireplace. So our mongo-sized tv is centered over our fireplace.

I am sure the design gods would roll over if they saw it, but ultimately I'd rather just spend time in the pretty room and our family ain't going to stop watching the tube anytime soon. Sometimes you just gotta design for the way you live.

Colleen said...

This is where we put ours...in the family room over the fireplace. It is on an arm where it tips downward a bit. It's not too high and because one wall is french doors leading out to the back yard, another wall has glass french doors leading into the kitchen and one wall is an open doorway leading into the entry hall...this was our only option. It works for us and I have absolutely no regrets!

Paisley said...

I must admit, ours is over the fireplace. The arrangement and flow of the room just wouldn't work any other way. Also, we live in Texas so we don't EVER use the fireplace. I actually like it. Our mantel is not high and the couch is far enough back that it doesn't feel like you're straining your neck. If it makes sense for you, do it!

Katie said...

I have to agree - it's old-fashioned to feel otherwise. Many older homes (i.e., mine) usually have only one room for "living" (the thought!) and are long and narrow. If there is also a fireplace in the living room (i.e., mine) you're not left with many options for couch placement where you can easily view a TV and the fireplace, unless that TV is above the fireplace.

Anonymous said...

NO. ugs and neck cramps.

magnaverde said...

Why not? What's the big deal? I keep hearing people say they don't want a TV in their living rooms--"That's why we have a TV room!" but then they complain that no one ever uses the living room. I love Bunny Williams' common-sense answer to that non-problem. "If you want people to use your living room, put a TV in it." Anyway, I'm glad to hear three of my favorite bloggers are in more-or-less agreement. Stephan makes a great point about the undesirability of having two competing focal points in one room, although, really, that only seems like a competition. If you don't believe me, light a fire, turn on the TV & see which one your family watches.

Besides, it's better to see a Duchampian black screen over the mantel any day than some of the cheesy (or pretentious) crap I see hung as Art these days.

Me, I'm finessing the whole TV-vs--fireplace issue: in my new apartment, the TV will be IN the fireplace. Stay tuned.

home before dark said...

I, like others, find the neck position annoying. I have never have gotten over having to watch ET in the front row with my, then young, son.

I chose not to put the TV in the living room. Ours is upstairs in what used to be the master bedroom. It's not an overly large room. A 42' flat screen was as large as the room would allow. I put it on a reproduction English writing desk out in the open. Works for me. House Beautiful Dec./Jan issue did a nice overview on this topic. I think Grant Gibson's putting a black flat screen in front of black pocket doors was stylish, practical and out in the open.

Katherine Lee said...

i agree with honey living. if it's a den-like room where TV is watched a lot, then fine. otherwise, i think i'd chuck it.

xo katherine aka. urban flea :)
http://www.urbanfleadesign.net

jen said...

I think it can work if that's your only option, but I hate how you have to have the TV so high up on the wall. I get a crick in my neck watching it that way.

juniperberry said...

I own one TV, and it is in our living room. I don't mind TVs over fireplaces, if that is the most logical place for it, then so be it! What I hate more are all the fricking wires to the DVD, Playstation, modem, computer, speakers, etc. Please God tell me how to make THAT look good, and I will kiss your feet. Right now the top of our entertainment center looks like Best Buy took a crap on it.

gayhooker said...

YES! Everything looks so much bigger from that angle...

Anita Davis said...

my friend has her tv above her (gas) fireplace. she also has a nice sectional. it is the coziest, best room in the world! i LOVE being there watching a movie (or Housewives!)

Anonymous said...

I personally don't think a tv placed that high is feasable for a comfy night of Madagascar 2 viewing. But if it's your only choice, go for it.

I hate when decorating snobs act like people should trash their tv's for the sake of decor. The flow of a room is not going to replace Michael Scott's antics. No way, no how.

Andrea V.@ allthetrappings.blogspot.com said...

Ahhh, the tele. The albatross of the design-world....

From an aesthetics standpoint, no. I mean, you can't even arrange anything on your mantel to make it look nice! It still looks like a gaping hole, even if you make is real purty with that english-ivy you got from Kirklands. {a joke, Decorno. A joke}

If it's your only option and it's truly the only place that you can have it in the room, then I guess it's just a necessary evil. They do make those fanceayy frames and canvases that hide the tv....which I know you just said is dumb, but it's a good solution. Or they make motorized, wall-hung cabinets that can conceal the tv. (I looked for a link, but can't find one!)

**now, I don't watch tv. Not at all. Don't even have cable any more.........our tv's (2) haven't been turned on in months. We watch movies in the basement on the projector screen, so we're not complete aliens, but tv is not a large part of our lives.

Andrea

Bailey @ peppermintbliss said...

I usually hate it, it's like the old world of entertainment and family values (i.e. snuggling by the fire) colliding with the new world of entertainment and reality TV...However, in rooms where it is necessary, you just gotta do it. I think there are ways to make it look better (framing it out, covering it with a tapestry when it isnt in use) but if you need it in the room, you just have to bite the bullet.

aquirkydelight said...

There's no other place in my apartment to put the damned TV! It's just wonky anywhere else. Plus my fireplace hasn't worked since 1927 or so, so it's not like the TV's distracting from the roaring fire.

pictures here: http://aquirkydelight.wordpress.com/2009/11/05/rookie/

Stevie said...

I really don't like having the TV as the focal point of the room. Maybe if it's in a separate TV room, or if there is limited space and you don't want to use extra space with a large TV unit. But for the most part, I think it looks really bad.

Ann Ever said...

No.

Anonymous said...

"Stephan makes a great point about the undesirability of having two competing focal points in one room"

Magnaverde, surprised to hear you say that. In the O at Home piece about your apartment, you said: "Let people find their own focal point."

Anonymous said...

Dear Decorno,
Just curious, why do you call it a "front room"? Is it a regional/Seattle thing? My grandma lives there and always called it a front room as did my dad, or is a generational thing?
Happy holidays!!

Decorno said...

Hmm. Good question. I think it must be a regional thing, or a working-class thing. I grew up in Portland, OR where you say "pop" (for soda) and couch, no sofa. We'd say both living room or front room. I am kinda 50/50 on which term I use. I tend to say front room now because I don't think of the front room as a living room. I don't know why. I think we do more living in the man cave, where the Mad Men magic happens, and where we join Colbert Nation every night.

home before dark said...

Magnaverde, you are teasing us. First you drop the bomb: a new apartment! (New worlds to conquer. A new persona to try out?) Then you say you will put your tv IN your fireplace. OK. I can see that.

What I am really curious about in a very untechno-geeky kind of way is the abra cadabra way you plan to handle the wiring mess which juniperberry expressed so vividly. I put a skirt under my table (don't ask; wasn't fun or easy) and used black metro table for ventilation for the equipment hell hole. I have nagging doubts about the wisdom, fire safety, etc., etc. etc. But like Martin Luther, "Here I stand, I could do other."

MoreSkinnyDays said...

The first room as too much going on as it is, dining room, living room, TV room. I like that the second option on AT has a grate to cover when not in use. I agree with honey living about not adding a TV to a room. I'm torn between this is too contrived and how can I be critical when people are still using giant armoires or have cables crawling out from behind the television.

operaglass said...

No!

Richie Designs said...

too high, neck hurts

DesignAddict said...

My issue is NOT with hiding a tv or making judgements about people who have them over the mantel instead of art. I don't think the tv over the mantel is ugly. I think it would not function well and frankly, something I use every.single.day damn well better function well and be comfortable. My tv stands don't have doors. Why? Because they would never be closed..between the husband, the kid and me...it would just be an irritant. Over the fireplace would drive ME nuts, but if it works for you, have at it. I am all for the pretty in design, but I am more for the practical, then the pretty and if I can get some really pretty and fantastically practical...well, it's a party, people! By the way, I think the tv in the fireplace is kind of genius, especially if you are not a frequent tv watcher, but want one nevertheless.

Anonymous said...

Magnaverde, I recalled that last year you posted:

"Actually, TV has no effect at all on me--good or bad--because I don't watch it."

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/decor/msg1123532824795.html

I see you've come around: a TV in the fireplace is brilliant. Happy viewing in the new apartment.

Anonymous said...

In our previous home we had the the tv mounted over the 2 story brick fireplace in our 2 story family room. Hated it!!! It killed my neck we thought we would get a mantle installed because we had cable wires, dvd, wire, etc. wrapped around the brick and it look tacky. In our new place we have a fireplace and mantle but I opted to purchase a buffet/dresser like item and put the flat screen, Tivo Player and a lamp on it and its more functional. All the wires looked a mess on the mantle not to mention all the other connections (tivo wireless adapter, etc) just a lot of stuff we needed to hide. We did end up going with a tv/dvd combo though. It was just too much of a hassle otherwise. In the next place I would again not mount over the fireplace again, but would get the swivel arm and a console or dresser. Its great for storage. I saw in some design mag where the designer used 3 IKEA MALM dressers as a console and it was a good idea.

Anonymous said...

I don't like it in the fireplace. It doesn't feel right.

Snowiye said...

That would be a no for me, because I have never seen it done right. Lots of our friends have TVs over the mantel, and they are all so uncomfortable to watch.

Like in your first pic, it's too high, and too low in the second (technically that TV is IN the fireplace itself, which is just weird for me, not to mention what a waste of that lovely fireplace *sobs*)

I don't have a problems with TVs and how they much always ALWAYS be hidden from view. That's just unrealistic for me and DH. I like TVs on media stands. =)

Debra said...

Above the fireplace only if you have one of those double recliners with pouches :), as for in the fireplace, that's kind of genius, finally something to do with the big black hole that is not polluting the skies.

magnaverde said...

[Aside to Anon 1:15--Did I say that? Oh, well. As Ralph Waldo Emerson syas, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."


And to Home Before Dark: the issue of heat and/or cords isn't an issue at all if you don't watch it. I was given the current beast by some very kind new friends who heard through the grapoevine that I was sans TV & who, not knowing that, since I hadn't owned a TV since 1983, I was probably OK with that fact, took pity on me & bought me one. I don't have cable, I've never watched a single broadcast show and now that you need some sort of special gizmo to see it at all, my guess its I won't be watching much of anything. But it's there, so that, if they ever rerun the Diana Rigg Bleak House, I'll be ready. Anyway, HBD, one of these days, after I get the new place put together, you'll see the TV. Or you won't see it. Or whatever.]

sketch42 said...

I think there is nothing less cool or classy than people who feel the need to hide their TVs.... I dont mind if its in a cabinet but that sliding picture frame thing is so wrong.... So candice olsen on divine design.

Nothing wrong with having your TV show, all the time, especially if you want to use the room and like TV. My in laws had a living room with a fireplace and a den with a TV and a fireplace. They never used the living room until they put a TV over it...

Anonymous said...

NO
NO
NO
NO
N O
NO
NOOOOOOOO

but i love you decorno

home before dark said...

Magnaverde: I am very much looking forward to the next edition of your magic. By the way, I really meant what I said over at EEEs. I think you gentlemen would have an incredible show to LISTEN to. TV not required for viewing! Have a wonderful holiday.

Karen@StrictlySimpleStyle said...

Hate the tv in the area where the fire should go. I am also not a fan of the tv over the mantle. That area should be reserved for something a little more special than a black rectangle. Just my opinion!

mlessirard said...

For a year our TV sat at normal height, then we hung is up over the fireplace. Love it. Good news our room has depth + height [20' vaulted]; we don't crane our necks to watch the tube and it looks great.

modernemama said...

No - it looks awful, it's impossible to watch comfortably and if you change your mind about furniture placement it's a bugger to move

big boy said...

It is always trashy to see the television, when not in use.

Anonymous said...

I use my television merely to store my harpsichord and my first edition of The Sorrows of Young Werther.

Ivy Lane said...

No, and No!.... Art or Mirror..and always fire!

Shelley said...

hey what about a "mirror tv"??

look here:

http://www.hiddentelevision.com/

I see Candice Olson on Divine Design using these mirror tv's all the time.

Marija @ Holding Court said...

I am clearly in the minority but I feel strongly about this: in most homes there is no other option and it shouldn't be looked at as "bad design". Sometimes it's the best layout. I do many projects in Chicago highrises and often the fireplace wall is the only "wall" in a room. In my own home, we have a tv in the front room of our house even though I barely watch it. But when I do, I like to be sitting in a room I actually like so our t.v. is in my favorite room. If there was a fireplace on that wall, it would still be there. (I will admit that when we watch bad reality tv and it's visible from the street, my husband is slightly horrified!)

BTW, I've found the neck craning thing happens mostly if the fireplace box is elevated. Otherwise, you can get it low enough for comfy viewing...

Anonymous said...

No. Very ugly and too high to view without irritation and pain.

Charlotte said...

If you have the luxury of space, absolutely not! But if you are like our friends who had the 12.6 x 12.9 living room and wanted to know if they should stack their books as coffee tables, why not? I always go with the lesser of two evils.

Kwana said...

This has been a no for me for 4 years but now it's feeling like a yes. I want to enjoy my fireplace and my tv while sitting with my husband in the winter. So I'm thinking about it. I have a mirror over the fire place that is just there and art in other places. I think we will enjoy the room more this way.

Anonymous said...

"It's always so trashy to see see a TV when not in use."

Really? A TV? Don't you mean a tampon or a dildo or kiddie porn? Get real.

Anonymous said...

I live on a little ranch in Texas and we have our TV in a huge old fireplace that we do not use. It makes perfect sense to have it in the center of the brick wall framed by the bookcases. I like it so much I wonder why we did not do it in the other homes we have lived.

Mounting a TV on the wall as the main focal point at an eye level that is not for normal folks...well that is just plum dumb. analisa in Texas

Anonymous said...

"I've never watched a single broadcast show"

Translation: "I've got Internet porn. What do I need TV for?"

Supabloggasuprememama said...

NO. ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!!

joanny said...

I rather have it over the fireplace then in the fireplace.... but what ever floats their boat..

I would image it would be hard to see the television that low on the ground..

Over - Under To low - to high should be taken into consideration before placing these big screen t.v.

Joanny
The Dowser's Daughter

Sacheverelle said...

Mehh and NO! The over the mantel TV is ok I guess, but I'd prefer to keep the two focal points separate.
That hideaway fireplace is just asenine. If you are really that concerned about hiding your big-ass TV you better try a bit harder than that. I dunno why you'd bother..

Anonymous said...

Never ever either. Never. Ever.

Anon.

Katie said...

Ugly? Trashy? Hate it?

Seriously?

I'm dumbfounded. Who knew this was such an emotional topic. I've watched TV like this in my (only) living room for over a year now and have not had one pain or irritation.

Hello Lover... said...

Decorno- I am 100% with you on this one - my tv has been over the fireplace since the week we got it and I love it there! I did a whole post on it on my blog.

For starters most of these people that say this is trashy, tacky, blah blah blah etc are kidding themselves. Myself, my husband and most people I know like to sit around and watch TV in their home. I really love TV. And in our home it happens to be the most convenient place to have it. We have a small city condo and do not have a separate living room and family room. The large majority of the time we spend sitting in our family room is spent watching tv, so why not put it where it's most convenient for you.

On another note, not all fireplaces are set very high, ours sits at a very comfortably height for us and I am only 5'2" and no I do not stand to watch tv.

And my final note, I really don't think that many people spend that much time staring at the fireplace or staring at 1 piece of art that you're truly ruining some mantel for art or the ambience of a fireplace.

That is all.

Anonymous said...

I like it! It is practical and makes sense. The man is happy he has a big screen and the lady is happy it isn't taking up space on the floor. Go For It DECORNO!

Anonymous said...

it's not so much that you need to hide the TV, it's not some dirty secret, but I think people keep getting bigger and bigger TVs in spaces that aren't big enough to support them. Then you put them up on this mantel/altar and the first thing people say when they walk in the room is, "whoa, nice TV." I don't pretend to be above TV - but it just seems like we're putting the TV above everything else - literally and figuratively. Yuck.

Miss Kitty said...

Just found your blog, and love it! And I'm so glad you posted on this topic.

I say NO to both TV options. If you're going to have one, put it in a cabinet, preferably built-in/built-in-looking. Use a fireplace for fire (whether wood, gas logs, or just candles), and a mantel for displaying photos, knick-knacks, and so on.

Over the years, I've found that if there's a TV anywhere in the room in plain view, someone's going to switch it on, whether or not you actually want them to. In our culture, TV's a soft addiction, an excuse for people not to talk to one another or really get to know each other. Hide it, and that way your guests MUST talk to one another (unless you're throwing a movie marathon party or a Super Bowl get-together). If you want TV when it's just you and your family, then you know where it is. :-)

I don't have a TV, but I watch shows and films via Internet. My 24" monitor stays in a computer cabinet when I'm not using the computer.

Sorry for the rant--this is a topic near & dear to my heart. :-)

atlanticart said...

I haven't seen anyone mention color but I only skimmed the 90 responses. I learned in art school that your eye goes to the area of strongest contrast. In the top photo, the white wall makes the TV look like a black hole bigger than that on the fireplace. It you painted that back wall (including behind the shelves) a dark gray like the color found in the damask print or a dark brown like the table and chairs, the impact of the screen above the fireplace would be extremely diminished. It would also bring your eye to the beautiful collection of pottery on the shelves.

Now, the bottom photo...that's just wrong!!

Holly said...

No need to hide the TV -- they are part of how we live -- but I vote no. Too high for decent viewing. And a gaping black hole when not on. Interesting art is available in many price ranges. Get some! Or a beautiful mirror. The bottom option is bizarre. How do you watch that one? On the floor? We do that, too, for movies, but not the news. If it's a nonworking fireplace, add a beautiful screen or plant.

The Blasphemous Fiendess said...

I completely agree with atlanaticart. And...good design has to accomodate how people live.

Hanako66 said...

yes for over and/or under. we all love and watch tv...don't hide it...we love our flat screens and just pop a fire or artwork dvd in when we have company over.

Megan said...

No. bad.

Renate said...

No, and no - but less hideous than option one. Putting the TV in the fireplace gives you the option of putting on one of those 'buning logfire' dvd's and hoping no-one notices.

Amy said...

No No No

I've always been against the tv over fireplace thing. I don't understand why everything in a room has to be focused on one point!

I think TVs are important enough, at least in my life, that they don't need to be hidden or covered. They need their own area, expecially with all the wiring, etc. I think putting a tv adjacent or on a perpendicular wall to the fireplace works best, at least in my home.

On another note, I thought the rule was that if a fireplace is used regularly, you shouldn't even put artwork over the mantle. The soot can damage the painting. Any thoughts?

Lolo said...

We've got awkward placing issue too and I vote for what works for YOU. Period. The "television is trashy" brigade are nutters.

I met a patchoulie soaked crunchie at a B&B who was amazed that my girlfriend and I had 4 year olds who knew their alphabet and could read at a rudimentary level. "Our son is five and still doesn't read!" We asked her "Don't you get Sesame Street?" and then laughed at the horrified look of disdain as she reared back from us.

Anonymous said...

Came up empty searching Flickr for pleasing examples of TV's and fireplaces in the same room. Julianne Moore's NYC home has a beautiful example in a kitchen and living room - both cases the TV is adjacent to the fireplace, but I can't remember where I saw that.

Please post your photos when done and let us know the cost of the wiring. (I am assuming you are not going to have wiring running along your mantel as some of the posters say they do - that would be a no-go for me).

Things That Inspire said...

We are in the process of designing a house, and the tv placement in the family room has been a real challenge! When there is a fireplace and a tv in the same room, as well as windows and a view, it is hard to find places for everything. Initially I was dead set against the tv above the mantel, but when I saw the alternative placement options (which would either break up a wall that has great views, and should be all windows, or be on a wall where there would be a ton of glare and would compete with the 'view' on the other side), a tv above the fireplace started to sound like the best option.

I had started a post on this topic before I saw your post just now....not sure if I will go through with it, but if I do I will certainly direct people over here for additional data!

Great post, Decorno. Merry Christmas!

Lydia said...

Hey Lolo--
It's been said that Sesame Street helps inculcate the short attention span which afflicts many kids.
Seems to me that if you grow up with adults who value education that you are more likely to do so and do better in school, no matter what school is like. That's a generalization, and of course some kids don't get that message, and some schools fail others who do, but someone has to nourish kids' innate curiosity.
I believe that Sesame Street, Zoom, and other PBS kids shows have been doing that, even though there are no numbers that demonstrate their effectiveness that I know of. Still, it's clearly an uphill battle for kids with learning disabilities, or who have parents who have no curiosity left, or whose classrooms are riotous much of the time.

Anonymous said...

a yes only in suburban America

Anonymous said...

I have been to many houses where above the mantle the TV was at an uncomfortable angle, sometimes there was other alternatives, but if it is your only option? we had the same issue when we moved into a new house with lots of windows and open walls, I opted to put my TV in the corner between my fireplace and the wall of windows on a custom made furniture piece. it was just too high to put it above the mantle anyway. You gotta do what is practical for you.

jean said...

I don't like the height. Also wouldn't want to see a TV in such a critical visual spot (okay, focal point) in a room. I just don't think they're visually attractive, and this is about decor, right? Also, if it's on, it'll kill any conversation in the room, muted or not.

In the top photo the two black blocks (fireplace and tv) suck the energy from the room. Don't like the TV in the fireplace hearth.

I love Atlanticart's suggestion, though.

Anonymous said...

A tv over the mantel is a little like wearing white socks...

Sharon Dowell said...

Nope to either. Kill your tvs!

Anonymous said...

There are two issues at play here. 1. the ugly and unsightly competing with a beautiful room. I would encourage you to consider mounting the tv in a cabinet adjacent to the fireplace (if it works with the layout of the space) or on an opposite wall.
2. the fact that mounting a tv over a fireplace is not the best for the tv. Most manufacturers will not honor their warranty or maintenance agreement if the tv is mounted over a heat source. the smoke and heat can adversely affect the components. You should read the mounting instructions to see what the model you are using states as its tolerances for mounting and heat.

Valerista said...

I have a fireplace but this didn't occur to me; the height of overmantel TVs really bothers me as a viewer. I put the television in an armoire with doors.

I don't think flat screen TVs are really that ugly or anything, but I like giant mirrors over fireplaces and fires inside them.

Anonymous said...

Covering your telly isn't a matter of hiding your shame in owning one. After all, there are still plenty of people who take pride in the size of their monster flatscreen. Bit if I'm gonna spend days agonizing over exactly how and where to hang mirrors and artwork why on earth would I just slap the tv over the fireplace? If your home is uber modern than it's ok, I guess. I prefer to keep ours stored in an amoire. But buy me a 63 inch plasma and see how quickly I change my mind.

Anonymous said...

When you live in a small apartment in NYC this is the best idea ever. I saw Kelly Geison on Open House NYC a while back and loved her ideas, so my boyfriend built this giant shelving unit that fills one wall holding all of our books, his 55 gallon fish tank centered at eye level above the "mantel" with the TV underneath it. Trick is that the TV is about 20" from the floor and its perfect viewing height when you're on the couch!

Anonymous said...

Tacky, tacky, trashy.

samia said...

Absolutely NOT!!.. That is a complete disaster.. it gives the impression of a room where things are not working out.. remote in the bowl or under the cushion or you knw.. fridge in the lounge sort of way.. NOT WORKING AT ALL..

Josh and Juli said...

I understand what people are saying about it being a bit tacky, but for us, we had no other option. We recently built a home with the big, open floor plan we've dreamed of. The problem? We have a piano. Well, with an open floor plan, there are far less walls to put things up against, which left me two choices: put a tv alcove above the fireplace, or put the piano in front of the stair railing so I can waste a whole wall for an entertainment center. We chose the "tacky" option. Sometimes, that's just life. Our room is huge, though, and the angle doesn't bother me - I usually just have it on while I'm cooking dinner and I'm not actually watching it with my eyes the whole time. Anyway, it works for us.