The TV vs. Fireplace Challenge. What is the focus?
So where do you place the TV in your main living space when you have a fireplace? Based on the research I have done (in addition to extensive television viewing), the proper mounting height for a TV, for viewing from a seated position, is at your seated eye level. Therefore, it is important that your TV location and home electronics are designed and planned for as part of your overall home design.
The location of the TV and the accompanying electronics need to be planned for. If you must have the TV above the fireplace get it as low as possible, which I suggest 50" maximum to the bottom of the TV from the floor. In this sketch I created (below), I have drawn a 48" wide x 32" high firebox and flush hearth (a flush hearth is also good to save floor space). The space between the firebox and the mantel is minimized. I set the TV back 6" from the front of the fireplace to keep the heat away from the TV.
The sides can be flanked with built-ins for additional storage, or the vertical element of the fireplace and TV can stand alone. Don't let a builder, mason or fireplace insert salesperson tell you where the firebox or TV should go. Consult with a home electronics specialist. Plan it through and think of the desired end result and furniture layout, then work backwards so you can avoid the mistake.
My opinion is that visible TVs are commonplace and not a visual eyesore. They are a part of life especially Smart TVs which are integrative and versatile than nonSmart TVs. If space allows, place the TV to the side of the fireplace. If you absolutely do not want a visible TV you can splurge on a motorized lift.
Julie Fergus, ASID, is a nationally published interior designer. Her studio and showroom is located in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. Julie's clients are primarily in the Lakes Region and Mount Washington Valley, however, she will travel throughout the state and North East. Visit her website for contact info.