Fireplace and TV: How to Balance Size for Optimal Viewing

Particularly when you have a small home, you want to make sure that you use the space as effectively as possible.

Interior design magazines always make it look so easy to create a beautiful atmosphere in a room with a cozy fireplace.

Should A Fireplace Be Bigger Than The TV? (Solved)

But where do you put your TV? And how big should your television be compared to your fireplace to ensure that your room looks still cozy?

We find out what size TV you can put above your fireplace, and what you need to look out when placing a television near a fireplace.

How Big Can Your TV Be Over A Fireplace?

As a rule of thumb, most interior designers recommend that your fireplace should be between six and eight inches bigger than your television.

Generally, the fireplace in a room should be bigger than the TV to create a more visually attractive focal point.

A television is often just a black flat screen which doesn’t look very appealing but a fireplace draws a lot more attention.

The most popular TV size is 55”. This size and anything smaller is an ideal size for a television that will end up above your fireplace.

You will also need to consider the viewing distance and viewing angle of your television to make sure that you can see the picture of the flat screen.

If your sofa, couch or chair is farther away than 6.5 feet from the television, then you may need a bigger TV to view the picture properly.

The exact size of your TV and your fireplace will also come down to what you want the focal point of the room to be. Traditionally, the fireplace was the focal point in rooms with open fires (see also ‘How To Start A Fire In A Fireplace‘). 

Tv and fireplace with white mantel

However, if you want your television to be more prominent than the fireplace, then you will need to make sure that your TV is bigger than the fireplace.

When it comes to choosing a focal point in your room, then it is a good idea to consider what you use must.

If you use your fireplace more often than your TV, then  the fireplace should be bigger.

While the design of your room is important, you should also not forget about the function and usability of both your fireplace and the television.

If you already have a TV which is bigger than your fireplace but you want your fireplace to be the focal point, then there are a few easy workarounds that will distract the eye away from the TV.

Depending on your room’s design, you may want to consider painting the wall behind the television black.

This will make the electrical device almost invisible, and the focal point moves to the fireplace that stands out.

If you don’t want to make the wall behind your TV so much darker, then you can also widen the fireplace trim.

This will make the fireplace look artificially bigger and draws the eyes there. 

Not all homes are big enough to install a bigger fireplace. If your fireplace won’t fit, then you can also consider a smaller type of heating source, such as a wood burning stove or an electric heater.

Whatever you decide to do, it is important that the TV itself isn’t wider than the wall, as this could throw the design off balance, and it may look awkward.

TV above fireplace with marble surround and wall

How Big Should Your Fireplace Be?

There is a vast range of different fireplaces on the market, and when it comes to choosing the right size, there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

The right size of your fireplace will depend on the size of your room and wall, as well as the paint, trim and mantel.

In addition, a fireplace puts out a lot of heat, which is great for heating a room, but this can also create a serious fire risk.

Wood burning fireplace. TV on wall above. Brown leather sofa. Red rug carpet. Small table in front of the fire. Book sshelving to one side. Large open doors with a view.

You will also need to think of any electrical devices that may be near the fireplace, as the majority of electrical appliances have temperature-sensitive components that might get damaged when exposed to greater heat than room temperature.

That’s why it is essential that you install a heat-resistant shield between your fireplace and the television mounted above the fireplace.

What Is The Minimum Distance Between A Television And A Fireplace?

Fire experts recommend a minimum distance of 20 inches between the TV and a fireplace.

You should also install a fire-resistant barrier to ensure that the television is protected from the excessive heat  emitted by the fireplace.

This will impact the viewing height of your television, and as mentioned above, it will also affect the important viewing angle.

The average viewing height of a TV is between 42” and 48” but this can vary depending on the height of your couch or chair and the viewing distance.

If the TV is either too high or too low, you will need to adjust the viewing height in order to make sure that you do not strain your neck.

TV above fireplace

The best way to find the right distance between your fireplace and the TV (as well as the correct viewing height) is to try it out.

First, check the television’s operating temperature in the manual. You will need this to ensure that your TV runs at its optimum temperature, so it doesn’t get damaged by the heat from the fireplace.

Then start your fireplace and wait until it reaches the temperature that you would normally need to heat your room.

Then set up a thermometer on the wall next to your television. Read the temperature and compare it with the TV’s normal operating temperature.

If it is too hot, then you need to move the television up. At the same time, you can also test the viewing angle to make sure that you can see the TV properly.

Gas burning fireplace, stone surround. TV above. Two red sofas either side and wood flooring.


There are a number of different things to consider when you want to mount your television of a fireplace.

Depending on your preference, you can make either your television or your fireplace a focal point. If  you prefer your TV to be the focal point of the room, then you need to make sure that it is around six to eight inches wider than the fireplace.

Stevie Morris