When it comes to making choices on how we display and decorate in our homes, we’re often left with a choice between what looks good and what is the most practical solution. Wood floors look great, but they probably aren’t the best choice for a mud room that sees almost as much dirt and water as your garage floor. Tile floors are great for this due to their durability and ease of cleanup, but you probably wouldn’t want them in every room of your house unless you REALLY were in love with all of those grout lines. The same idea holds true when decorating your walls. How many pictures or pieces of art should you hang on a wall? How high should you hang them, and how far apart? We run into these same situations with our electronics. Do we put them where we can show them off, hide them out of sight, or install them in the location that gives us the best experience?
When it comes to most electronics, one of the big questions clients always have for me is where’s the best place for all of their equipment? We’re talking about the cable box, Blu-Ray player, gaming systems, etc. My answer is almost always “where would you PREFER to put them?”. Do you want them out of sight or do you want to be able to see everything? Should they go in the cabinet to the left or the cabinet to the right? Like the drawers and cabinets in your kitchen, it’s entirely about what’s convenient for the client. But there is one trend that is starting to become the standard among homeowners, and even though you’ve seen it in dozens of your friend’s homes, IT’S THE WRONG CHOICE.
Think about that brand new, 60 inch, sleek, as thin as smooth as glass television that Santa somehow managed to get down that shoebox size chimney of yours. Where do you put it? Over the past several years, as televisions get thinner and lighter, more and more homeowners feel like the right thing to do is mount them over the fireplace. Why? Because it looks good!!! Well, that is until you sit down on your couch to watch your favorite show and realize jolly ole Santa forgot to put a kickstand in your stocking to help hold your chin up all night.
Simply put, the majority of televisions mounted over fireplaces are far too high on the wall for proper viewing. When watching television, your eyes should focus naturally on the middle of the screen. Go sit in your favorite chair or recliner and pay attention to where your eyes fall on the wall when you’re most relaxed. You’ll find that it’s actually much lower than several feet above the fireplace mantle – that is, unless you plan to stand all evening (even then it’s probably still a little too high). In addition to this, we need to remember from science class that heat rises, so that new set of yours will never have cold feet. It’s always best to keep electronics on the cool side to reduce the change of damage. Simply put, holding your new set to a trial by fire will never have a good long term outcome.
Manufacturers of flat screen television mounts offer a wide variety of options to try and minimize the angle of viewing that can lead to eye and next strain over time. Tilt mounts allow a screen to be angled down 5 to 15 degrees, and higher end oscillating mounts allow you to pull the television out from the wall and adjust even further. While these certainly help, they definitely do not fix the problem.
Am I saying you should never mount your television to the wall? Of course not. In situations like a bedroom where you will likely be watching TV while sitting in bed, it actually makes sense to have the set mounted a little higher on the wall. Again, it’s all about the angle that is the most comfortable for you. If you have an open wall in another room that doesn’t have space for large furniture, a wall mount is a good option here as well. Just remember to keep in mind where your eyes will be most comfortable. Save the money from those chiropractic visits and treat yourself to a new universal remote control instead. Let your fireplace take center stage in your family room. If you just HAVE to put something over it… how about a nice piece of art instead?
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