Should you hang a TV above a fireplace? 4 things you must consider before you do

There are a few important things to consider before committing to placing a television above a fireplace

Can you mount a TV above a fireplace
(Image credit: Cortney Bishop)

The fireplace often serves as the focal point of a living room, making it seem like the optimal location for a television, too. However, there are a few challenges that must be addressed before you commit to mounting your TV above your mantle place.

For starters, there's a risk of heat exposure damaging the TV. Plus, you may find yourself facing structural, viewing, and aesthetic challenges along the way. But it is possible to install a television safely and stylishly above a fireplace if you take a few proactive measures.

So, if you are considering which wall your TV should be on and think above the fireplace may be the best choice, our experts have outlined everything you should know to help you make an informed decision. 

Can you mount a TV above a fireplace?

With some tailored fixes, you may be able to mitigate any potential issues with this setup. Alex Webster, Founder of Noobs Tech says that it is essential to ensure proper heat insulation to prevent damage to the TV. Likewise, you should assess the structural integrity of the wall for secure mounting and consider how to blend the TV with the overall aesthetics of your space.

1. Safety and heat concerns

Modern living room with fireplace, tall shelving either side, tv mounted above mantel, two cream lounge chairs, floor lamp, coffee table and sofa

(Image credit: Studio McGee)

The biggest risk your TV set faces when mounted above the fireplace is damage from the heat and smoke residue from the fireplace below. This can lead to malfunctions, shorten the lifespan of the TV's internal electronic components, and even result in picture quality degradation over time. 

'Placing a TV above a wood-burning fireplace can be risky since the heat and smoke emitted can damage it,' explains David Miloshev, an appliance technician at Fantastic Services. 'In this case, you must install protective measures for your TV. However, for electric and gas fireplaces, you don't need to worry much about damage from heat or smoke since such fireplaces pose no risk to your TV.'

  • Ventilation: To prevent heat and smoke from damaging your TV, ensure adequate heat ventilation for both the TV and electronic components. This will prevent the device from overheating and creating a potential fire hazard.
  • Install a mantle: 'Since hot air moves upwards, you must create a mantle that can redirect the heat away from the television,' recommends Ivo Iv, CEO of Decor Home Ideas. 'The mantle should be a few inches larger than the television you want to mount to cover all areas. The standard mantle depth is between 6 to 12 inches; however, a larger depth offers better protection, so strive for a depth between 8 and 12 inches.'
  • Create alcoves: Alternatively, you can build an alcove unit to protect the TV. An alcove functions similarly to a mantle, but rather than covering the fireplace area, it covers the TV. Like the mantle, the alcove should follow the same construction principle regarding length and depth. 
  • Insulation: You must also ensure the wall where the TV is mounted has proper heat insulation to prevent damage to the back of the TV. 

2. Structural considerations

Small living room TV idea within wall decor

(Image credit: Kimberley Harrison / Kathryn MacDonald)

Your chosen wall will need to accommodate both the television and the fireplace; therefore, it may require specialized mounts or additional reinforcement to ensure it remains stable and safe. This is especially important in homes with masonry or a chimney breast. 

Make sure you select a TV mount that will support the television's weight and size. Then, determine the optimal height for the TV by striking a balance between positioning it high enough to minimize heat damage from the fireplace and keeping it low enough for comfortable viewing. As a rule of thumb, you should mount the TV 58 to 68 inches above the ground and 6-12 inches above the fireplace for optimal viewing.

Mounting a television to a wall will almost certainly require two people, and if you have no prior DIY experience, you may wish to leave this job to the professionals. 

3. Viewing angle and comfort

bright living room in a white and natural color palette, four textured pendant lights, large cream sofa and dark wood sofa, cream rug and lounge chair

(Image credit: Kimberley Harrison)

With the fireplace typically being central in a living room and seating facing towards it, it makes sense to have the TV mounted above the fireplace. However, placing the TV here may not offer the most comfortable viewing experience due to its elevated position, which can lead to discomfort and neck strain.

When deciding on the TV's placement, prioritize ergonomics and consider comfortable viewing angles. 'Your TV installation manual should typically provide information about the best viewing angle and distance, says David Miloshev. 'Generally, the ideal viewing height is at eye level when seated.'

If you must install your television high above the ground, an adjustable television mount can be pulled down or around to make viewing more comfortable. 

4. Aesthetics

Tv behind wooden cover, above fireplace

(Image credit: Hamlford Design)

While the combination of tech with traditional elements can sometimes create a sleek and modern look, it may not be suitable for every home aesthetic. 

'Televisions can disrupt the aesthetics of a room,' says Manuela Hamilford, Founder of Hamilford Design. 'For example, a 75-inch screen amongst an elegant, classic interior can be slightly distracting,'

'Another consideration is that a fireplace and chimney breast can be a key architectural feature and add a lot of character to a room, so to draw attention away from this and to a TV seems a shame,' she adds. 

Luckily, in some cases, the solution to this issue can be as simple as integrating your TV into your existing decor. For example, if you're wondering how to add a TV to a traditional living room without disrupting the aesthetics, the best method may be to stylishly disguise your TV, such as with clever TV stand decor ideas.

Some televisions come equipped with frozen art standby images designed to blend seamlessly into more traditional spaces. You can also frame your television to enhance its appearance, making it look like artwork above your fireplace.

'We often like to conceal the television behind bespoke cabinetry,' says Manuela Hamilford. This can keep your TV in an alcove protected from heat damage and ensure it is integrated into the style of your living space.

While it's technically possible to mount a TV above a fireplace, it's essential to consider safety concerns as well as its aesthetic impact. Consulting with a professional installer or contractor can help assess how feasible this project is for your home and mitigate any potential risks associated with this setup. 

Lola Houlton
News writer

Lola Houlton is a news writer for Homes & Gardens. She has been writing content for Future PLC for the past six years, in particular Homes & Gardens, Real Homes and GardeningEtc. She writes on a broad range of subjects, including practical household advice, recipe articles, and product reviews, working closely with experts in their fields to cover everything from heating to home organization through to house plants. Lola is a graduate, who completed her degree in Psychology at the University of Sussex. She has also spent some time working at the BBC.