Family Room Battle: Fireplace vs. Flat Screen TV

Do you actually use that fireplace of yours that dominates your family room?  Really use it?  How often?  Is it like the dining room that you use 2 or 3 times a year (if at all)?  How does your big screen TV get along with that fireplace?  If your house is like most, the family room was probably designed for a furniture layout focusing on that fireplace.  Not too big of a problem when TV’s were small. TV’s, however, are no longer small.  If it didn’t look ridiculous, you probably would put that big screen TV right in front of your fireplace.  I’m guessing that you probably haven’t done that.

So where do you put that new, big flat-screen HD TV?  I can see two options.  You could mount it above the fireplace.  If your fireplace is brick or stone the TV just looks out of place.  If you have a painted wall surface above the fireplace you could put the TV there without it looking odd, but do you really want it there?  Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t:

  • First, all fireplaces get hot above the firebox.  I, personally, would not want to risk damage from heat to my expensive TV.
  • Second, I don’t think positioning a TV above a firebox creates ideal viewing conditions.  Having to look up at the TV is somewhat unnatural, and certainly irritating.

That leaves you

        the second option: placing the TV next to the fireplace.  For most homes this is the likely scenario.  It’s less than ideal, but acceptable.  Several examples are illustrated.  Positioning the TV on a shelf to the

      side of the fireplace looks
      like an afterthought and is lousy for TV watching. Building a TV into
      a cabinet does not seem like a good solution either – too many
    access and heat build-up issues.

All this discussion really begs the question: would I really be better

off without the fireplace?   Perhaps you would, but it’s not an option if you already have one.

If, however, you are building a new home, an alternative location may make sense for you.  I suggest the Library, Den, Home Office or Away Room.  These are quiet rooms.  They are smaller and more intimate, suited for reading or quiet work.  A fireplace better fits the mood of this type of room.  Considering the high cost of firewood or operating gas logs, the fireplace has been relegated to appointment viewing.  If you agree with this thought, then having a room optimized for fireplace viewing makes sense.  If you are thinking of building a new home, stop by our Manors of Deerwood Sales Office, in Clarkston Michigan and talk to Pat Hansen.  Check out Our Web Site for directions.

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