12 Mistakes to Avoid If You Have a Flat Screen TV

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If you’re like most people, your TV is an essential part of your home, especially in times like these! But if the space housing your TV also needs to be beautiful and well-designed, well, that’s where sometimes things can get tricky!

Common TV Wall Mistakes

Today we’ll be discussing some mistakes that many homeowners make when trying to integrate a television into their design scheme.

The most common TV wall mistakes people make are usually related in some way to scale, distance or proportion. We’re going to look at all that and more!

1. Ditch the dated “entertainment center”

The goal here is to blend your TV into the decor. For example, integrating your TV into a gorgeous built-in is great! There’s nothing wrong with drawing attention to a media center if it’s a really beautiful piece of design.

But big, bulky entertainment centers are usually *not* beautiful pieces of design; they are meant to be practical, but often just do not look good.

Anything from the 80s or 90s, is probably not going to look super amazing.

Yellow oak? Probably not great. Giant laminate entertainment units? Another solid nope. Units with a million little cubby holes, cabinets and shelves? Also no. Units that look like “hutches” that are meant for TVs? Uh uh.

Need some visuals? Basically, if you have anything that looks like this:

another dated tv entertainment unit in strong wood tones
So much wood

It’s time to retire these bad boys and get something new.

2. Stop using THIS stand!

glass and metal dated tv stand
It’s time to stop using these

I think we’ve all seen this old chestnut enough to safely say: it’s time for us to never see this TV stand, or any derivative of it, ever again.

It’s possibly one of the saddest looking TV stands I’ve ever seen. Sure, you can put it in a boardroom or something, but it has no place in anyone’s living room.

3. TV is wider than the wall

common tv wall mistake: hanging a tv that is too large for the wall it's on so that it juts out from the sides
Ahhhh!

There is nothing more visually jarring than a TV jutting out from the sides of a wall.

So, let’s say you move into your new home and there is only one logical spot to place the TV in the living room.

And that spot happens to be a piece of wall (or section of your fireplace) that is only 40″ wide.

This means that your 50″ TV is *not* going to look good hanging on this wall. It’s going to be way too big for the wall!

If you’re confined to using only a specific section of a wall, just remember that there should really be breathing space around your TV in order for it to look balanced visually. Aim for at least a few inches of clearance on either side! (a minimum of 3″ would be ideal).

In summary, if you have a situation that looks like this:

this tv is too big for the wall it's hanging on, it's jutting out on one side.
Aaah

You should get a smaller TV. Sorry. 😬

4. TV is hung too high

tv wall mistake: tv hung too high
The width of the TV compared to the console looks good, but it’s hung way too high!

Ahh, another classic.

The general rule of thumb for TV height is that the center of your screen should be positioned at eye level or just below. You don’t want to be craning your neck upward to be watching TV for extended periods of time.

That being said, if you have a very, very big room, you *can* afford to hang the TV higher up, because your seating arrangement might be further away than usual. Or you might enjoy watching TV from across the room in the kitchen while you’re cooking. So there are some exceptions to the rule, but generally they only work in much larger spaces.

More on the whole “TV to sofa distance” debacle below…

5. TV Console is too small

tv wall mistake: tv console or media stand is too small for the tv on it
lol

Anyone can see that the image above is pretty silly. 😂

But is it always that obvious when your TV is too big for your console or TV stand? Nope! Otherwise it wouldn’t be such a common mistake.

I recommend getting a console that is at least a few inches wider than the width of your TV (on both sides!).

It’s important to remember that TVs are measured diagonally and TV consoles are measured horizontally, so make sure to take the actual width of your TV screen into consideration when choosing your console.

Proportionally, your TV should be roughly 2/3rds the width of your stand.

6. Surrounding artwork is not well planned

another tv wall decor mistake is not planning the artwork around the tv properly
There are a lot of things wrong with this picture…

If you’re thinking of hanging a gallery wall around your TV, it’s a great idea! Just make sure you plan out how it’s going to look before taking to the hammer and nails. It’s easy to imagine something in your head, but when you go to execute, it doesn’t exactly turn out the way you’d imagined it. Happens to us all!

If you’re going to place artwork around your TV, make sure the proportions are correct, and that you’re not hanging an itty bitty piece of art next to a giant screen (just as an example). Look at inspiration photos first, then decide how you’re going to execute.

For some great inspiration and ideas on how to hang art around a TV, check out this article.

7. Getting the “sofa to TV” distance wrong

this photo demonstrates a good distance between the tv and the sofa
This is a pretty good distance!

There is a lot of debate over what the “correct” distance should be between TV and the sofa. There are some guidelines certainly that one can follow, but it really boils down to personal preference.

To read some of the different opinions on the matter, you can check out these articles, which present very reasonable, sound arguments.

Personally, over the years I’ve tried a few different size TVs/distances, and I actually kind of obsessed over getting it right. But I have finally settled on what I feel is the perfect distance. We found that the perfect distance between the sofa and our TV is pretty much exactly 7′ (about 2.1 meters).

We have a 65″ TV – if you’re curious, we have this TV – it’s an AMAZING 4K smart TV, that costs under $800. The reason we picked it is actually because it has an incredibly super-thin frame. But then it turned out to be a really great TV too, ha! 100% worth it, cannot recommend enough!!! 📺

I have tested out different distances with my 65″ TV, and I find that putting the sofa any further away from the TV screen than 7 or so feet, creates a disconnect from the screen and feels much less cozy. Though I understand this may be a little too close for some, I find that 7′ sweet spot creates a much more immersive experience.

We also play a lot of games on the PS4 and Nintendo Switch, so for us it’s the perfect distance.

Interestingly, this is not far from what PC Mag suggests in their article, but WAY off from what Samsung suggests.

In conclusion, I’d say it’s pretty safe to say that GENERALLY, the bigger your room is, the bigger screen you’ll need, because your sofa will be further away. The same goes for small rooms: if your room is on the smaller side, chances are your sofa is not going to be too far away from your TV, so you’ll probably want a slightly smaller TV.

But, if you want a cozier, more immersive experience, then keep the sofa closer, and if you want to keep the room feeling more open and airy, then pull the sofa away. I recommend testing out different distances until you find what feels right to you.

8. Assuming you shouldn’t hang over the fireplace

Source unknown

Over the past decade and a half or so, fear has been created around hanging a TV over the fireplace. This used to be true with plasma TVs, but plasma technology isn’t really used anymore.

Generally, you can very safely hang your TV over the fireplace. The only thing you need to make sure of is that the temperature of the area below the TV stays under 100 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re apprehensive, as a test you can even place a thermometer in the location where you want to place your TV and check for yourself. Trust me, 100 degrees is VERY hot, it’s highly unlikely that your fireplace will generate that kind of heat!

It’s a myth, and basically just a dated idea that the heat of the fireplace is going to damage your television – your TV isn’t going to melt, the mantel acts as a barrier from the heat. If your fireplace was actually that hot, your mantel would have signs of heat damage far before your television would.

It’s absolutely fine to hang your TV over the fireplace, if that is the best solution for your room (aka the final TV position isn’t too high for comfortable viewing).

A fireplace is a focal point, but from a decorating standpoint, if you have a considerably large TV in a room, it is also going to be a focal point. Marrying the two elements, so that they can be enjoyed together at the same time, makes much more sense than having them compete against each other.

9. Using crazy wall mounts

Ok I’ll admit that full motion and extendable tv arms can be super handy, but they are also super ugly. 🤣 Having your giant TV hanging midair is not a great look.

Unattractive tv wall mounts can really be an eye-sore
Scary TV mount

Ideally, your television’s wall mount is as invisible as possible. But if you must resort to using one of those TV arms, at least try to use the least visually invasive one you can find. And always push the TV back when you’re done using it.

Tilted mounts are also visually very jarring. Every time I see a TV on a tilt mount I just want to straighten it. It throws the entire room off, and the bigger the TV is, the worse it looks.

hanging the TV lower would have meant not needing to tilt it downwards at all …

10. Cramming the TV in the corner

never cram your tv into a corner, especially when you're blocking a window.
Ahhh! Corner TV! Too big TV! Ugly TV stand! Obscuring window! Aaaaah!

From an interior design standpoint, placing a major focal point like a TV in the corner of a room is a bad idea. Forcing people to stare into a corner is awkward and it really disrupts the flow of a room.

Think about alternate layouts for your room – I’m willing to bet there is a better spot for your TV if you rejig things a little!

Corner TVs *could* be acceptable in the event that you have a built-in corner fireplace and space on the mantel, or some built-in corner cabinetry.

11. Assuming you must hang the TV

Again, another myth. I do agree that generally large flat-screen TVs that are hung on the wall look nicer and create a more streamlined look. But if you’re renting or for various reasons are not able to wall mount your television, there is no need to despair.

So long as you are making sure that the media console you’re placing your TV on is correctly proportioned to your television, it’s going to look just fine!

12. Forgetting about cables

tv wall mistake - leaving all your cables exposed!
Interesting

Leaving an unsightly mess of cables behind, below or next to your TV will instantly kill the whole vibe of your space.

Gather all the cables up and be sure to use cable raceways/paintable wire covers, or even PVC pipes to disguise your TV cables in the neatest way possible.

If you own your place and the TV position of your TV is permanent, consider threading the cables into the wall for the ultimate clean look.


I hope you’ve been able to get a better sense of what kind of TV setup is best for your space! If not pop a comment below or shoot me a message on Instagram!! Have you made any of these TV wall mistakes?

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7 Comments

  1. These are great tips. Im new to home decor and setting up a new tv station (is there such a thing?)
    My question is, I have a wall mounted 85inch telly but need a console for the sound bar, nintendo console (i love my Mario Kart), and general living room bric-a-brac that can be hidden away.

    Is it faux pas to have a console shorter/smaller than the width of the TV? The TV is mounted so the width shouldnt matter right?

  2. I would expect people to do some basic planning before mouting the tv on the wall. Some of the pics here are to too funny. I guess the key is planning, as once the tv is mounted on the wall, it’s very difficult fix if not done properly.