Mama Said Don't Stand Too Close to the TV

Distance Matters

Watching TV as a kid, I found myself inching closer to the screen to get closer to the action, with mom pulling me back by my collar. 

So, what is the optimal viewing distance to take in your favorite superhero movie? First and foremost, you want your TV to be at eye level when seated to avoid straining your neck. The general consensus is to sit 1.5-2.5 times the diagonal measurement of your screen, with a 30° viewing angle.

For example, a smaller TV that measures 28 in lengthwise and 32 in diagonally. The placement of the TV would be no more than 6.5 ft away from where you’ll be seated. For a larger TV, say in a home theater with a 70 in screen, you’d want to be seated at a distance of 8.75-14.75 ft.   

The Dos and Don’ts

Now that you know the distance to view your TV from, make sure you pick the right spot.

Don’t cram a big TV into a little space. Just because you can buy a 65 inch screen, doesn’t mean you should. Not only will you overwhelm the room, you can strain your eyes and can mess with image clarity. 

Be aware of your lighting sources, especially your windows. Think about the glare coming from outside, will the afternoon sun muffle your image? If you can’t avoid being near a window, set the screen with consideration of the sun from East to West. Never block your window with your screen, not only are you losing sunlight in the room, your TV will be uncomfortably backlit.

If you’re in the living room and have a fireplace, avoid putting it directly on the mantle. First off, the mantle might not be strong enough to hold the TV and you can wind up breaking both the television and mantle. Secondly, if the mantle is too high and your couch too close, you’ll be craning your neck. Finally, from a decor stand point, your fire place should be the prominent feature of the room. If you feel as though you don’t have another option, mount your TV on the wall and angle it downward.

What is your desired aesthetic? You probably don’t want to have a black box that is distracting from the rest of the space. Match your TV length to whatever parallel lines are surrounding it. For example, don’t have your TV extending far beyond whatever it’s standing on, it makes the space look haphazard. One of the more visually pleasing ways to incorporate your screen into your space is to create a gallery around it. Artwork that surrounds and frames your TV makes for a cohesive look.

Personal Preference

When it comes down to placing your TV, you know your needs best. Go with the guidelines listed above to incorporate your screen in your space for optimal viewing pleasure.