Should you put a TV above the mantelpiece? Experts all agree on this newly sparked debate

This is where you should and shouldn't put your TV, according to interiors experts

A living room with a blue sofa and a TV over the fireplace
(Image credit: Future PLC/Chris Snook)

The TV tends to be the centrepiece of the living room, or really any room it happens to be in. And if there is a fireplace in the middle of the space, then the traditional (and only natural) place to put the TV is above the mantelpiece. But were we getting this wrong all along? Should you put a TV above the mantel?

This status quo was recently challenged by none other than Jenna Lyons, American designer and RHONY star. Last December, Jenna was a guest on fellow interior guru Jeremiah Brent’s podcast where she expressed her controversial views on displaying even the best TV above the mantelpiece.

‘A thing that stresses me out deeply – televisions over mantelpieces,’ Jenna said. ‘Unless it’s an actual TV room, hide the goddamn TV. And don’t make it one of those ones that looks like a painting.’

That’s right, Jenna even dissed the trendy Frame TV, which takes on the appearance of an artwork when not in use. This has started an online debate about whether you should put a TV above the fireplace or not, while also quoting Jenna Lyons’ ‘rich privilege’. So to settle this newly sparked debate, we asked several experts to share their educated opinion on the topic. And they all agreed.


♬ original sound - Jeremiah Brent

Should you put a TV above the mantelpiece?

Jenna Lyons is an authority in the world of fashion and interiors, as we’ve witnessed with Jenna’s viral bathroom hack. So it’s no surprise that when she shares a controversial opinion, people listen and they debate. And the same goes for interior designer Jeremiah Brent, the new Queer Eye design guru.

And to further fuel the debate, fellow Queer Eye star Tan France recently addressed the TV positioning question in his home tour with Architectural Digest.

‘There’s a lot of debate about this,’ Tan started. ‘We have a TV that looks like a picture above the fireplace. I’m talking about a couple of people in particular - Jenna Lyons and Jeremiah Brent. They say you shouldn’t have this above a fire. However, what’s all your furniture pointing at if you don’t have a TV in the room? And secondly, I don’t want it to look like a TV because it just looks like a black box. I live on TV, in my job and in my private life. So we have a TV above the mantel.’

But while there are other places you could put it and ways to hide the TV, experts say that having it above the fireplace is absolutely fine.

A living room with a blue armchair and a TV

(Image credit: Future PLC/Georgia Burns)

Experts say you can have a TV above the fireplace

‘Conversations about TV placement in interior design have sparked debate over the last few years, especially with the rise of media walls as a trend and more people choosing to mount their TV over their fireplace,’ says Victoria Foster, interior stylist at ScS. ‘Addressing the opinions shared by Jenna Lyons, it should really be acknowledged that not everyone has the space for a dedicated “TV room”, and with open plan living being more popular, formal living rooms are also less common.’

The best place to put a TV will differ from person to person, home to home. Depending on the layout, preferences and more.

‘When it comes to TV placement there's no one size fits all,’ says Tara Rodrigues, interior designer. ‘The ideal TV placement depends on the layout and functionality of the room, as well as personal preferences. Placing the TV above a fireplace is a common option for maximising space and creating a focal point in the room. Sometime's above the fireplace is the only legitimate option.’

A living room with a TV within a media unit and a grey corner sofa

(Image credit: Future PLC/Douglas Gibb)

Victoria continues, ‘Living rooms are often one of the most used spaces in the home, so functionality is key when you’re considering the layout of the room. If you spend a lot of time watching TV in the living room, it certainly isn’t a feature that needs to be hidden away! Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and whether you’d like your furniture to be centred around the TV. When you’re deciding on the placement of your TV, you should consider the shape of the room and place it according to where your sofa and/or chairs face.’

‘You might want to opt for a TV unit to stand your TV on which allows you to play around with the dimensions of the room, potentially positioning this at an angle.’ 

But if you do decide to position your TV above the fireplace (as you have every right to), there are a few things to consider.

Consider safety

‘Heat is often one of the most significant concerns when mounting a TV above a fire,’ says Joanna Humphreys, fire & stove specialist at Direct Fireplaces. ‘The good news is that electronic media wall fires are all relatively low in heat output. Hence, your TV isn't in danger, but it's worth taking some preventative measures.’

‘The area will be pretty warm with a fire and all the other electronics. Heat rises, and getting too hot could damage the TV. The best way to prevent this is to ensure the TV is ventilated well. A straightforward way to achieve this is to install a shelf or mantel between the TV and the fire. This helps to create a buffer zone and blocks the heat from reaching your TV.’

A living room with a blue sofa and a TV over the fireplace

(Image credit: Future PLC/Caroline Mardon)

Another safety precaution you should take is opting for a strong enough mount. 

‘Consider safety precautions to prevent accidents, such as ensuring the TV mount is secure and stable,’ Tara says.

Joanna adds, ‘Look for a mount that is designed for your size of TV. It should be sturdy and able to hold the TV's weight. A flat or flush mount works well if you want the TV to sit as close to the wall as possible and don't need to access behind it once installed.’

Ensure a comfortable experience

Direct Fireplaces Evonic Canto 200 Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace

(Image credit: Direct Fireplaces)

The TV shouldn’t be mounted too high so that you (and your fellow viewers) have to strain your neck. 

‘Ensure that the TV is positioned at a comfortable viewing height for the audience. Mounting it too high above the fireplace may strain the necks of viewers, especially if they're seated for extended periods,’ Tara explains.

Joanna continues, ‘The best height for your TV to be mounted is so that the centre of the screen is at eye level when you're sitting down to watch it.’

So as much as we love and respect Jenna Lyons, we think we’ll keep our TV hung above the fireplace. Sorry.

Sara Hesikova
News Writer

Sara Hesikova has been Ideal Home’s News Writer since July 2023, bringing the Ideal Home’s readership breaking news stories from the world of home and interiors. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors. She feels the two are intrinsically connected - if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.