While there are a number of current design debates, putting a TV above the fireplace is certainly among them. So, I tapped two local pros for some advice on the subject.

In an ideal scenario, Dan Davis, co-owner of Dan Davis Design in Ferndale, says this configuration would not be his first choice. “But we don’t have perfect rooms, especially in older homes that were not set up for TV viewing,” he says. “Sometimes it’s the only place to put the TV.”

Though he’d rather see a piece of art there, Davis says the room has to function for the way people live.

For one family, he created a wall of curved architectural panels to surround the TV and fireplace for a unique focal point. Other times, he’ll position the TV on a wall that’s perpendicular to the fireplace. “You can enjoy both things at once,” he says. “You don’t have to look at the fireplace to enjoy it.”

One of his projects features a custom media cabinet that is perpendicular to a stunning stone fireplace.

Davis has noticed a growing trend for TVs in the master bedroom where this type of setup can work, too.

Another client’s home has a substantial built-in bookcase by the fireplace that holds a TV in the center. “The TV felt more integrated that way,” says Davis, noting that every situation is different.

No matter what your layout dictates, some of his suggestions stay the same. “If you’re going to incorporate a TV into a space and you care about design, buy the best TV your budget will allow,” he says. “You want it to be around for at least a few years.”

He also encourages clients to begin with the TV, “If you want a big TV, that’s a whole different design dilemma than a small one. Some people need a TV, but they don’t want it to be the focus.”

Kris Paulson, vice president of design and integration at Paulson’s Audio & Video in Farmington Hills, says it’s in your best interest to consult with a professional to make sure the equipment is installed correctly, not just for safety, but for aesthetics as well.

He says their staff will bring it to a homeowner’s attention if the fireplace doesn’t appear to be the best option. At their store, people can see a variety of TVs in different lifestyle settings to see what they prefer.

As Paulson explains, “A typical TV stand will be at eye level and a fireplace is typically elevated. When you raise a television, you should only have to raise your eyes. If you have to lift your head for the expanse of a movie or a ballgame, you’ll get a crick in your neck.”

Storage for A/V equipment isn’t always required. “Cable boxes are dramatically smaller and in most cases, they can be mounted behind the TV,” says Paulson. Because video streaming eliminates the need for DVD players, your television won’t have to be surrounded by clutter wherever it ends up.

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Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at

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