When browsing collections of interior design photos, one would get the impression that most homes do not have a television. On the contrary, television watching is often a large part of the lifestyle of many families. In fact the new flat screen models are so popular that old style televisions that still work well are being kicked to the curb at a pace. The dilemma, then, is where to place these large new appliances that do not appear in glossy interior design photos. The first item on the agenda of this sticky décor dilemma is placement of such a large item that is regularly used but which we apparently do not want to become a focal point. For viewing comfort, the television should be placed at eye level so that when you are relaxing in your comfy but stylish chair or sofa, your head is level with the middle of the screen. Ideally, you should be able to view your programs looking straight ahead, not looking up or down.
This last statement is at odds with the phenomenon that we so often see where the television is placed above the fireplace. What could be more uncomfortable? This arrangement looks great in design photos but is simply not good design. How can it be? Good design leaves the home owner comfortable in their own home, rather than forced to sit in an uncomfortable position in order to conform to a skewed design idea. The only somewhat successful adaptation to the placement of the television above the fireplace is to mount it on a stand that allows you to angle the set down to a comfortable viewing position. Other than that, the viewer must lie on the sofa to view the television comfortably. This works if there are very few (two) viewers, one on each sofa. If the mantle itself needs updating, this is an opportunity to adapt the fireplace, itself, so that it is lowered so that a television can be placed correctly above the firebox. A rectangular, narrow firebox of sleek design placed near the floor will allow much better placement of the television if you simply must place it above the fireplace. This is much better than placing your set above a tall mantle. Above a tall mantle, the set should be installed in a recess so that the set can be tilted down to help the viewer use the set in some comfort. Placement of the set within cabinetry to one side of the fireplace is a far better idea. This allows more straight on viewing. The set can also be placed on a bracket so that it can slide forward and be angled to the best advantage of the viewer. The next issue is the actual size of the unit to be purchased. Many people express the wish for a bigger television. I, personally, have never heard anyone say that their screen is too big. There are some constraints on size that should be followed, though. It depends on the size of the room, as does the purchase of the other elements that go into any interior design scheme. What you are watching is also a factor. Whether you are watching high definition, how far away you are sitting, affordability, and personal taste all come into play in the making of this decision.
Screen sizes and general viewing distances:
26″ screen = 3 to 5.5 feet
32″ screen = 4 to 6.5 feet
37″ screen = 4.5 to 7.5 feet
40″ screen = 5 to 8.5 feet
46″ screen = 6 to 9.5 feet
52″ screen = 6.5 to 11 feet
58″ screen = 7 to 12 feet
65″ screen = 8 to 13.5 feet
70″ screen = 9 to 15 feet
When planning a home theatre, place as many seats as you can looking straight at the screen, rather than fanning seats out to the sides. It is far better to arrange the seating in rows even when there is room at the sides because the best view is from the centre of the screen. The second row of seats can be raised so that viewers can see above the heads of those in the first row.
Incoming light should be controlled with blackout lined draperies or blinds. Eye strain can be caused by glare from incoming windows. Drapes do not need to be black fabric. They simply need to be lined so that light cannot stream through them. In rooms that do not have fireplaces, a flat screen television can be installed low on a wall directly at eye level. This will prevent the television from becoming the focal point of the room. Wiring should not be left exposed. It should be hidden and an electrical outlet installed behind the unit. The actual wall can become the star of the project if it is covered in beautiful wallpaper or textured in an interesting way. A dark coloured wall surrounding the television goes a long way to making the television less obvious.
Fitting your flat panel set into a partition wall or a column are great ways to minimize the visual effect of owning a television. In the past, media cabinets and armoires did take up significant space in a room design. A sliding flat panel cover which conceals the set when not in use is another popular adaptation. Flat panel televisions take up much less space than televisions of the past. Photos courtesy of Better Homes or Houzz.com. Many homes these days are very small. Media cabinetry today must conserve space, as well as provide media storage, tv viewing and display accessories.
Call Mulberry Interiors now at (905) 849-6423 to book a consultation. We look forward to working with you to increase your enjoyment of your home.
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