A home without a television is like a castle in the clouds — it exists only in fairy tales. And that’s only a slight overstatement. The Nielsen Company reports that 96.7 percent of U.S. homes have television sets. In my experience, over the course of hundreds of home construction projects, I can’t recall a single instance in which one of our clients designed a home without the television’s location in mind.
This reality creates design challenges as home designers consider room orientation with the competing possible focal points of exterior views, fireplaces and televisions. Today we will look at one critical factor to consider when locating your television: height. It’s not the only thing you should think about, to be sure, but if you place your television too high in relation to its space and intended use, you might end up with regrets and, quite literally, a pain in your neck.
The General Rule
The are many issues to consider when contemplating your television viewing experience, including the size and quality of your television, and the distance from the television to the primary viewing location.
But for one characteristic, there is a simple and concrete rule: The ideal center of the screen should be at the eye level of the viewer.
So the factors that come into play when you‘re considering only the ideal height at which to place the television include the height of the typical viewer and the size of the television.
You can measure your television and do the math, but the optimum center of a television intended primarily for viewers seated on a couch is typically about 42 inches above the floor.
Historically, a general rule for optimum viewing distance from the television is 2.5 times the diagonal length of screen. Keep in mind, though, that there are different opinions on that rule, and some now recommend a TV that is larger relative to the space in a room. With newer, high-definition televisions, some recommend an optimum viewing distance of 1.5 times the diagonal television length …