Skip to Content

Should a Fireplace Be Bigger Than the TV? (Solved)

Our friends have a new house and they were asking me if their fireplace should be bigger than their TV. I had a bit of an idea already, but I did some more research to help them out. Here’s what I found.

To be more visually appealing, a fireplace should be at least 6-8 inches bigger than the TV. For this reason, many homeowners choose to install longer electric fireplaces. If your TV is bigger than the fireplace, consider expanding the fireplace trim or painting the TV wall black to blend the TV in with the wall.

So while the fireplace should generally be bigger than the TV, exactly how big should the TV and fireplace be, and what’s the minimum distance we should keep between them? Let’s take a closer look.

How Big Should a TV Be Over a Fireplace?

our tv above our fireplace
Our TV over our fireplace.

Typically, TVs 55″ and under are ideal to keep above the fireplace. However, the viewing distance can also affect the size. If your couch is more than 6′ 5″ away from the TV, you’ll likely need a TV larger than 55″. If your TV is larger than your fireplace, consider expanding the trim or painting the wall black.

TVs have become much thinner and larger over the past decade or so, which has made it really easy to mount them above the fireplace. The only problem with this is that it can sometimes look a bit wonky if the TV is bigger than the fireplace. This of course also depends on the rest of the room and the wall.

Generally, if your TV is mounted above your fireplace, make sure the fireplace or mantel is about 6-8 inches wider than the TV.

It also comes down to what you want the focal point in the room to be. If you’d like the fireplace to be the focal point, then make it bigger than the TV. If you’d like the TV to be the focal point, make it bigger.

Think about which one you’d be using more often—would you use the fireplace or the TV more? While the look is important, don’t forget about the function!

If you find that your TV is bigger than your fireplace, consider the following workarounds:

  • Paint the wall behind the TV black
  • Widen the fireplace trim to make it appear bigger
  • If the fireplace just won’t fit, consider passing on it and installing a nearby wood stove or a different heater
a tv above a fireplace with a dark wall
Painting the wall a dark color (similar to the TV when it’s off) is a great way to blend it in. Photo credit: apartmenttherapy.com

Remember when we’re referring to the size of your TV (such as 55″), we’re measuring it diagonally from a bottom corner to the opposite top corner.

As long as the TV isn’t wider than the wall or mantel, it should still look good. If the TV is bigger than the wall, it might not be visually appealing and you might need to get creative with a workaround.

How Big Should Your Fireplace Be?

Fireplace SizeDimensionsHeat Output
Small24”x24”10,000-18,000 BTU
Medium36″x30″25,000-30,000 BTU
Large48″x32″35,000-40,000 BTU

There’s no one correct size for a fireplace. Many different sizes will work with your room. Consider the size of the wall, trim, paint, and mantel before making your decision.

When thinking about the fireplace’s size, also keep in mind its heat output. Again, depending on your goals and how often you’d use your fireplace, its function is also important!

If you’ve measured and researched this for a while now, and you’re just not seeing a fireplace and TV together in your home, don’t force it! There are many other creative solutions such as skipping the fireplace and installing a wood stove nearby.

a wood stove in the corner of a house
Adding a wood stove in the corner of the house is a good workaround for a fireplace.

If you decide to skip the fireplace, but have a space for it already cleared out, consider utilizing the space in a different way, such as storing firewood.

Also, for more information about measuring your fireplace size to your room size, check out my other post below.

What’s the Minimum Distance Between a Fireplace and a TV?

The minimum distance between a fireplace and a TV is 20 inches with a mantel. Also, allow at least a 7-8 inch clearance from the top of the mantel to the TV.

Just as important as choosing the right TV size for your wall, make sure the TV is at the proper viewing height. Normally, this is between 42-48″, but can go upwards of 65″. A TV that is too low or high is uncomfortable and can strain the neck.

After you find the operating temperature for your TV in its manual, set up a roaring fire in your fireplace exactly as you would normally. Then tape a thermometer to the wall where you want to put the TV and measure the temperature. If it’s too hot according to the TV’s operating temperature, move it up.

You should also test the viewing distance from your seating area to the TV, so you’re not squinting when watching TV. The larger the TV, the further back your seating area can be.

Final Thoughts

Generally, keep the TV smaller than the fireplace or mantel. This is about 6-8 inches less wide. However, this depends on the rest of the wall, room, and function, so improvise as you see fit. Don’t forget you have workarounds such as painting the wall a dark color, expanding the fireplace trim, and installing a wood stove instead.

When choosing the size of your fireplace, also keep in mind the heat output you’d like for the room (and if this affects the TV mounted above it).

Lastly, ensure the TV is at least 42-48″ off the ground and at a proper viewing distance depending on the size and resolution of the TV (such as 6′ 5″ away for a 50″ TV). Any different and it might strain some necks! Because of this, feel free to do a temporary setup and test it first.