Home is where your TV is probably installed too high

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Home is where your TV is probably installed too high
Courtesy photo A well-installed TV should be centered at eye level when seated, which is on average about 42 inches off the ground.
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By Rory Callaghan

We’ll be getting together with people this week to watch pro football, and we’ll want to eat well while seated in front of the magic box. So, let’s prepare a menu that suits the occasion, and is easy on the cook. But first, let’s address TV mounting height for the best viewing experience.

Too many homes have TVs mounted above a fireplace. It’s convenient and seems logical until you think about it in terms of comfort level.

I always feel like I’m sitting in the front row of a theater when a TV is that high. I tilt my head back, and if I’m lucky, the sofa back is there to support it. This height would be fine for stand-up viewing in a party situation, which might be the case on game day, but we’re usually seated when we’re watching TV.

There’s nothing you can do to fix this in time for the games, whether NFL or Olympic. But you can plan ahead for baseball and ensure that watching movies, playing video games or enjoying summer on the sofa are all comfortable experiences. Everything on TV is better when the screen is at the right height.

For the best viewing angle and height, when seated, the center of the screen should be at eye level. That seems really low, but it’s right.

Consider a place in your home where you can install the TV built into cabinetry, which houses it and any components practically and elegantly. It can be sleek and let the star be the wall of wood itself. Or it can be a complex of multiple cubbies for artwork, trophies and family mementos. Whatever your style, make it right for you.

You’ll need a component remote control system that operates on radio frequency. This way you don’t need sight-line access to change channels. Roku works like that. Put all your components on one RF controller, and you can conceal them. Account for heat and provide ventilation either passively or with powered fans, as need demands.

Pictured here is a project on which the client had asked for a decorative way to store audio/video equipment and display a large TV. The room serves as an art gallery to visitors, but it’s also the family gathering area.

Because it was big enough to steal a little space from it, I suggested false fronting out one entire wall so we could countersink the TV into a 9” deep niche. When the TV is on, it provides easy viewing. When it’s off it nearly disappears into the wall, which is paneled in wood.

We used African wenge, known also as ironwood because of its density and hardness. When you strike a 2×4 of wenge with a hammer it rings like a bell, not with a woody thunk. That’s how hard it is. It is naturally very dark, nearly black, and has a grain compatible with our other wood choice, quarter sawn white oak. The contrast is gorgeous. The cabinets are made to appear to float.

The writer is kitchen planning director at M&M Appliance and Cabinets on South Washington Street. He can be reached at [email protected] or 301-537-3515.

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