LCD/Plasma TV Sizing Guide

What Size HDTV is Right For My Room?

When designing new home almost every client we come across has a need for a new TV in their home.  Whether it’s a Flat Panel LCD, Flat Panel Plasma, Rear Projection TV or Front Projection, the question of size always comes up.  Most people tend to want to buy the biggest TV they can afford, however I strongly discourage you from doing that.  If you buy a 50″ flat panel TV, and your are sitting 4′ from the front of the TV, the image will look pixelated (even if you get a top of the line 1080p TV), and you will find that you have to move your head to see the full image.

To help you out in calculating the correct size, I have pulled together a few tips to help you out.

    • First off, here is a basic table to help you determine the appropriate size:
Viewing Distance (ft)Min Size (in)Max Size (in)
4′19″32″
6′26″48″
8′32″63″
10′40″80″
12′46″96″
14′52″112″
Source: Amazon.com
  • If you really want to determine the appropriate size, viewing angle, etc. there is an excellent resource over here at this website where Carlton Bale (a Finance guru with a passion for tech) has come up with an excellent spreadsheet for calculating the appropriate TV size and viewing angle.  What I like about his calculations is that he takes into account the distances at which all resolutions look the same which is an important measurement when you are trying to decide between a 720p, 1080i, or 1080p set.  A few years back, there was a large price difference between the different resolutions.  Today, I recommend to all of my clients to get 1080p.
  • Here is a link to another great online calculator to check out.
  • When measuring the viewing distance for your room, make sure to measure from the front of the screen, to the position your head will be located when watching the TV.  If you measure from one wall to another, the distance will be at least 1′ too long.
  • Pick the appropriate size that fits your budget, if the table says you should be using a 34″ TV, and you can get a better value by going to a 36″, go with the TV that makes more sense for your situation.
  • Purchase your TV from a store with a return policy that fits your needs.  Amazon.com has a great return policy, so does Costco.
  • Select a TV Stand or Wall mount that places the TV at a comfortable height.
  • HDMI Cable
    Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT purchase your cables from a major electronics retailer, it’s a quick way to get ripped off.  Major electronics retailers make a huge margin on cables.  I’ve seen 6′ HDMI cables going for $100+ versus this 6ft HDMI cable from Amazon.com for around $6.  Purchase your cables online, and spend the money I saved you to rent a few movies from Netflix or Hulu.com to watch on your new TV.
  • Stay tuned for another article I am going to write up on finding the right size 4k Ultra HDTV for your room.

I hope that you found this guide helpful.  Please leave comments if you have found any other useful charts for calculating TV sizes, or if you have any recommendations for a great TV.  Also, if you are looking for any advice on how to furnish the rest of your living room or family room, check out our all of the interior design services we offer.

11 replies
  1. Amber Smith
    Amber Smith says:

    What a great article about finding the proper size TV for my living room. My boyfriend has wanted a 52″ TV which I always thought was a bit too large. Now I have some charts to show him that a 42″ TV would be better suited for our living room. Thanks guys!

    Reply
      • Adam
        Adam says:

        Reason you need a 720 p is because all channels are broadcasted in it. THere are not even a handfull of channels that broadcast in 1080p yet and wont be for a while. 1080p is a ploy to gain more money and also sell products. I bought a 720 42″ viera and it is awesome, my friends 1080p has no difference since the channels are 720p it cant benifit you at all until every channel goes 1080p.

        Reply
    • Bill Cherne
      Bill Cherne says:

      Hi Prasath, it all depends on what wall the TV is going on. If you are sitting ~11′ away from the TV, something around a 40″ should do.

      If you are sitting 16′ away, then you will want to look at a TV 52″ or larger.

      The key is to figure out where your TV will go and where you main seating will be. Chances are, if your room is 16′ long, your couch won’t be on the back opposite wall. It will probably be somewhere in the middle.

      Hope this helps.

      Reply
  2. car peaker
    car peaker says:

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    Reply

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  1. [...] that this TV may be too large or too small for your room, check out this article which explains how to determine the proper size HDTV for your home. AKPC_IDS += [...]

  2. [...] flat panel LCD or Plasma TVs look sexy, consume less energy and have an amazing picture quality (see our guide to picking the correct size TV).  The million dollar question is what to do with the old electronic gear?  eWaste is a HUGE [...]

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