Mounting your TV set on the wall is not only a great way to conserve space within your living room, but it also make your living room look nice and clean. But there’s a little more to it than just buying a wall mount and screwing in your TV. Here are some of the things you should know when it comes to mounting your TV set to the wall.
1. Deciding on Where to Mount Your TV
First of all, you need to figure out where exactly you want your TV mounted in your living room. This is something that is ultimately up to you to decide, but there are a couple of rules of thumb that can guide you in arriving at that decision.
The most important rule is to consider your eye level from a sitting position where you will be watching the TV. Doing so, will ensure that you are comfortable while watching the TV. This usually means the bottom edge of the TV will be somewhere between 2-3 feet off the ground, give or take a few inches.
Many people mount their TV above 3.5 feet off the ground or high above a TV stand or bookshelf, but that’s usually a bad idea giving that you will crane your neck up to see your TV resulting to a lot of discomfort when done for an extended period of time. The only exception is in the bedroom, where you might want to lie down and watch TV at the same time—having the TV mounted up higher may not cause any discomfort.
2. Get the Right Mounting Materials
There are generally two types of wall mounts that are available in the market. The first one is an articulating mount, which is meant for smaller television set and generally has one arm with a couple of articulating joints that allow you to pull the TV out from the wall mount and turn it in virtually any direction.
As earlier noted, these mounts are usually meant for smaller and light weight television sets since they can only mount to the wall at a single point, although you may sometimes find articulating mounts meant for larger television sets for this purpose as well, which can mount to the wall at multiple points.
The second type of TV wall mount is also very common and is called a tilting mount. This allow you to mount your TV set to the wall at multiple points—sometimes up to six—as such, they’re great for larger and heavier television sets.
The only disadvantage is that you can’t swivel the TV side-to-side—you can only tilt it up or down, and even then you can only tilt it a few degrees. But if you’re going to be mounting it at eye level right in front of the couch in your living room, you really don’t need any major articulation features anyway.
Once you are able to decide on the type of mount you want, then you have a duty to ensure that it will fit your television’s mounting holes. All modern televisions are VESA mount-compatible, which simply means that they comply with the Video Electronics Standards Association’s mounting standard used by virtually every TV mount on the market.
However, televisions have different mounting holes, so it’s important to get the right size mount that will fit your specific TV. Luckily, thanks to the VESA standard, it’s really easy to figure out what mount size you need.
If you look on the back of your television set, you will find four screw holes that form a square. Simply measure the distance between two of those screw holes (not diagonally) in millimeters. Do the measurement vertically and horizontally from each of the holes. So if the distance is 400 millimeters, you would need a VESA 400 mount (or sometimes called VESA 400×400). Luckily, most tilting mounts are compatible with virtually any VESA mount size, but it’s always a good idea to check before you purchase one.
3. Getting the Mounting Right
Now that you have established the type of TV wall mount you need, you can get to work proper—but you just can’t pick a random spot and start screwing it in. Televisions and the mounts themselves are heavy, so you need to make sure that you mount your TV correctly so that it doesn’t come crumbling down right after installation.
You’ll need to screw the TV mount into wall studs for maximum holding power but the careful not to screw so deep that the wall will open on the other side—if you just mount it to the drywall (weak wall), you’re sure to cause a lot of damage since drywall isn’t actually that strong.
Get a stud finder and use it to locate the studs behind the drywall. Studs are placed every 16 inches on center, so you should be able to mount your TV on two studs if you’re using a tilting mount, or sometimes three studs.
From there, place the TV mount where you want it (have a second person around to assist you hold it on the other side) and mark with a pencil where you need to screw it into the wall, making sure that there are studs at each locations.
Before you screw in the TV mount, you’ll need to drill pilot holes, which will prevent the studs from splitting when you drive in the screws. In addition, if the mount uses thicker screws or bolts, it’ll be almost impossible to drive them in without drilling pilot holes anyway. Remember that the drill bit for the pilot hole will need to be just slightly smaller than the width of the screw.
Once you have your pilot holes drilled, you can now position the TV mount on the wall and drive in the screws or bolts using a power drill or socket wrench (depending on the type of screws or bolts you are using). There will likely be instruction manual included with your TV mount, so be sure to take a close look at the instructions if you’re in doubt of what to do.
After you’ve placed the mount on the wall, it’s just a matter of attaching the brackets to your TV set using the four screw holes on the back of the television, and then hooking that up to the wall mount.
4. Neatly Arrange Cables
Once you have your TV mounted, you can either move on or take the time to arrange all of those cords/cables that are now hanging down your wall. Few options are available for you to explore.
However, the best option is to install a specialized kit that more or less creates an extension cord behind the wall using code-compliant electrical wire, as well as a dedicated tube to feed other cables through. This will allow you to plug the TV set in right where the mount is, and the rest of the cables get routed down near the baseboard to enable you plug the cables into the corresponding devices as appropriate. (You could just drill two holes in the wall and run the cables through them, but that’s against standard practice.)
On the other hand, installing something like this requires cutting a hole in your wall and a bit of electrical know-how, so if you’re not quite sure what to do, feel free to call in an electrician to do it for you, or get a knowledgeable friend who can help out if you have one.
If you’d rather not make giant holes in your wall either way, then the easiest method is to get some wire-concealing material such as the PVC type that you simply screw to the wall and route all of the cables through it.
It won’t make the cables completely hidden, but it will look a lot cleaner than just leaving the cables dangling around.