Did you know your 50-inch TV is not actually 50 inches wide? Things get tricky when the world of electronics and home furnishings collide. Our buyer’s guide will help you sort out the numbers so you can find the right TV stand to fit your flat screen, along with convenient features and long-lasting quality.
The television is often the focal point of the living room and what your TV sits on (or inside of) is no different than any other piece of furniture — it says a lot about you! The home entertainment center has come a long way from the massive wood cabinets of the 60s. The design has evolved just as much as the TV itself, which means there’s an abundance of fine details to consider before you purchase. When browsing for a new TV stand, you’ll need to find the proper size stand, in the right design to match your style, with ample storage and the features you need.
How to Choose the Right Size TV Stand
While today’s flat panel TVs are nowhere near as bulky as the old CRT models, it’s still important to measure what you have so you know what’s required for the best viewing experience. Manufacturers measure the width of TVs diagonally from corner to corner and with no regard for the bevel. That measurement may be helpful, but we suggest using a measuring tape and these helpful tips to find your TV’s size and its recommended TV stand width:
- Measure your TV’s height and width for an accurate number. Some say you can take the diagonal screen size and multiply it by 0.87, then add your TV’s frame to the amount.
- Even flat panel TVs have depth. Measure from front to back (including the base) to prevent any potential overhang when integrating your TV into the console.
- Measure your room. Know the floor space available for your entertainment furniture, plus wall space and depth, too.
- Don’t sit too close! An enjoyable viewing experience requires some distance between you and the TV. A person with a 29-inch TV should sit between 3-4 feet from the screen. A 39-inch TV needs to be about 4-5 feet away from you. A 46-inch TV needs 5-6 feet of space. Anything larger than 46 inches should be spaced 7-8 feet from any seat.
- For the most comfortable viewing, the lower half of the TV screen should be level with your line of sight, and no lower than 12 inches below that measurement.
Now that you know your TV’s size, you can match it with a properly proportioned TV stand. A good rule of thumb is to select a stand that’s at least two inches wider than the screen width. Here’s a chart that shows examples of TV sizes and their recommended TV stand width:
|Diagonal TV Measurement||TV Screen Width||Minimum TV Stand Width|
|30 in.||26 in.||28 in.|
|36 in.||31 in.||33 in.|
|40 in.||35 in.||37 in.|
|46 in.||40 in.||42 in.|
|50 in.||44 in.||46 in.|
|56 in.||49 in.||51 in.|
|60 in.||52 in.||54 in.|
Selecting a TV Stand Style
With a vast array of choices, you’re sure to find an entertainment center that matches your existing décor or has a look you love so much that you’re willing to craft your home’s interior design around it! It’s all about personal taste, so here are a few examples of popular TV stand styles and their features:
Transitional style marries traditional and modern aesthetics to create something that’s sophisticated yet simple. These pieces commonly come in neutral tones and the lack of color establishes a serene, welcoming atmosphere.
Traditional models generally feature solid wood or MDF and veneer construction with crown molding and turned or carved legs for a decorative touch. This style’s timeless quality will complement a variety of home furnishings so as you update the rest of your décor throughout the years, your traditional TV stand will tie the whole room together.
Modern TV stands are typically made of metal or glass and offer a sleek look with clean lines and little ornamentation. The more state-of-the-art your electronics are, the cooler they’ll look in a contemporary themed entertainment center. A floating TV stand is another modern option to explore.
Rustic or reclaimed styles are often depicted as country or cottage-inspired designs constructed of lighter wood and more often than not they possess distressed details for an antiqued appearance. It’s traditional, but with the added character only weathering can provide.
Industrial TV stands are designed to make a statement. The industrial style hides nothing, emphasizing every pronounced piece of its construction so as to catch the eye and strike up conversation. Think sharp lines and abrupt mechanical collections. This is a TV stand that tries to be as visually interesting as the TV itself.
Mission-inspired pieces are recommended for those who are drawn to exposed carpentry, hardy oak, and a rich stained finish. Distinguished by simple design and materials, a good Mission piece radiates expert hand craftsmanship.
Light woods, clean lines, and splayed legs give these mid-century designs a distinctive look. Store your media components behind the sliding doors or adjustable open shelves to customize your storage needs.
Of course if you’re more interested in function than form, why not go for a hidden TV wall mount? These nifty brackets are easy to install and can be placed anywhere from the wall to the fireplace and even on the ceiling! Wall mounts are great for saving space, or for people who want to create a theater room where the focus is on their high definition picture, not the stand. Innovative wall-mount hardware comes in a wide range of designs to suit your needs, including fixed wall mount, swivel wall mount, and tilting wall mount styles.
Convenient TV Stand Features
In addition to their mind-blowing clarity, modern TVs also come with the benefit of being incredibly lightweight. Now you can get a truly gorgeous TV stand without the expense of solid oak or the weight of steel to support your big screen. Still, you should always check the weight capacity of any entertainment center you buy because you’ll probably be adding speakers, media, and more to your setup.
Before you buy, determine how you plan to use your entertainment center. A versatile TV console can organize media, manage cables, and keep your setup looking like the clutter-free, gorgeous living room centerpiece you always wanted. If you’re looking for more than just a stand, you’re going to want to keep an eye out for the following features:
- Cabinets – If you need discreet storage for gaming controllers, chargers, and mixed media, the more cabinet space you have, the better. A pair of doors concealing your excess cables and controllers also goes a long way to bringing order to your electronics hub.
- Shelves – For those who like to show off decorative items or put their film collection on display, a set of shelves always does the trick. We recommend finding a unit with adjustable shelves so you can customize your entertainment center to fit your needs. Take inventory of all your favorite electronics and media, and estimate how much bigger you think that collection will grow over the next few years before you buy.
- Wire Management – Often overlooked is the ever-important wire management system. You don’t want to be bothered to drill your own holes into that beautiful new entertainment center so find one that has channels built into the back panel or the frame itself so you can easily run those eager-to-tangle cables into neat rows that stay out of sight and out of mind.
- Lighting – A few built-in lights are great for helping you spot exactly what you’re looking for on movie night. They’re also great for adding a decorative touch to the TV stand, highlighting artwork and collectibles, or creating a dramatic effect around your new flat screen.
- Fireplace – Warm up your room with a built-in electric fireplace TV stand. An on-demand fire is the ultimate convenience for cozying up in the living room. Choose from a variety of fireplace TV stand styles to complement your home’s decor, including many models with a remote control.
Ready to revamp your living room? From cozy cottage to mirrored glam, you’ll find a wide range of the best TV stands from which to choose. By doing some quick measurements and a bit of planning, shopping for a TV stand will be a fun experience that pulls your room together and creates a media center you’ll love, from Saturday morning cartoons ’til the late, late show.