If you follow me on Instagram, you know that it took me a few tries to get my TV correctly mounted in my apartment. I seem to have a knack for learning design rules and proportions the hard way—as evidenced by the great rug debate, the time I bought a palm plant from Wayfair and swapped it out for a faux fiddle leaf fig, and the time I bought nightstands that were far too short—and, now, mounting a TV. Since it took me a while to get the TV up, I figured I’d share a few lessons learned in case you ever find yourself wanting to mount a TV, too.
To back things up a bit, in July, I found the apartment unit I live in now come available online and popped over one day after work to tour the building. I was given a floor plan and able to see the exact unit, but did not have the exact dimensions of the space. Because I had been able to walk through the space, I knew that most of my furniture would fit (sans dining room table), but wasn’t sure what the exact layout would end up being. I was able to pick up my keys the day before I moved in, and luckily, had the foresight to bring a tape measure with me so that I could determine the layout of my new space and confirm whether or not everything would fit before making the movers haul it over. I realized pretty quickly that both my TV stand and my coffee table wouldn’t both fit.
With this new knowledge, I decided pretty quickly that I would rather take my coffee table with me. For one, I love displaying some of my favorite coffee table books on it and it serves as a great drink holder while I’m watching TV. For another, I knew I could easily mount my TV and save that space.
Since I was going to be mounting my TV, I used the opportunity to buy a new Samsung Smart TV. My old TV was about five years old, and while it still worked fine, it didn’t always stay connected to the Internet well, which was really important to me since I no longer pay for cable and rely solely on streaming Hulu/Netflix/Amazon Prime for my entertainment needs. I also upgraded in size—my old TV was 32″, which while it is definitely a great size for apartments, especially when on a TV stand, I thought it would proportionally look very small when mounted on a large wall. I was able to snag this 50″ Samsung Smart TV from Walmart for under $400 with free two-day shipping. The quality of the picture on this TV is so much better than my old TV, and I am really glad I upgraded.
Once I had the TV in hand, I put out a listing on Thumbtack to find someone to mount my TV. I’ve used Thumbtack for a few years for all sorts of odd jobs around my apartments, and really like it because you get a variety of quotes pretty quickly. I found a contractor who was available the date and time I needed, and asked him for his recommendation for a TV mount. He recommended a $20 one from Walmart, and I bought it. Despite having decent reviews, he cancelled on me last-minute the morning he was supposed to come. I was able to find another contractor to come that same day, but it turned out that the initial contractor recommended a really weak TV mount that wasn’t compatible with my Samsung TV.
Samsung TV have curved backs, so when reading researching TV mounts, it’s important to check whether or not they are Samsung compatible, which is something I didn’t initially do. The curved backs require really long screws, which my new contractor said are available at some hardware stores, but since I’m the least handy person ever, I just wanted a one-and-done kit ready for installation. Before I bought this mount at the recommendation my new contractor, I read a ton of reviews just to double, triple check his recommendation.
You’ll note that this new mount is around $50, so a bit more of an investment than my initial purchase—and much more sturdy in the long run! It’s also a tilt mount, which was important to me. Since my apartment is so small, my couch sits much closer to my TV than in your standard apartment. The ability to tilt my TV down by between 5-10 degrees from a 90-degree angle has really helped the viewing experience be that much better. In the photo above, you can see how the mount is affixed to the wall. Because it is a tilt mount, it does sit a little bit further off the wall than if you had a standard mount, but I still don’t find it to be obtrusive.
When my new contractor came back to hang my TV with the new mount—I was so nervous it wasn’t going to work, but thankfully, the new mount was compatible with the TV!—he asked me how high I wanted my TV. He recommended five feet from the ground to the bottom of the mount as a standard height placement, and I went with his recommendation. I was standing up looking at the TV the entire time he was installing it, and the moment he left and I sat down, I knew we had hung it too high. His recommendation would have been perfect for a standard family room in a single family house, but since my couch and the wall are no more than three feet apart from each other, I felt like I was sitting in the front row of a movie theater.
My new contractor came back a few days later to drop it down lower for me, and we moved it down by 14 inches to 45 inches from the ground to the bottom of the mount. I’ve found this new height to be perfect—and so much better for my neck! Regardless of the size of your space, aim to mount your TV at about eye level—even if it’s lower than some of your artwork or is lower than you think it should be. It’s worth it to have a TV that’s not painful to watch!
Two other quick things to note—one, to protect your TV and your walls, make sure that you’re always mounting your TV into the studs. If your contractor doesn’t use a stud finder, don’t let them hang the TV! Two, because the mount does screw into the wall, it leaves holes that are larger than a typical nail you use to hang photos. When we dropped my TV lower, all four of the initial screw holes were visible. My contractor spackled them for me, I sanded them down after they were dry, and then put in a maintenance request for my building to come paint them. You can’t even see them now, and knowing how easy it was to fix them, I’m not even worried about patching the holes when I move out—which hopefully is a long time from now.
If I owned my home, I would have cut a hole in the drywall and hidden my cords that way, but since I rent, I didn’t want to do that much damage to the walls. As such, I opted to hide my cords with these cord covers I found on Amazon. You’ll note it’s not perfect—the power cord that comes with my Samsung TV is very short, so I had to buy a six foot extension cord to connect to the closest outlet. But the plug parts of both the power cord and the extension cord are very thick, and thus, don’t fit under the cord covers I bought. Instead of searching for an alternative option, I just left that part out of the cord cover, as shown above. The extension cord is also longer than the cord cover, so there’s some excess at the end. Like I said, it’s not perfect—but better than having black cords dangle about.
Even though it was definitely longer of a process than I initially expected to mount my TV, now that it’s done, I’m so glad I did it—and would definitely mount a TV again. If you have any questions about my TV mounting process, definitely drop me a note and I’ll try to help!
(*Also, I should note that it might be time to invest in a wide angle lens since all of these photos except for one were taken on my iPhone since my current 35mm lens couldn’t capture the room!)