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What Is the Ideal Distance Between the TV and Sofa?

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Are you thinking about rearranging your living room? Or did you just get a new TV and you’re not sure where to put it? While it may seem like an obvious decision, you’ll actually need to put a bit of thought into the ideal distance between the TV and sofa. If you don’t, you could end up straining your eyes and ruining your TV viewing experience.

What Is the Perfect Distance Between the TV and Sofa?

When arranging these pieces of furniture, you should focus on furniture placement, your TV signal, and the room’s decor. As long as the seating furniture is in front of the television, you’re off to a good start.

A sofa facing a moderate sized TV

While you don’t need to take specific measurements, you should pay attention to the distance between the TV and sofa. The ideal distance will depend on the size of the TV, the height of your couch and your own preferences.

How Far Can a TV Be From a Sofa?

When deciding on where to place your TV in relation to your couch, you should take note of the TV’s screen size and resolution. You can find these by checking the instruction manual or the box the TV came in.

A large television mounted on a wall

Screen size is in inches and tells you how large the TV is, like “32-inch” or “50-inch.” Larger TV screens have a wider viewing angle than smaller screens. So, a sofa’s location would need to be farther from a television with a wider screen. The reverse is also true with smaller TV screens.

Woman on a sofa watching something on a large TV

A TV’s resolution is all about how realistic the picture looks. If you have a sharper television, you can move the sofa closer to the television without it straining your eyes. But, if your TV doesn’t have a very high resolution, you should move your couch farther away. If you buy a new TV, the 720s and 1080s are inexpensive compared to 4K and 8K televisions.

How Close Can a Sofa Be to a TV?

A large TV in front of a sofa in a nice living room

Most people determine the distance between a TV and sofa by eyeballing it. Don’t do this. There is an actual mathematical formula for viewing distance called the 8:1 ratio. For every eight TV inches, create one foot of space between the TV and the sofa. 

A living room with a 32-inch TV that is 4 feet away from the sofa (with measurements)

For example, if the TV screen size is 32 inches, divide 32 by 8. The answer, 4, is the number of feet between the TV and the seating area. You shouldn’t put the sofa any closer than that number. If you prefer to push the sofa farther back, one more foot is acceptable before it becomes too far.

A huge TV in front of a pink sofa

In terms of TV resolution, the 8:1 ratio plus 12 inches will work if the resolution is 720p or 720i. If your TV has 1080p or 1080i resolutions, you can follow the 8:1 ratio because the screens are sharper. 

4K or 8K screen resolutions are the clearest because of the improved pixel imaging. So, it’s fine to subtract one foot from the 8:1 ratio. You can be closer to the television without worrying it will affect your eyesight.

Does Sofa Height Determine How Far It Should Be From TV?

Your sofa’s height also plays a part in determining how far your TV should be from it. So, you’ll need to account for the height of all the seating areas in the room. 

When determining how many inches off the floor you should mount the television, the rule is to add 30 inches to the height of the shortest piece of furniture. An alternative option is placing the TV on an adjustable TV stand

Does Sunlight Impact the Distance Between the TV and Sofa?

Sunlight doesn’t affect the distance between the TV and sofa. But, it can negatively affect the viewing experience. Sunlight can distort clarity and brightness, making it challenging to watch TV.

A TV that is showing some glare from the sunlight getting through a large window

So, before determining the distance between the TV and sofa, you need to find the perfect wall position for the TV. Choose a wall that’s perpendicular to the window to reduce any glare from the sun. Don’t choose a location where the TV is across from or parallel to the window.

Does Room Size Affect the Distance Between the TV and Sofa?

Room size doesn’t necessarily affect the distance, but it does affect the TV size. A smaller area may not have ample space to accommodate a large television. 

A TV that is too small for the size of the room

As a result, having a smaller TV means the seating area should be closer to the screen by default. However, remember that you still need to account for resolution. If the resolution is 720i, 720p, or if you still have an analog TV, the viewing distance should be farther away.

A large TV mounted on a wall

And, the reverse is also true. If the room size is larger, you’ll likely have a larger TV. So, your sofa would need to be farther away from it. 

What Happens if You Ignore the Distance Between the TV and Sofa?

If you choose to ignore the ratios for viewing distance, you’ll be jeopardizing image clarity. And, poor image clarity affects your vision and health. Eye strain occurs when you sit too far away from the television screen. 

A blurry image showing two screens

You may experience blurred vision as a result of sitting too close to the television screen. Also, its brightness will cause dry, burning, and watery eyes. The picture will also appear more pixelated because of it. 

An Asian woman on a sofa obviously experiencing some kind of pain in the neck and shoulder

In addition, your head and neck will also feel the effects of incorrect distance between the TV and sofa. 


There is no one-size-fits-all solution in this situation. The ideal distance between the TV and sofa will depend on several different aspects. TV resolution, screen size, and sofa height all play a part in determining the viewing distance between the TV and sofa. 

Failure to pay attention to these details can cause negative side effects for your eyes, neck, and head. So, you should take the time to take these measurements in order to protect your eyes, prevent pain, and enjoy watching TV.

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