How far should your sofa be from your TV? Most people just take a guess, or put their TV and couch on opposite sides of the room. But there’s an optimal viewing distance for every TV. You can figure out exactly what the distance between your sofa and TV should be based on two things—the size of the TV screen and the resolution of your TV.
Why Screen Size Matters
The first thing you have to consider when deciding where to place your TV and couch is the size of your TV. It’s pretty simple—if you have a bigger TV, your optimal viewing distance is going to be further away. This is because if you sit too close, your eyes won’t be able to focus. Plus, you can sit further away from a big TV and still see all the details without straining your eyes.
On the other hand, if you’re sitting too far from a smaller TV, you won’t be able to see every detail. But if you have a small space, you may want to get a small TV screen that will allow you to sit closer.
Why Resolution Matters
It makes sense that the size of your TV screen affects how far away you sit—after all, you can’t sit too far away from a 25” screen or you won’t see anything. But why does the resolution of the TV matter? First, you have to understand what resolution is. The resolution of a TV refers to the number of pixels per square inch. More pixels means a higher resolution.
The resolution of a standard TV is 720p, or 720 pixels per inch. But almost every new TV on the market is an HD, or high definition, TV. HD TVs have a resolution of 1080p—they have more pixels per inch and therefore a clearer picture. Finally, there’s Ultra HD or 4k TVs which have a resolution of 4000p.
But how does this affect the distance between your couch and your TV? The higher the resolution of your TV, the closer you can sit to your TV—provided the TVs you’re comparing are the same size. On a 50” TV with a 1080p resolution, the pixels are bigger than on a 50” TV with 4k resolution. That’s because there are more pixels. So you can sit closer to the 4k TV and still not be bothered by seeing every pixel, which makes the picture look worse.
On the other hand, if you want to sit father away, you needn’t bother buying a higher resolution TV. From a certain distance, your eyes can’t tell the difference between HD and UHD.
It’s hard to calculate exactly how much distance you need between every TV and couch, but there are some guidelines you can follow.
1080p (HD) TVs:
- 32 inch screen—4.5 feet away
- 36 inch screen—5 feet away
- 42 inch screen—6 feet away
- 50 inch screen—7 feet away
- 60 inch screen—8.5 feet away
- 70 inch screen—10 feet away
4k (Ultra HD) TVs:
- 32 inch screen—3 feet away
- 36 inch screen—3.5 feet away
- 42 inch screen—4 feet away
- 50 inch screen—5 feet away
- 60 inch screen—6 feet away
- 70 inch screen—7 feet away
These are only guidelines, but you can use them as a baseline for designing the layout of your living room or other TV-watching spaces. Stay within a foot or so of these guides and you’ll have a better view when watching TV.