How to measure a TV

How to Measure a TV

As the majority of shopping has moved online, it’s now more important than ever to understand how to measure a TV so you can be confident that the model you’re admiring will fit in your space.

Thankfully, measuring your television is incredibly simple. All you’ll need is a measuring tape or a smartphone.

Measuring Your TV in Stores

Retailers note television sizes by the diagonal measurement in inches from one corner to the opposite corner, excluding the TV’s frame (called the “bezel”).

In other words, if you’re considering a 42” flat-screen television, its screen is 42 inches from the bottom left corner to the top right corner. 

Measuring Your TV at Home: Step by Step

To measure your television at home, measure from one diagonal corner to the other, making sure to exclude the TV’s frame. This can be most easily done using a traditional tape measure, but if you don’t own one—or yours is lost in the never-ending abyss of your junk drawer—there are a number of downloadable apps such as Measure by Apple or Measure by Google (creative names, we know).

From there, there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the best size TV for your particular space. Most retailers will advocate for a larger size, which very conveniently is almost always a higher price.

If the largest size TV is not ideal for your space, and you’re still unsure on size, there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the right TV for your space.

What to Keep in Mind for Measuring Your TV

  • Know where your TV will be located.
    • Measure the furniture or wall where your TV will rest and include the height and width of the entire unit (including the frame) when deciding if your space allows for the television you’re considering.
      • Give yourself some wiggle room: allot at least 2 inches of extra space on each side, front, and back of your TV’s resting space. 
      • Don’t forget to consider a TV’s depth if it’ll be balancing on top of furniture. 
  • Consider your couch.
    •  In what’s generally considered an ideal viewing experience, the TV screen occupies 40 degrees of your field of vision. 
    • To calculate, take your screen size x 1.2
      • The number is the distance you should be sitting away. 
      • For example, if your TV is 42 inches, your calculation would be: 42 x 1.2 = 50.4. Therefore, your couch or seating area should be around 50.4 inches away from your TV. 

As with any type of equipment or furniture, homemade cardboard cutouts are a highly effective tool for better visualizing how a specific sized TV would look in your space. Before you commit to an expensive television, try cutting a recycled shipping box to the exact dimensions of the model in question. Remember, if you try turning on the cardboard box, you may have been stuck indoors for too long. A little fresh air usually does the trick. 


In the end, knowing how to measure a TV can help you plan your space, upgrade your current setup, or even set a budget for your monthly energy bill. The key points to keep in mind are to exclude the bezel, go big (if you can), and give yourself some extra space. From there, just try to remember where you put the remote!  

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Devin Fuller

Devin Fuller formerly traveled the world as a fashion model, and now resides in San Francisco, CA. She loves being active outside, mostly climbing, sometimes surfing, and always eating and drinking well.