Wall-mounted TVOnce upon a time, buying a “big screen” TV meant shelling out a small fortune to watch fuzzy video on a bulky appliance the size of a bedroom dresser. Times have certainly changed. Today, less than $400 will score you a 55-inch panel with pristine image quality that you can hang from the wall.

Now that “big screen” TVs have become so common as to not even warrant the name, just how big should you go with your next TV purchase? It’s a simple question that’s not always easy to answer. Thankfully, there’s a straightforward formula that can help you decide.

Finding the ideal screen size

If you’ve ever sat front row at a movie theater, you know that getting up close and personal to a large screen can be overwhelming. Sitting too close to a big screen or too far from a small one is no fun. That’s why the intended viewing distance for your TV is an important factor in choosing a screen size.

Several video industry groups have offered simple formulas to determine the ideal screen size for your TV needs. THX recommends multiplying the viewing distance (in inches) by 0.84 to get their ideal screen size. For example, the popular TV viewing distance of 9 feet (108 inches) would suggest a screen size of about 90 inches (0.84 x 108 = 90.72). The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers recommends a more modest multiplier of 0.625, which equals a 68-inch screen for the same 9-foot viewing distance (0.625 x 108 = 67.5).

These recommendations aren’t hard and fast rules, but they should give you an idea of what size screen will offer a good viewing experience for your home setup.

Limiting factors to consider

It’s not always possible or advisable to go with a TV as big as the formulas above recommend. Before you commit to your purchase, follow these considerations:

  • Space: Measure the wall, entertainment center or other space where you plan to install your TV to ensure it can accommodate the model you choose.
  • Views: Arrange your seating area and other furniture as desired and check to guarantee nothing will obstruct the views of your planned TV size.
  • Décor: Even with today’s stylish designs, a big black rectangle can easily overwhelm a room’s décor, so make sure your pick doesn’t clash with your room’s aesthetics.
  • Budget: While TVs are cheaper than ever, don’t get so carried away chasing screen sizes that you break your budget.

Keep in mind that common TV screen size measurements refer to the diagonal distance across the screen. Look up the specs for a specific model to learn the exact dimensions of the entire TV.

To help visualize the size and look of a new TV, you can cut out a large sheet of cardboard or paper and hang it where you plan to place the device. And don’t forget to consider how high to position your screen.

With your perfectly sized TV picked out and installed, you can look forward to binge watching your favorite shows in their big-screen, high-definition glory.

The art of downsizing your home

Eventually, many homeowners face the same question: to downsize or to stay in the family home? Whether you’re an empty nester or simply want lower expenses and less upkeep, downsizing is a popular move for homeowners who are ready for a change. Here’s what you need to consider to make sure your downsize is done right.

Who will stay at the new home?

The prospect of a cozy one-bedroom home may be tempting, but don’t forget to take guests into consideration. Will your children come to visit frequently? Will out-of-town family members want to crash at your pad over the holidays? If you want these guests to be welcome, you may need a spare bedroom or at least a pull-out sofa in your new home.

Where are you moving to?

A smaller home doesn’t necessarily mean lower expenses or even less upkeep. Moving from a small town residence to a big city condo will likely come with high taxes and association fees. Likewise, moving from a property in a managed community to a standalone home can add significantly to your maintenance tasks. Make sure you understand everything that comes with your new address.

Why are you downsizing?

What do you want to get from your new home? Lower bills? Less upkeep? Better access to amenities, friends and family or destinations? Your dream neighborhood or location?  No matter your reasoning, develop clear goals for your move so you can effectively navigate the decisions you’ll encounter along the way.

Once your downsize plan is in place, it’s time to prepare for your move. Get rid of the belongings you can’t keep by divvying everything up into categories such as keep, sell, donate and throw out. Host a yard sale, or sell big items online, then use the funds to purchase more compact, functional pieces for your new space. Once your work is done and your move is complete, you can relax and enjoy the benefits of your downsized digs.

  • By: Draper and Kramer Mortgage Corp.
  • In: Housing, Tips
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