If you're looking to boost your home theater set up with a projector, you may be wondering whether mounting it to the ceiling or wall would be the most effective way to avoid messy cables and space. It's true that projectors aren't always the best-looking thing in your home, and mounting them can help create the home cinema vibe you're searching for with on-demand entertainment on the biggest screen possible.
There are a few things to consider before getting the power tools out, however, including looking at the space you have, the position of furniture, the best angle, and even the height of your walls and ceilings. A projector with effective keystone correction gives you more options, but you're always going to be slightly limited in where you place your device.
In this guide, we will troubleshoot some of the most common problems, offering advice on how to find the best position for your new projector. For more recommendations, head on over to our guide to the best projectors.
Ceiling, wall or shelf mount?
Speaking generally, you will have the choice of ceiling, wall or shelf mounting when fixing your projector. Each have their pros and cons, but one will definitely suit your individual needs more than the others.
Ceiling mounts are great for getting the best position for your projector without sacrificing space in the room. Out of the way but always in range of a remote or smartphone, having your projector on the ceiling is more convenient and potentially safer for young families or pet-owners. For obvious reasons, it's crucial to get a mount designed to hold the weight of your projector, and ensure it is adjustable so you can find the right angle.
Wall mounts are better for anyone not interested in creating holes in the ceiling (potentially more problematic to hide for renters), and they are better for smaller or more lightweight models that won't stick out too much. Make sure they are out of the way so the image isn't disturbed whenever someone walks into the kitchen.
Shelf mounting is the easiest of the three, and perfect if your projector won't stay in one spot for long (more on this below). If you already have a shelf opposite the wall you plan to project onto, perfect, but you can also install an inexpensive floating shelf like this one on Amazon in the ideal spot.
Think about the ideal room layout
There are many things you won't be able to change about your space that will impact how well a mounted projector performs. This includes lighting, the ceiling height in the room, where your seating and other furniture is, and additional devices like speakers and surround sound systems that you may want to use in tandem with your projector.
Lighting is key, as many projectors struggle with direct sunlight or excessive ambient light. This is why projectors always work best at night or with the curtains drawn, but if you want to be able to fire it up at any time of day, pick a wall that doesn't get much light. Position your projector opposite this space. You can read more about this in our guide to positioning your TV in bright rooms.
Ceiling height also matters a lot, as you want to be comfortable when watching. If opting for a ceiling mount, you will need to consider how adjustable it is before installing it. If the projection is too high (or too low), the viewing experience won't be optimal, so make sure your mount compensates for high or low ceilings.
If you're mounting a projector in your lounge or bedroom, you can't easily rearrange the furniture, so think long and hard about where the best place for your seating is. It's always easier to work backwards from how your home looks now rather than trying to fit sofas, coffee tables, and TV stands around a projector screen.
Will your projector be a permanent fixture?
We would be amiss if we didn't remind you at this point in the guide that you don't actually need to mount your projector if it doesn't fit your needs.
The best outdoor projectors give you the benefit of both worlds, as you can enjoy movies and shows indoors or out in the backyard. Typically, this refers to a portable projector that comes with a tripod so the height of the projector can be adjusted. Alternatively, a shelf mount would work here for an ad hoc place to set up a home theater. Outdoor projectors are also cheaper than indoor models.
Of course, mounting a projector has its advantages, namely convenience. If you're looking to replace your TV with a projector completely, you'll want a fixed place to sit down and enjoy whenever you want. Then there's the aesthetics, and mounted technology is almost always less disruptive to a room than something you have to bring out and pack away again.
How big is your projector screen?
It's not just the placement of your projector screen that you need to consider, but also its size. Choosing a screen for your entertainment may be just as critical as thinking about the projector, so don't leave this until last if you can help it.
Choosing the correct sized screen for your space depends on the throw ratio of your projector, as a short-throw projector can create a large image even when positioned close to the wall. Meanwhile, a regular throw model will need to be placed a certain distance away, and the image will shrink the closer you get.
Of course, this is an even bigger issue if you're planning to mount your projector, as a wall mount will likely be positioned behind the seating area. You will need to experiment with how far away you can get without distorting the image or creating a projection that is too small or too large for your screen.
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Caroline is the smart home ecommerce editor for Livingetc, covering everything tech for the home, from smart speakers to air purifiers and everything in between. She is passionate about the role that technology and smart devices can play in daily life, enhancing the home without sacrificing personal style and carefully chosen interiors. In her spare time, she can be found tinkering with bulbs, soundbars, and video doorbells in an effort to automate every part of her small home. Previously, she lent her expertise to the likes of Expert Reviews, IT Pro, Coach, The Week, and more.
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