By Emily Peck
Soundbar mounting ideas don't tend to be the first thing you think of when planning your living room decor. But while choosing between Farrow & Ball’s Pointing and Dulux’s Fine Cream paint for the walls is a tough call, sorting out your room’s technology before you pick up a paint brush can be key to the finished look.
It's important to know how you will house your TV and soundbar from the offset, so you can prep with specific tools and call in specialist help to hide all the wiring if needed, for example. Once the basics are in place it should make pulling your decor scheme together that much easier.
If you want decent sound quality when watching TV, one of the best soundbars is an essential piece of kit. The latest designs do more than add enhanced sound effects to your favorite Netflix series. ‘While sound has been improving over the years, the reality is that TVs are getting thinner and there is less space to include powerful speakers, which is why a soundbar is a must,’ says Katrina Mills, TV & AV buyer at John Lewis & Partners.
‘Most TVs will produce good sound for every day viewing, but if you want to create a truly immersive experience a soundbar will do the trick. Many manufacturers create soundbars to be the 'perfect partner' to the TV, fully optimising the sound and picture experience. You can use your soundbar to play music at other times too.’
There are a number of ways you can display your soundbar in your home, incorportating it in into your TV mounting ideas. You can choose from placing it in front of your TV on an attractive media unit, mounting it onto the wall or actually fixing it to your TV.
Soundbar mounting ideas from the experts
1. Mount your soundbar on a feature wall
Take a look at the most streamlined interiors and you’ll notice the trend for floor-to-ceiling joinery. Here everything - including the TV, soundbar, books, records and alike - have their place to create a sense of order to the room scheme. You could easily slot in one of the best surround sound systems and no one would be any the wiser. ‘A major trend we have seen in interiors in recent years is for a feature wall of joinery, incorporating either a fireplace, TV, soundbar or both,’ says Caroline Milns, interior designer at Zulufish.
‘Suited to more contemporary schemes, these feature walls work equally well in basement cinema rooms, luxurious living rooms and open-plan kitchen areas. A media wall keeps your living room looking clean, neat and modern.’
When it comes to soundbar mounting ideas in these feature walls, the design possibilities here exciting. You could have your TV and soundbar mounted to take centre stage in an open-shelved feature wall of joinery, or you could have a bespoke piece built that has doors to hide and reveal your TV and soundbar as and when you like (pictured here at the top).
‘When mounting a soundbar to the wall, you'll want to think about hiding those distracting cables that run from the speaker to the TV and outlet,’ continues Milns. ‘Hiding them on the wall can be accomplished with a cable channel or an in-wall power unit specifically designed for soundbars. It has a separate power module for the TV and soundbar so you can hide all the power and AV cables behind the wall.’
2. Position your soundbar correctly
Owen Maddock, technology specialist at Cinemaworks has installed numerous TVs and soundbars and knows exactly how to mount your TV to a wall. He stresses the importance of placing both the TV and soundbar at the optimum height for viewing and the best sound experience.
‘There are three ways to mount a soundbar - either on a cabinet, fixed to the wall, or fixed to the TV, but you do need to be a little careful placing them in recesses or furniture as soundbars can fire sound sideways. If you have it too close it’s like talking with your hand over your mouth.'
'I really like this set up pictured above as the TV and soundbar are both at a good viewing height so you won't have to crank your neck to watch. The soundbar has speakers firing sideways, so it’s good that it’s not placed into a recess as you could potentially lose all the surround effect.'
3. Highlight your soundbar with feature lighting
Lighting has the ability to transform a room, and if you've got one of the best 40 inch TVs you'll want to show it off. You can use lighting to highlight your soundbar to make enhance your room's style and make a feature of it as shown here.
'The cabinetry for this project pictured above was tailor-made to maximise storage and fit underneath a staircase bulkhead,' says Rob Lessmann, founder of luxury interior design studio Design’d Living. 'The Sonos soundbar and other items on show were made a feature of, through the instalment of inset LED profile lighting provided by Collingwood LED, which is actually dimmable to create a nice mood on an evening.'
Designed by Design'd Living, it's made from veneered oak with an Osmo grey stain, with shelves sprayed with Slaked Lime paint from the Little Green Company.
For a similar effect you could try placing one of these perfect LED smart colour-changing strip lights from Amazon around your soundbar and TV area. Using an app you can control these smart lights remotely to enhance the atmosphere in your room.
4. Mount your soundbar to the wall
Fitting a soundbar straight onto a wall frees up footfall and can therefore maximise the space in a room. ‘Mounting a soundbar on the wall removes the negative effects from acoustically reflective or absorbent surfaces and objects from around the soundbar,’ explains Dean Hayward, head of sound device at Samsung Electronics UK.
‘By removing artefacts that have an adverse impact to the sound quality and by positioning the soundbar on the wall, you can be certain to experience the sound track clearly - just as the director intended.’
To make mounting on the wall as easy as possible, all Samsung Q-Series and S-Series soundbars (pictured here) come with a wall mount in the box. ‘This simple and neat attachment to the wall uses two fixing points and only requires two screws. You need to screw the fixing points into the wall under your TV and then slot the soundbar on. Make sure this is done safely with the correct equipment, of course. The soundbar will then sit as if it was floating under the TV and give an impressive sound boost to your entertainment set up.’
5. Sit your soundbar on a luxurious unit
Sometimes using a soundbar is as simple as taking it out of the box, placing it on your media unit or TV stand and pairing it with your TV. Depending on what style you want to go for - be it minimal and modern, or chic and classic - there are a number of TV stand ideas to choose from online. You'll need to check there is enough space in front of your TV before you commit to a specific freestanding soundbar, however.
Pictured here in this streamlined set up is the Edifier B3 Soundbar with Bluetooth. It has been designed to either sit on a surface or be wall mounted. It comes with a mounting bracket is included in the box should you wish to attach it to the wall. When placing it in front of a TV, it's worth using a spirit level to ensure the surface is even to ensure the best audio quality.
6. Mount your soundbar to suit your interior space
It can be challenging to decide where to place your soundbar to suit your interior décor and room size, but there are some important points to consider when finding the optimum place.
‘Wall mounting your soundbar is fantastic if you're looking to save space in your living room and minimises visible cable connections, which can be hidden in the wall,’ says Roger Batchelor, product marketing consultant at Sound United/Polk Audio UK. We're always keen for suggestions on ways to hide your TV. ‘To do this both the soundbar and TV would need to be wall mounted, preferably by a professional AV installer.
‘Mounting your soundbar on the wall delivers a clearer and more precise sound compared to mounting the soundbar on a TV cabinet. This is especially true when listening to audio with bass frequencies that can cause the cabinet to vibrate. You should consider mounting the soundbar at ear level so that you receive clear reproduction of voice dialogue from your TV.
‘In terms of where to mount your soundbar, it's best to mount it just below the TV rather than above so that the audio is synced closely with the TV picture. If a satellite box, media box, games machine or Blu-ray player are being used, then the advantages above still apply but of course a cabinet of some sort will be needed.’
7. Choose a compact soundbar for the home office
Soundbars can work just as well as part of your home office ideas or bedroom as they can in a living room. For a design that will allow you to switch from work and play – taking zoom calls by day and listening to music or gaming when the day is through - choose a compact solution. A design that will allow you to crank up the music loudly and dance away to release any tension from sitting at your desk all day is just what the doctor orders here at Livingetc.
At 22.2 x 2.9 x 3.4 inches, the Creative Stage 360 soundbar can be placed neatly on your desktop without taking up too much room. It comes with Dolby Atmos – a surround sound technology – for a truly immersive experience. An accompanying subwoofer can also be positioned neatly alongside your desk or to the side of your media unit to add to the impressive sound effects.
Should I buy a surround sound system or a soundbar?
Bear in mind that a soundbar can act as a fully functioning surround-sound system itself. 'Home Theatre Kit's are no longer as sought after as they once were,' says Dean Hayard, head of sound device, Samsung Electronics.
'The true benefit of a soundbar is to create a large amount of sound with many channels - either with a single soundbar or a soundbar combined with an extra subwoofer.
'It is also possible to purchase soundbars with rear speakers such as the Samsung HW-Q950A, which gives you impressive cinematic sound.'
What should I look for when buying a soundbar?
Audio specialists Edifier suggests the following when buying a soundbar:
1.Check the total power output and acoustic configuration to see how powerful your soundbar. Also check whether it comes with a subwoofer built in or separate unit.
2. Ask yourself whether the sound quality and effects can give the experience you want?
3. Check the connector type to see if the input and output can meet your daily needs.
4. Think about whether the style, color and material your soundbar is made from will fit into your home environment and match your TV.
5. Consider your budget and whether it is reasonably priced compared to other soundbars on the market.
One of the UK's most respected tech and smart homes writers, Emily Peck also covers everything from interiors style to decorating trends. She is a contributor to Wired UK, and has also had a column in House Beautiful. She has written for publications such as Grand Designs, Stylist, Shortlist, Woman&Home, BBC, Ideal Home and House & Garden. She was once the Features Editor of Ideal Home.
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