Pouring a glass of your favourite, sitting down with a plate, and flicking on the TV for your Sunday programming. It should be the most relaxing part of your week, but in the long run it can actually be a damaging process.

As Gordon Subritzky from The Fireplace points out, he has noticed a lot of people setting up their televisions above fireplaces – twin centrepieces of the living room, if you will. While putting one above the other seems like a good idea, he says it can actually cause neck issues.

“If someone sits relatively close, say three to four metres from the wall where a TV is situated in an elevated position, this requires a small but elevated position of the head that is a natural reaction so that eye strain does not result,” he says.

“Over longer periods of time, that neck work can cause muscle strain.”

He likens it to having to sit at the front of the movie theatre, but a much longer-term process. While reclining chairs are one solution, it isn’t always the best move when you have many people that use the television at once. So how can you address the issue? By bringing the television down to eye level, of course.

Side by Side, step by step
“We are advised that the ideal viewing level to avoid eye muscle and neck muscle strain is at normal seated eye level or lower,” Subritzky says. As a direct response to this problem, they developed the Side by Side unit.

“The Side by Side unit was designed to harmonise with a Stovax Studio 2 clean air approved wood fire – it is nicely combined so that the major entertainment appliances are all contained in a centralised unit,” he adds.

“It is simply a very logical solution that ensures one’s eye level is in harmony with a normal head stance when sitting and viewing a TV screen.”

While this might not be a retroactive move for your lounge, it is certainly one to take on board for home owners, designers and architects that are working on new living spaces. Creating room for both centrepieces of a lounge without the long-term ill impacts on neck muscles should be an important consideration.

Bring it all together
The Fireplace haven’t just snapped their fingers and conjured this out of thin air, either. They spoke to an orthopaedic surgeon, developed the design with their in-house CAD specialist and released the Side by Side to the public. It was met with such a good initial response that it is now an official extension to their Stovax Studio 2 products.

By bringing all of your entertainment for the living room into one unit, you create a centralised hub for your enjoyment. Being able to couple this with a design that doesn’t strain your neck isn’t something everyone has room to do – but for those that can, it’s well worth a look.

Anyone creating a living space should consider the strain repetitive elevation of the head can do, and design the space accordingly. Side by Side aims to facilitate this.