Is a 48-inch TV Too Small for a Living Room?

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Most people opt to buy 55-inch TVs but some are intimidated by the size or don’t want to spend so much for a TV.

This results in them turning to a 48-inch, but a reasonable concern many have is if a 48-inch would be optimal for a living room.

I will attempt to answer this question below.

Is a 48-inch TV too small for a living room?

A 48-inch TV can work well in a living room, depending on the room size and seating arrangement.

Optimal viewing distance matters more than size; within 6-10 feet, it can provide a comfortable and pleasant experience for viewers.

However, if you want a more immersive experience while watching TV shows and movies then I recommend getting at least a 55-inch TV.

With that being said if you are motivated to buy a 48-inch TV then there are several great options to choose from, I go over the best 48 inch TVs later in this article if you want to skip ahead.

A 48-inch TV is small for a living room but it can work


Ideally, a 55-inch is the smallest I recommend if you want to watch high-quality video on a TV but I myself own several 48-inch TV’s in my living space.

One in the living room and one in a guest bedroom. Two Sony OLEDs to be exact.

I would not do this again though, In fact, I kind of regret it, If I could go back I’d get a 55-inch QLED for cheap, something like the TCL Q6 (affiliate link). QLEDs are great for rooms that have external light coming in through the windows. They have great peak brightness and anti-glare technology making them optimal for any type of room. Something that cannot be said for OLED. The TCL Q6 is the definitive budget TV on the market it tops my buyer’s guide for the best budget 4k tv.

TCL 55-Inch Q6 QLED 4K TV
  • 55 INCH 4K TV: Enjoy enhanced contrast, accurate colors, and fine details with our TCL 55-Inch Q6 QLED 4K Smart TV; Engineered with HDR PRO+ technology, including Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10+, and HLG for a breathtaking, vibrant picture quality
  • QLED - QUANTUM DOT TECHNOLOGY: With over a billion colors, this 55 inch QLED TV showcases Quantum Dot Technology with UltraWide Color Gamut; With a HighBright Direct LED Backlight, our TCL QLED TVs produce brighter images for an enhanced viewing experience
  • GOOGLE TV ENABLED: Experience UHD entertainment with Google Chromecast on this 55 inch smart tv; With the ability to cast directly from a mobile device, it offers a range of streaming services, bringing your favorite movies, shows, and live shows together
  • MOTION RATE 240 AND MEMC FRAME INSERTION: Combining multiple motion enhancement technologies, this 4K UHD TV handles fast-paced scenes with ease; Breathing life into every image, our TCL 55 Inch TV ensures exceptional motion clarity
  • GAME ACCELERATOR 120: Equipped with our Game Accelerator 120, this 120Hz TV provides a more responsive gameplay without lag; Also boasting a variable refresh rate powered by AMD FreeSync, this gaming TV is designed to keep you at the top of any leaderboard
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48-inch displays are usually cheaper and make sense for a living room if you just want to casually watch TV with your friends and family and are not worried about watching things in the highest quality format or on bigger screen.

Although If you want to experience movies or tv shows in incredible quality then I’d recommend a bigger screen for a better effect.

How far should you sit from a 48-inch TV?


One of the key factors that determine the suitability of a TV size for a living room is the viewing distance.

The ideal viewing distance can vary based on the screen resolution (2k, 4k, 8k), content type, and personal preference.

For a 48-inch TV, the optimal viewing distance typically ranges from 6 to 10 feet.

This means that if you are sitting within this range, you can enjoy a comfortable and immersive viewing experience without straining your eyes.

However, this is not a hard rule.

If you want a 4K TV I’d recommend sitting about 7 feet from a 48 inch TV which can be almost impossible in a living room.

However, if you don’t care so much about resolution then this does not matter.

Room placement and layout: Where will the TV be placed?

The layout of your living room plays a crucial role in determining whether a 48-inch TV is too small.

Consider the seating arrangement in your living space.

If your seating is arranged in a way that everyone can comfortably view the screen within the recommended distance, a 48-inch TV can provide an enjoyable experience for everyone.

Additionally, the placement of furniture, such as sofas and chairs, can be adjusted to optimize the viewing angles and make the TV appear larger than its physical size.

Screen resolution and content quality: How will you be using the TV?


Another aspect to consider is the screen resolution of the TV.

Modern 48-inch TVs often come with 4K resolution, providing a sharper and more detailed picture quality.

With 4K content becoming increasingly accessible through streaming platforms, the visual experience is significantly enhanced, even on a smaller screen.

High-quality content, combined with a suitable viewing distance, can create a cinematic experience that makes the TV size feel less significant.

However, as mentioned before if you are sitting too far from the TV this effect is diminished.

I recommend going with a bigger television if you want to fully experience the perks of 4k and High dynamic range (HDR).

I own a 48 Inch TV in my living room: My Experience

As mentioned before I own a 48-inch TV in my living room and guest bedroom, two Sony A90K’s (affiliate link).

Personally, as mentioned before I would have rather gone with the TCL Q6 (affiliate link) but my two 48-inch TVs are of stellar quality, both are OLEDs equipped with the latest HDR technology, Dolby Vision.

Although I don’t necessarily utilize this technology much and instead watch the news, YouTube, or an occasional Netflix show or movie with my family.

Which is honestly dumb and I wouldn’t do this again.

I choose to have my dedicated Movie watching area in my bedroom, where I have a 55-inch Sony A80J.

I chose to do this because I can much better control the lighting in that room. Which is very important.

I also am much more likely not to disturb my neighbors with audio from that room as I only share walls with the guest bedroom of my upstairs neighbor.

Which they don’t usually use.

Otherwise, my building isn’t attached to anyone else.

Living rooms are sometimes not optimal for high-quality picture

Most living rooms are plagued by issues such as glare and sunlight reflection which can cause significant problems especially if you are watching something on your TV during the day.

They are also often not the best place to put a TV.

Personally, my own 48-inch TV is situated above a fireplace which is not a good idea but I can get away with it because I live in Southern California and that thing almost never comes on.

However, if you live in a place that gets cold and you turn on the fireplace it can damage your television over time.

Just take into consideration where you are placing your TV and what environment it will be in.

There are so many factors you have to think about

Time to buy a TV

I’m going to recommend TVs that have all the bells and whistles of a typical 4k TV ranging from 400 to 1,400 dollars.

Again, I recommend getting a 55-inch TCL Q6 (affiliate link) but if you are hell-bent on a 48-inch I got you covered.

If you want to get a bigger or better TV I recommend reading my buyer’s guide where I give you the best overall TV’s on the market as well as the best budget TV’s.

Best TVs for a living room: 48 inches

Best Overall
LG C3 Series 48-Inch Class OLED
  • LG OLED EVO: The LG OLED evo is powered by the a9 AI Processor Gen6made exclusively for LG OLED for beautiful picture and performance. The Brightness Booster improves brightness so you get luminous picture and high contrast, even in well-lit rooms.* AI-assisted deep learning analyzes what you're watching to choose the best picture and sound setting for your content.
  • ULTIMATE GAMING: Packed with gaming features, the LG OLED evo C-Series comes with everything you need to win. Experience crisp, smooth imagery from a 0.1ms response time and native 120Hz refresh rate. All LG OLED TVs have NVIDIA G-Sync, AMD FreeSync Premium and VRR to further improve gaming quality. Four HDMI 2.1 inputs allow you to plug in all the devices you need. Whether you game on consoles or on the cloud,* the LG Game Dashboard and Game Optimizer put all the control at your fingertips.
Best Value
Sony 48 Inch 4K Ultra HD TV A90K Series
  • INTELLIGENT TV PROCESSING The Cognitive Processor XR understands how humans see the real world to deliver intense contrast with deep blacks, high peak brightness, and natural colors..Standby Power :0.5 watts
  • OLED CONTRAST XR OLED Contrast Pro technology allows you to feel the beauty of OLED with immersive depth and realism, pure black, and lifelike brightness.
  • WIDE SPECTRUM OF COLORS - Rediscover everything you watch with billions of accurate colors and see impressive picture quality that is natural and beautiful, enhanced by XR Triluminos Pro.
  • ENHANCED ENTERTAINMENT Experience immersive and engaging cinematic content as the creator intended with support for Dolby Vision, IMAX Enhanced, and Netflix Adaptive Calibrated Mode.
Budget Pick
TCL Class 5-Series 4K QLED
  • Superior 4K Ultra HD: Picture clarity combined with the contrast, color, and detail of Dolby Vision HDR (High Dynamic Range) for the most lifelike picture.Controller type:Remote Control.Standby Power :0.5 watts
  • QLED: Quantum dot technology delivers more than a billion colors with greater accuracy, better brightness, and wider color volume, matching the format used by most cinema screens and Hollywood content creators. This provides exceptionally vivid and lifelike picture performance.
  • Contrast Control Zones: Contrast is optimized across up to 60 localized zones for striking distinction between bright and dark areas of the image for maximum detail, depth, and dimension.
  • HDR Pro Pack with Dolby Vision: Enjoy a truly cinematic experience at home with striking brightness, incredible contrast, and amazingly lifelike color with support for Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10 plus and HLG.
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