man sitting on floor watching tv

What Size TV Is Best For A Dorm Room?

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 04:23 pm

Choosing a new TV for your dorm room is one of the first exciting decisions you make as you start living on your own, and it isn’t easy!

Wondering about the best TV size for a dorm room?

There’s no clear-cut one size fits all answer. It’s a decision you need to make according to several factors in addition to your personal preference.

Read on for more about the main factors that determine the best TV for your dorm room.

This article also lists the advantages and disadvantages of having a TV in your dorm room, as well as the features that you may need in your dorm room TV.

Best Size TV For A Dorm Room

If you are looking for a TV to use in a dorm room, a 19-inch to 43-inch is the proper size for this space. You need to factor in the viewing distance and screen resolution to ensure you are not using a TV that is too big or too small.

Rear View Of Couple Watching Film In Living Room

What to Consider When Choosing the Ideal Size TV For Your Dorm Room?

Regardless of the room you are placing the TV, the main considerations for choosing the right size TV will be viewing distance and screen resolution.

The Size of Your Dorm Room

Dorm rooms are typically small spaces about 12′ x 20′ which is less than the the average living room size. So, you need to think smartly when choosing what to put in it.

We recommend that you buy your TV after visiting your dorm room and seeing its arrangement.

On average, students prefer 32″ TVs, which some people consider a small size. Others opt for larger screens when the TV is a considerable distance away from the seating area.

Depending on the size of your dorm room, you can use the following formula to determine what size TV is best.

Viewing distance in inches (seating distance) x 0.625 = recommended TV size

For example, let’s say we have a room that measures 12×20. We measure the distance from our chair or sofa to be 5 feet or 60 inches to the wall where a TV will be placed.

60 inches x 0.625 = 37.5

Based on this example, a 37-inch is the correct size to choose.

Empy student bedroom decorated with twinkle lights and teddy bears.

Viewing Distance

Think of where you’ll be sitting to watch your favorite sitcom or play a game on your TV screen.

Are you going to be sitting at the desk where your TV sits? Or would you be on the bed in your bedroom or couch across the room?

Perhaps watching a movie with friends?

The distance from the TV also has a say in the size you should get. Ideally, you should sit between four and six feet away from your screen for the best view.

To calculate viewing distance, you need to know 2 things.

  • TV size
  • Screen resolution

TV Size

The TV size or TV screen size is the TV screen measured diagonally from corner to corner.

For example, a 32-inch TV measures 32 inches from corner to corner not including the frame.

32 inch tv dimensions

Screen Resolution

Screen resolution refers to the number of pixels that can be shown horizontally and vertically.

For example, if you have a 1080P TV, it will have 1920 x 1080, which means that the screen has 1920 pixels horizontally and 1080 pixels vertically.

A 4K TV will have 3840 x 2160 pixels which is great.

4K television display with comparison of resolutions. Ultra HD on on modern TV

Your choice of TV resolution is an essential factor in choosing its size. Typically, low-resolution TVs give a clearer picture when their size is small because the picture doesn’t get pixelated.

On the contrary, high-resolution TVs give a clearer picture on a large screen.

If you’re opting for a 4K-resolution TV, it’s better to choose a larger TV to have a clear, crisp picture.

On the other hand, getting a large but low-resolution TV won’t give you a pleasant watching experience.

Once we know both the TV size and screen resolution, we can calculate how far to sit from the TV by using the following formulas.

According to Sony, the suggested viewing distance for a 4K TV is 1.5 x the TV’s vertical screen size.

For high definition models, they recommend a viewing distance of 3 x the TV’s vertical screen size.

CHECK OUT  Understanding TV Viewing Distance (Complete Guide)

For standard definition models, they recommend a viewing distance of 6 x the TV’s vertical screen size.

For example, a 32-inch 4K TV with a height of 19 inches, should have a viewing distance of 28.5 inches.

A 40-inch 1080P TV with a height of 22 inches, should have a viewing distance of 66 inches.

That said, this is an approximate distance, so you should still adjust the position of your screen to your liking.

Other considerations include:


In addition to the room size, you also need to consider whether you’re sharing the space with a roommate. If you do not have the entire room for yourself, the area isn’t all yours. 

Therefore, you should either coordinate with your roommate to decide on a good spot for the TV or calculate your share of the space when choosing your TV.

In some cases, your roommate may not welcome the presence of a television in the room altogether. So, you need to check with them first.

The Rules of Your Dorm

Another reason not to purchase your TV until you see the room for yourself is that every dorm has its regulations. Some dorms don’t allow you to have TVs at all.

Most dorms allow you to get your complimentary equipment, like a TV. However, they may set regulations for the sizes and placement. So, we recommend that you check your dorm’s regulations first.

The Placement of Your TV

Does your dorm room allow you to wall mount your TV? Some dorm rooms’ walls aren’t made of concrete, so you’ll need anchors or screws to mount the TV.

In other cases, you’d have to drill through the wall to mount it, which isn’t always allowed.

If you’ll be placing your TV on a desk or table, you need to recalculate the distance, as this piece of furniture may bring your TV a little forward.

small tv on a desk

Your Budget

Now, that you’re on your own, you need to start spending responsibly. Check your budget before you determine the size of your new TV.

While most dorm size appropriate TVs are affordable, you still shouldn’t break the bank to get a TV. Weigh out the features, sizes, and price before you make your purchase.

Your Future Plans

Something else to consider is your future plans.

Do you plan to keep this TV after you move out of the college dorm room? If yes, you need to invest in a good TV that can last long and give you the features you may want in the future. 

In addition, you should consider a larger screen since you’ll be using it in an apartment later. You should also remember that you’ll have to take it away with you when you leave your dorm room over long breaks.

That can be a bit difficult with large-screen TVs.

Do You Need a TV in Your Dorm Room?

The answer to this question depends on your personal preference. Do you want your college dorm room to be a social hub or a studying shrine?

Remember that not all small dorm rooms have TVs. Most dorms have a TV lounge, where students meet to socialize, watch TV, or play games. 

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of having a TV in your dorm room:


  • You can unwind by watching your favorite shows after a long school day.
  • You’ll be able to play your games and watch your shows freely.
  • It can help you escape the noisy dorm lounges.
  • If the TV is in your room, you get to choose who you sit with all the time.


  • If you keep a TV in your room, expect people to linger a bit inside your room, which affects your privacy.
  • You’ll have to pay for it at the start of your college year, which may be an unnecessary financial load.
  • Your room won’t be a quiet studying place as it’s hard to fight the distraction of a TV.

The Features to Look for in Your Dorm Room TV

To enjoy the TV in your dorm room, you need to consider your purpose. However, there are some general features to look for when purchasing a TV for your dorm room, such as:

  • Streaming: Make sure you buy a smart TV that allows you to stream movies and shows on platforms, such as Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu.
  • Connectivity: The TV should enable WIFI connectivity. That should help you avoid the hassle of buying extra parts to connect your TV to the internet.
  • HDMI Ports: Your TV should come with a complete set of HDMI ports if you want to hook it up to your game console, DVD player, etc.

Similar Posts