No Side Walls – What Do I Do About Surround Speakers?

Not everyone can have a dedicated room for their TV. Most TVs live in an open area that is multipurpose. This means that speaker placement can be rather tricky. You might be able to squeak out enough room for three speakers up front, but surround speakers? Forget about it! The couch is in the middle of the room. There are no walls to the sides for mounting surround speakers. So…what do you do? Let’s discuss.


We know you’ve already considered this idea and shot it down. Either it doesn’t work with your aesthetic or you can’t get wires to the speakers or your partner just doesn’t want them. We get it. But we have to say it. If you can figure out a way to get the speakers to either side of your couch (even a little behind would be great), that is the best solution. You could get speaker stands, side tables, or even a couple of subwoofers.

Look Up

If you have access to your attic, or if you can figure out a way to mount speakers to your ceiling, that is the next best option. Most modern AV receivers will allow you to not only configure a 5.1 system (in your case, the “surround” speakers would be on the ceiling), but also a 3.1.2 system. For the latter, the .2 at the end are top middle speakers used for Atmos. We’d suggest you set them up as a straight 5.1 system as there is more 5.1 content than Atmos. But you could try them both and see what you like better.

Live Without

If you can’t place your surround speakers on stands and you have no side walls or access to the ceiling, you are pretty stuck. Placing them in front of you won’t give you surround sound. It will give you confusing sound. Surround speakers must be at least to your sides (even if they are up high). Putting them up front won’t create a surround effect.

If you really can’t place the surround speakers appropriately, then just don’t place them at all for now. Keep your three speakers up front, your subwoofer, and enjoy. It will be loads better than the speakers in the TV and any soundbar on the market. When your situation changes or you find some stands you can live with, then you’ll be ready to go.

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