A room will feel much more inviting and offer a more comfortable place to rest if you arrange the furniture or accessories around a focal point. The focal point should be the first thing you see when entering a room. A focal point can also be an architectural feature or something unique in the room, such as a special picture, mirror, or dramatic piece of furniture. Sometimes an outdoor view is a focal point, such as bay windows overlooking a lake or mountain vista. Orient the seating inside and outside to take advantage of the views.
Think outside the box on how you can manufacture a focal point. Get creative with wall paint, spotlight lighting, or even arrangements of indoor plants to give people something to talk about upon entering a room.
Read on to learn how to find or create a focal point in your room and how to make the most of it.
What Is a Focal Point?
A focal point should be something interesting to look at, something colorful, or texturally and visually appealing. It typically refers to the area to which your eye is immediately drawn.
Finding a Focal Point
Look around your room to determine the "biggest" feature. This spot will generally be your focal point. It may be a fireplace, a picture window, or a built-in bookcase. If you have a fireplace as your focal point, keep the eye interested with a bold piece of art above the mantle.
The beauty of focal points is that you can have more than one in a room. There is no limit to how many parts of the room are visually interesting; however, you don't want to clutter too many thoughts in a room either. A safe bet to focal points is keeping it no more than two or three, so the space feels orderly. For example, a big room with a picture window overlooking a nature scene or boats on a bay may also have a fireplace with furniture arranged around that drawing the eye there too. Multiple points of interest in a room make that room an exciting place to host guests, naturally sparking conversation.
Artwork or Mirrors as Focal Points
How you choose to adorn your walls says a lot about you, your style, what's important to you, and personalizes the space. A statement art piece or unique mirror can carry a room by itself. Choose a piece that is big enough for the wall it's on. Keep the article at eye level if possible, and if feasible, consider using spotlighting to highlight your focal point.
You can even make your artwork pop more if you play with contrasting colors. By painting the wall a contrasting color, the vast differences in hues in furniture, artwork, or decorations will dramatically catch your eye.
Furniture or Decor as Focal Points
A focal point does not have to be a wall or part of a wall. Bold carpets or floors, hanging lights, and furniture pieces can also be strong visual features that capture your focus. Large furniture pieces can be your focal point if your room has no distinguishing architectural features. The best example in a bedroom is the bed. It is often dressed with a nice covering, and usually, artwork hangs above the mattress, drawing your eye there.
Similarly, for a living room, sitting room, or den, the couch is the one spot a person's eye spots first. An inviting couch in a bold color can bring in that drama and interest you. For visual interest, maybe try a sofa in a unique fabric, or it can have an odd shape, like a U-shape, or architectural details like wooden carving on the backrest that you might find on Victorian-era sofas.
Creating a Focal Point
Suppose you don't have any unique architectural details in the room, or your furniture and other room details are neutral. In that case, you have many other tricks of the trade at your disposal, such as painting an accent wall, drawing the eye with spotlights anywhere in the room, or adding plants and accessories that catch the eye's attention.
The perfect example is a home with a unique object on display. It can be an antique or a prized-collectible encased in glass to protect it. Or it can be a floral arrangement. To bring attention to the object, a spotlight should do the trick. Remove any clutter or other items from around the thing and give it prominence in the room.
You can create a focal point wall by painting one wall a different color from the rest and accessorizing it with a wall arrangement, artwork, or display shelves. Accent walls have always been a popular option for a focal point. Use a bold paint color or patterned wallpaper to draw attention.
Mistakes to Avoid
Developing a focal point for your room shouldn't be difficult if you follow a few guidelines.
- Get proportions right: If you have lovely windows, do not get window coverings that are sized wrong or if hanging art or mirrors, make sure it fits the space correctly. Items that are too big or too small are subtly picked up by the eye, leaving an unsettling feeling about the room.
- Too many focal points: Sometimes, it can be difficult to show restraint, especially when you have a lot of unique pieces of furniture, pieces of art, or architectural details in the room. If items start to clash or compete for your eye's attention, it can give you a cluttered or busy feeling—quite the opposite of a relaxing, calming vibe.
- Don't get too color matchy: It's easy to get caught up in a color story that you might forget about textures, patterns or using neutral colors to your advantage. A monochromatic room can be a fun design idea, but, for example if you have a room full of yellow accessories, where do you train the eye to go? You can use a shaggy textured rug or a bold geometric pattern to break up the uniformity.
- Light up the room: A room with drab lighting sets the mood as a dark and depressing place. Lighting can transform the feeling of a room's size and brighten the mood. Ways to compensate for too few windows or poor lighting include adding more lighting, painting the ceilings white, lightening the wall and floor color, changing or removing window coverings, and adding mirrors to bounce light around the room.