Choosing a Focal Point in Interior Design

Choosing a focal point in a room is a very important part of decorating. It is one of the first things you learn in design school. You need to be able to determine your focal point from the start of a design project. It is possible that a room may not have a focal point, and in that case, you will need to create one.

It is important to note that focal points can be anything from the skyline view of the city through your living room window, to a fireplace or a large sofa.

Let’s break it down – how do we determine focal points?

DETERMINING FOCAL POINTS

When focal points were first introduced to me, they were introduced as “lead roles in a play”. I know, it is a strange way to think about it, but it actually makes a lot of sense. When you are determining what your focal point should be, you want to take a good look around the room, see what stands out, and what fits that “role”.

If you think about it, the strength of a leading actor in a play is a crucial element between the play being just OK or being GREAT. You need to take that same thought into consideration when you are choosing your focal point. You want to choose something that is eye-catching, distinct and visually appealing. Just like casting the lead role for the play – you must choose something that will make the room GREAT!

The best way for you to choose a focal point is to completely empty the space. Once the room is empty, look around for any distinct architectural features that can be enhanced. Is there a fireplace in the room? A window with a beautiful view? A Barn door? These are all questions you need to ask yourself when you are evaluating a space. Once you have observed the room, you can then make an informed decision about what your focal point should be.

CHOOSING A FOCAL POINT INTERIOR DESIGN

CHOOSING A FOCAL POINT

When choosing a focal point ask yourself this question:  “Where did my eyes first go when I walked into this room?”

If the room you are decorating has a distinct architectural feature, then choosing a focal point will be fairly easy. Look for areas in the room that stand out, if there is a functioning fireplace in the room, you should choose the fireplace as your focal point. If there is a very large window, then choose the window as the focal point. Re-decorating your bedroom? Make the wall your bed will be against the focal point, or better yet, make the bed itself a focal point. These are all focal points that will attract the eye, which makes them the easy choice.

Another thing you will want to take into consideration is that it is totally OK to have two focal points in a room. You will choose one to be your main focal point, like the fireplace in a living room. Then, you will choose a secondary focal point, like a piece of artwork. You will want to make sure you are not choosing two focal points that will end up competing with each other. This is why they should be on different walls in the room.

When choosing a focal point, it is all about drawing you in, that first impression when you walk into a room will be your focal point.

CREATING A FOCAL POINT

Unfortunately, not all rooms have a natural focal point, in which case you will need to create one. To do this, you need to think about the rooms function. What is the rooms main purpose? Once you have determined the purpose of the room, you will be able to move on to creating the rooms focal point. It is a lot less complicated then it sounds.

For example, you may have a room that has a small window with four plain walls. This is the perfect opportunity to turn one of those walls into a focal point. You can do this by transitioning one wall into a feature wall. Creating a feature wall as your focal point is not only on trend, but it is guaranteed to look great!

Another way to create a focal point is to use accessories. Maybe you have a beautiful set of china that you would love to show off. You can make the china set your focal point in the room by placing it on display in a china cabinet or on some shelving. Artwork is also a great accessory to use for a focal point. Since artwork tends to capture the eye anyways, it is perfect to use as your focal point.

You will want to keep in mind that anything you create for your focal point will need to compliment the room. Don’t create something just because you need to create a focal point. Create something that feels right and looks GREAT!

FOCAL POINTS FOR DIFFERENT ROOMS IN YOUR HOME

Every room has a different focal point and every room is unique because of that. So, let’s get started on breaking down the different focal points throughout your home.

EXTERIOR FRONT DOOR

The curb appeal from the exterior of your home always centres around the front door. This makes it the most inviting part of the exterior. The front door naturally draws you into the home. The colour of the door, landscaping leading up to the door and the lighting around the door will create a focal point that naturally pulls you in.

Exterior Entry Focal Point

ENTRY WAY

What do you see when you first open the door to your home. Do you see a staircase, a hallway or a plain wall?

Whatever it may be that you see, you can create a focal point right at the entry. You can do this by arranging a console, a piece of artwork or adding a plant and bench directly in your line of sight. By doing this, it adds interest and warmth to your home.

Entry Way Focal Point

LIVING ROOM

Does your living room have a fireplace? If it does, then you are in luck. Use this fireplace as your focal point as it will be the largest architectural piece in your living room. You will want to arrange the furniture around the fireplace in a way that compliments it.

Don’t have a fireplace? No problem. You can easily create a focal point on any wall. You can do this by adding a TV, or creating a gallery wall of family photos or artwork.

Living Room Focal Point

DINING ROOM

In the dining room, the dining room table is generally the focal point. You will want to centre the table in the room and pay attention to how you enter the space.

If you enter the room at the head of the table then you will want to choose a bold light fixture because that is the main object you will see. It will be the main focus of the room, so make it great!

If you enter the room and you are seeing the side of the table first, then the wall behind the table is what you will want to use as your focal point. Using wallpaper or creating a feature wall from scratch is a great way to make that wall your focal point.

Dining Room Focal Point

KITCHEN

One of my favourite focal points in a kitchen is the range and the range hood above the stove. The options for choosing a beautiful range and range hood are endless and they create the most amazing focal points in a kitchen.

The range hood is typically a different material then the kitchen cabinets, which is why it stands out. You have a lot of freedom with this focal point, just be sure to choose something that is cohesive to the rest of the kitchen.

Kitchen Range Focal Point

BEDROOMS

In the bedroom, the bed is often the focal point. Choosing a stunning headboard, beautiful nightstands and some pendant lighting on either side of the bed will really help create the perfect focal point.

Now, there are often times where the bed is not the focal point of the bedroom. In this case, you will want to create a focal point. You can do this by creating a gallery wall, placing a vanity in the room or choosing a stunning chandelier.

Either way, you can easily create a focal point that will look perfect in your bedroom.

Bedroom Focal Point

BATHROOMS

Creating a focal point in your bathroom can be fun! It is so nice to walk into a bathroom and have it feel warm and inviting. You will want to avoid choosing the toilet as your focal point (no one wants to see and envision that).

Consider what you see first, is it your bath tub, your shower or the bathroom vanity. Think about what makes your bathroom beautiful and enhance it.

Bathroom Focal Point

Choosing a focal point is a fun part of decorating so don’t let it discourage you.

I hope the above information helps you when you begin decorating your space. Remember, just like the lead in a play – you will want the focal point to make the room GREAT!

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