When someone enters your home, you want them to feel at ease and comfortable. If you have ever walked into a home and felt a little off~balance or disoriented, it may be because there isn’t a focal point. Since every room needs one, I have great ideas and tips for creating a focal point.
When you walk into a room and aren’t sure where to rest your eyes, or you’re not sure of the purpose of the room, or the room just seems like a bunch of furniture thrown together, the room is probably missing a focal point.
A focal point is one of the most fundamental elements in interior design. It’s the star of the room. It’s the first place viewers’ eyes should land when they enter the room and it’s the emphasis point around which you build the rest of your design.
So let’s talk about ideas and tips to create a focal point that will help you create the home you will love.
Ideas and Tips for Creating a Focal Point
If you have already been thinking about spring decorating (me, too.), then this is also a good time to think about making sure that the rooms in your home have a focal point.
In most homes, the focal point is an architectural feature, such as a fireplace, a large bay window, or an archway. Here the focal point is obvious. All you need to do is play it up with accessories, color, or window treatments. Furniture placement typically radiates from the focal point.
If you don’t have a focal point in your rooms, then the onset of spring is a great time to add one.
Where’s My Darn Focal Point?
TIP: Walk to your living room (kitchen, bedroom, dining room, bathroom). Close your eyes for a few seconds. Open them. Do your eyes have a natural place to land? If so, lucky you: you have a focal point; just decide if you need to play it up.
If you don’t have a natural focal point, then you may have a little work to do.
Usually, the room should have one central focus, with a second if necessary.
Every Room Should have a Focal Point
Maybe I should say, every public room should have a focal point: from the time someone approaches your home, the entry, to the living areas, the dining room, the kitchen, any room that your guests may see, including the master bedroom, should have a focal point. Before I share ideas for creating a focal point, let’s look at some great examples of rooms with focal points. Nothing like a picture to make the focal point clear.
Let’s start at the front door.
The front door naturally draws you into the home. The color 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.
Painted front doors naturally draw the eye in, like this stunning blue one. The large potted plants and striped rug draw your eyes to the door and what lies beyond. The wreath creates a warm, welcoming feel.
TIP: Regardless of the focal point or the style of your front door and entry, it should always be clean of leaves and debris.
Although this wood~stained farmhouse style front door is subtle, it is definitely welcoming and pulls you in. The beautiful lanterns and potted ferns form a cohesive focal point.
TIP: Lighting at a front door is essential for safety and good design. A dark entry is definitely not welcoming to guests.
In the entry, it can be a console or table with a picture or mirror above it. Or maybe a bench with a throw and pillows.
Remember that whatever your focal point, it should reflect the style of your home, like this glamorous entry.
Or this more simple, slightly farmhouse style. The shiplap wall in itself is a focal point, but the combination of table, mirror, plant, and books creates a cohesive focal point that is interesting.
TIP: Remember the rule of odd numbers when creating focal points with vignettes.
Although this grouping is in a living room, it perfectly illustrates a table with a collection of art as a focal point for an entry.
The Dining Room
In the dining room, the focal point is usually a hutch, armoire or buffet, but it can be a light fixture or decorative element.
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! In this dining room, the beautiful shape and design of the light fixture create a focal point and pulls your eyes up. The credenza and mirror on the back wall with art continue to draw your eye in.
In our dining room, we have a large French vasselier flanked by 2 mirrors as our focal point. The large chandelier also draws your eye into the room, especially at night when it is on. This view is from our entry.
If you enter the room and you see 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. The mirror is what draws your eye to this dining room. The addition of the tall plants frames the buffet and the mirror.
You’ll want to add accents like a centerpiece for the table to also draw the eye into the room. The greenery in the bowl on the table also pulls your eye into the room.
TIP: Don’t underestimate the power of lighting fixtures to draw the eyes into a room and up.
The Living Room
Whether it’s a formal room or your family’s hang out for TV, games or visiting, the space where you gather still needs a focal point. As you enter our living room, it’s the large window that you notice first.
The secondary focal point is our fireplace and mantel. It is the element that really dictates the furniture arrangement.
In this living room, this dramatic fireplace is a strong focal point both in its scale, design and color.
This more formal living room has a lot going on, but there is one element that stands out ~ the large mirror. The group of art on each side is balanced and acts like an arrow pointing to the mantel and mirror.
TIP: If you don’t have an architectural element in your living space, you can create an entry to the room that focuses your eye on the room as a whole.
In this example, the actual living space is just 4 walls, but the steps up to the room, the French doors and the artwork create an almost telescopic effect, literally pulling your eyes into the room.
Color can also be a focal point. Did you notice how the bright green rug is the prominent element in the room?
To help the eye focus on this room, wood trim around the cased opening adds definition to the room beyond. Again, the color and design of the rug bring you in.
In a bedroom, the focal point is usually the bed and headboard, but could also be a window or fireplace.
TIP: The bed should always be placed facing the door if possible.
It is the addition of the green painted board and batten wall that provides the focal point in this master bedroom; it probably started with 4 white walls. The painting creates a bullseye effect.
Use bedding and throw pillows on the bed to help draw the eye. In this bedroom, a high headboard, floral drapes, and lots of pillows create the focal point. The plants, once again, frame the scene. But what is the star of the bedroom? The mirror! That’s what draws your eye.
Just for fun, here’s what the room would look like without the mirror. What a difference!
Bring the mirror back!!
The Kitchen/Breakfast Room
In the kitchen, the range and the range hood above the stove are often a larger element that provides a decorative and practical focal point.
Our kitchen is open to the living room. Once you are in the living room and turn slightly to the right, the entire kitchen is in your view; but it is the stovetop that really grabs your attention.
This example, combining natural wood and painted wood pulls your eye up.
In this large and very dramatic kitchen, the window is definitely the focal point. Painting the window trim black makes it really stand out. At night, the stunning light fixtures become the focal point.
The architectural details of this vent hood and the tiled backsplash combine for a great focal point in this kitchen.
In this beautiful breakfast room, the window is a natural focal point, but the light fixture is also an eye~catcher. The pop of color from the red tulips may be the main focal point. Close your eyes and then see where your eyes focus when you open them.
In a bathroom, 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 bathtub, your shower or the bathroom vanity? Think about what makes your bathroom beautiful and enhance it.
In this gorgeous backroom, I’m not sure if it’s wallpaper or tile behind the mirrors, but the pattern pulls your eye in and the mirrors and scones hold it.
Again, the pop of color from the flowers grabs your attention.
You can’t keep your eyes from this beautiful tub and window focal point. Bright flowers contrast with the soft surroundings.
TIP: The size of your room is important. If you are creating a focal point, scale your “creation” so that isn’t too large or too small.
Ideas for Creating a Focal Point ~ When There Isn’t One
So many homes today are open concept plans which either don’t have these architectural elements or they are not obvious to the eye. So what to do? Create a focal point. Use some of these suggestions to create one.
- accent one wall with color or wallpaper
- a large piece of furniture, such as an armoire or a bookcase can become a focal point
- add trim to a cased opening into the room to add interest
- build up a window by adding drapery and/or shades and a valence
- pair a large console, credenza, sofa or buffet with framed photos, art or mirrors
- yes, the television/media center can become a focal point (Just make sure that cords and electronics are hidden.)
- an eye-catching gallery wall that is visible from the living room’s main entrance; check out all these ideas from Desenio.
- large potted tree or a collection of smaller plants in front of a window
- a rustic~inspired shiplap feature wall
- a dramatic lighting fixture
- backsplashes in a bold color or pattern in kitchens and bathrooms; a tile backsplash ~ either in the shower or behind the stove ~ will definitely attract attention.
TIP: Remember that color can be or add to a focal point; use it in a rug, pillow, flowers, art, green plants
I hope these ideas and tips for creating a focal point are helpful. As you think about spring and summer home decor, remember to include creating a focal point in your plans.
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