First things first, what is a Focal Point – simply put, a focal point is a visual point of interest that grabs your attention as soon as you enter the room. While I don’t advocate the use of two or more focal points of the same visual importance, I think it is still possible to achieve a well balanced & visually stimulating room by having more than one focal point or feature. The key is to select a primary focal point and arrange your furniture around it. If the room is too big, then it is possible you might have 2 or 3 clusters of furniture arrangements and each one can have its own secondary focal point. The most important thing to remember is to have cohesion throughout the space. This can be achieved by selecting items of similar style, colour, proportion & scale that are complimentary to each other. Try to avoid selecting items that are too similar in any of the above mentioned, as it will simply confuse the eye. The reason for having a focal point in the first place, is so that there is an attractive place for the eye to rest on. So having similar objects will only create confusion and will look over done.
How to create them:
If there are existing architectural features and details, such as large windows, crown moldings, arches, fireplaces etc then you should definitely take advantage of them by highlighting their natural charm and characters. That is the easy part, but what do you do when there are no distinctive architectural features? Don’t be discouraged – read on for some simple DIY ideas anybody can do.
Living & Family Rooms
If you are a lucky owner of a house with architectural features here is what you can do to highlight their beauty:
- Fireplace is one of the most striking features and should definitely be the focal point if you’ve got one. If it’s an old fireplace, it could be painted, or tiled to give it a new life. The mantel is a great place to accessorize – a large piece of art or a mirror could be added above for some punch and smaller accessories arranged on the mantel to tie in the fireplace with the art or mirror. Having a TV in the same room as the fireplace used to be a problem, but not anymore, as more and more people are investing in a plasma screen TVs, it should be mounted above the mantel and will not fight with the focal point of the fireplace. Mounting it above the fireplace is really the perfect spot for it, since when it’s on, you will have a cozy seating arrangement around the fireplace and can enjoy both at the same time, and when it’s off it disappears almost seamlessly into the background. Especially if there are a couple of accessories on the mantel that add visual interest. Remember though, that less is more and try to avoid creating visual clutter.
- Painting out the moldings in white or off-white shades will create contrast against the wall colour and will certainly make them pop in the room.
- If you’ve got beautiful large windows, the view should be the focal point, and just like you would frame a piece of art, a great way to accentuate the view and soften the windows is to hang beautiful drapes on either side. Also, you can protect your home with indoor wood plantation shutters to cover from dust and other particles. And keep in mind also that the right Window Blinds can let in the ideal amount of sunlight into a room.
The bed should be the focal point of the bedroom. The ways to create a beautiful feature of your bed are as follows:
- Having a headboard is a great way to ground the bed and also add visual interest to the bed. Upholstered headboards give off a luxurious feel to any bedroom. Adding a large piece of art or a simple yet interesting arrangement of photographs above the bed is another way to create an illusion of a headboard if you don’t have on.
- Bedding choices are very important and are an easy and relatively inexpensive way to add instant style and personality to any bedroom. Having some decorative pillows in complimentary fabrics is another way to create a luxurious & cozy bed.
- No bedroom is complete without a pair of bedside tables and a couple of table lamps or wall sconces. There are so many beautiful choices out there, and you’ll be sure to find one that fits your style & budget. Add a few small accessories to the table and your bedroom will look like a photo from a magazine spread.
Kitchens & Bathrooms
- Adding beautiful glass mosaics or ceramic / porcelain tiles to you kitchen backsplash will definitely create a stunning feature. Although glass mosaic tiles can be a bit pricey, remember that in most cases you will not need more than 50 sq/ft and trust me for the effect it creates, it is well worth the minimal investment! You can of course, opt for a simpler and more affordable look, such as a white or cream subway tile, which would still look clean & beautiful. Natural stone is another option, but does require sealing and requires regular maintenance.
- Same principal as with the kitchen backsplash, tiling a portion of the above the sink area or the shower walls is an excellent way to create a striking focal point.
- Adding a beautiful mirror above the sink in the bathroom can also create a strong focal point.
So, what if you don’t have any existing features? There is lots of things you can do with the use of colour, fabric, wallpaper, lighting and accessories. Below are just a few of the possible ideas:
- Paint is by far the cheapest way to add high impact to any space. Paining out a feature wall in an accent colour is a sure way to create an instant focal point.
- Graphic and patterned wallpaper is another stunning way to create a feature wall. There are so many gorgeous options out there today, but don’t over do it, if the pattern is too strong, keep it to a minimum and just wallpaper one wall for contrast against the painted walls
- Artwork is another great way to create focal points. The larger and the more bright and colourful the piece, naturally the more attention it will grab, so choose art pieces carefully based on what sort of impact you wish to create.
- Pillows or throw blankets on a couch can transform a bland couch into a centerpiece of a room. Choose bold patterns and prints, but stick to one or two at the most.
- Furniture pieces act like instant focal points, such as a large china cabinet, an armoire, or a coffee table. Also, if you’ve got any antique pieces, show them off! Make them the focal point, as antiques add certain character and charm that new, modern furniture cannot compete with.
- Lighting is another fabulous way to create focal points. Anything from large chandeliers above a dining room table, to pendants above a kitchen island or some unique floor or table lamps are a sure way to attract the eye.
Remember, whatever you do, be creative, think outside the box and follow your intuition. Don’t be afraid to experiment and be bold with your choices.
Feel free to e-mail me with your specific questions, and I would be glad to help out with any of your design & decorating needs.