Create a Focal Point in Every Room
Here’s a fun exercise to try in any room in your home. Stand in the doorway of that room. Close your eyes and count to 10. Looking straight ahead, open your eyes. What’s the first thing that catches your eye, either directly or peripherally? Whatever catches your eye first is the focal point in that room. It’s the wow factor, and what you ought to use to build the rest of your décor in that room around. So now you need to ask yourself if the focal point you have in the room is the one you really want.
What Is a Focal Point?
In the simplest of terms, a focal point is the most obvious and noticeable feature in a room. It’s where you’ve placed emphasis and assigned function to a room. Every room needs a focal point. You can create emphasis in a room using elaborate artwork, unique furniture, or other objects and colors that draw attention. Regardless of what it is and what you use, every room needs to have a focal point.
Home builders often add architectural designs like a fireplace, angled wall, or large picture window to create a focal point in a room. Some rooms have natural focal points because of its purpose, like the bedroom. It’s hard to imagine a king-sized bed would not catch your eye because it’s naturally the most prominent and essential piece in that room. In other rooms, though, there are several prominent pieces that could serve as a focal point. For example, in my family, I have a 60” TV, a fireplace, several large pieces of furniture, and decorations everywhere. Plus, there are three large picture windows. While all these things are large enough to be a point of interest, only one gets the limelight. Only one thing in the room visually dominates, while all other pieces blend in to create harmony and balance in that room.
Creating a Focal Point
Adding emphasis in a room may sometimes feel a bit challenging, and there certainly isn’t any one secret formula or cheat sheet to help. Once you get the hang of creating focal points, though, all other elements in your décor and interior designs seem to fall into place. If you’re new to this, here are some things you can do to avoid the common pitfalls many of us often fall into when creating a wow factor in a room.
Have a Primary Focus
Today’s home interiors are mostly open design, which means they have open floor plans that connect communal areas such as the kitchen, eat-in areas, and family rooms. These layouts are wonderful for making a home feel larger and more spacious; however, they’re often a pitfall for creating multiple focal points. While each room has a function, when they’re all combined in an open design, it becomes a singular living space that really needs to have only one, primary focal point.
The main attraction of an open floor plan is more often the great room or family room, so it’s recommended that you create one central focus in this area, and then complement the décor in the other connected areas with this focal point. If you feel that the room is too large or that you’re not getting the focus across all rooms you want, there’s no design laws that say you can’t create a secondary focus if necessary. My only caution is to avoid the all-too-common mistake of creating multiple, competing focal points.
Look Beyond Wall Color
Using color is a terrific way to add energy and eye-catching focus in a room. A common mistake that most of us are guilty of, though, is finding a paint color we love and painting all the walls first. Sometimes we go as far as using paint color on an accent wall to create a focal point in a room. We then find ourselves having to go through great pains to find the perfect rug, pillows, curtains, and other textiles to complement the walls.
My recommendation is to determine what furniture and fabrics you want in the room first. Choose your décor color palette, then find the wall color that complements it all. As you do this, you’ll want to decide where to add bold splashes of color in your décor or furniture — try mixing patterns, solids, and textures — in the room to create excitement and an effortless focal point. When done right, using color can create a stunning wow factor in any room.
Mix It Up to Add Character
Buying every piece in a collection seems like it would make sense, especially since they all naturally go together. There’s no shame or wrong in going this route; however, if you want to add more character to a room, you’ll want to avoid this matchy-matchy approach.
When everything is the same in a room, there’s nothing to catch your eye, no focal point, and a certain lack of originality. I say mix it up — and mix it up good. Add a funky accent chair or a vintage piece that complements the décor. Try different shapes, colors, and patterns. My recommendation is to get out of your comfort zone and add at least one piece of “whimsy” to every room. This will help you avoid a common pitfall of creating an overly matching décor that lacks character.
Creating that special wow factor in a room doesn’t have to be daunting. Keep it simple and have fun in three simple steps. First, find a focus or purpose for the room. Then, place emphasis on that focal point. And finally, complement the focal point throughout the rest of the room.
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