Ever walk into a space and not know where to look? Nothing stands out? Nothing catches your eye? Looks like you just encountered a space without a focal point.
Just like an boat needs an anchor, a room needs a focal point. Like that anchor, a focal point provides the visual weight of a space. A place for the eye to jump to and eventually settle back on. This is important for any major space within or outside the house. Having a focal point helps create a sense of balance and can make experiencing a space much nicer.
“So how,” you say, “does one create a focal point?” Great question! There are many ways to create a focal point in your space. I will lay out some great ideas and techniques to make sure you and your space don’t end up adrift.
Use a Color
An easy way to grab the eye is with color. Often referred to as an accent color, this technique is a fast way to get the job done. But it can easily go over the top if you are not careful. For a color-based focal point, the color needs to be able to pop. This works best when you are working with a neutral (beige/gray/white) color palette and use a color that both complements and stands out from the rest of the room. Color can be used through items like accent walls, a bright sofa, elegant drapes or even a rich floral arrangement.
Pro Tip: The most dramatic way to utilize color is by adding an accent wall. While this approach has been much used it has also been much abused. If you use this technique, plan your attack. Make sure your other walls are neutral and make sure the accent color selected does not overwhelm the rest of the room.
Use Decorative Pieces
Using an eye-catching item is a classic way of creating a focal point. Wall-mounted items like mirrors or art are classic options. For those who prefer bringing the outdoors in, a wreath or animal head can also be quite eye catching. You can also looks towards furniture and objects as well. A bold coffee table or even a collection of figurines can be a great way of anchoring a space. And, of course, a great lighting fixture can be a perfect focal point for any room. Scale, color and finish can all be used to help your item (or items) pop and catch the eye.
Pro Tip: Make sure that your item can handle being center stage. While it is easy for an item to stand out in a minimalist decor scheme, you can still work this way within a maximalist design. Just make sure that the focal point can stand out within its surroundings.
Use a Finish
If a color is too extreme, using another finish can be a great way of creating a focal point. Look for juxtapositions to ensure the effect works. For example, if everything in a space has a soft matte appearance, look for something hard and shiny. Setting hard versus soft, polished versus matte, smooth versus rough, metal versus wood, upholstery versus stone or even new versus worn against each other are a great way of making sure that your focal point gets the job done.
Pro Tip: Make the most of your feature. Creating a juxtaposition of finish or even era can be a great way of creating a focal point. While you might not first appreciate a clean Scandinavian coffee table in a room full of mid-century furniture, you sure will notice a rococo sideboard in the same space.
Use a Pattern
Like color, a pattern can be a great way of capturing the eye. Patterns can be used in many ways and across many items. Try looking at wallpapers, upholstery fabrics, accent pillows, rug weaves, wood inlays and painting/prints. Patterns can be organic or man-made, and range all eras. Look for something that pops in your space but still complements the rest of your decor.
Pro Tip: Organic patterns can be vastly underrated. The advancements in digital photography and printing technology mean that there are so many amazing pieces of nature that you can bring into the home. Look for amazing galaxy shots or delicate Fibonacci sequences.
Use a Feature
Sometimes our spaces do the work for us. A perfect example that many have at home is a fireplace. This is a natural centerpiece that you can accent via decor and lighting to create an elegant and natural focal point in your space. Look for architectural details like nooks, ledges, pop-outs or windows that your room naturally has that you can accent to make a great focal point.
Pro Tip: Architectural details are not just for older homes. You can add molding, wainscoting and built-in features to newer homes. Just make sure to do your homework. Some details might not be era appropriate or just don’t make sense for the place you want to put it. Take your time and do the research so you end up with a result you will love.
Have you created a focal point in your home that you’re proud of? Be sure to share it with us in the comments, or tag us on Instagram with #loveyourlumens.