Post by Stacey Walker. Stacey mostly works behind the scenes for Greenbrook Design, managing day to day operations, marketing, sourcing product and keeping the showroom beautifully designed. Stacey also does interior design & home styling for a select number of clients. Find out more about Stacey here.
There are many elements that help assemble the perfect design for your space such as color, texture, and pattern but one in particular plays a key role in making a statement and that is the focal point. Without a focal point a room can feel busy or even boring since it has nothing that immediately draws the eye. This is one of the reasons it is important to have a focal point included in the design but with it playing such a critical part this means sufficient thought should be given to placing it where it needs to be. How do you design the perfect focal point that will stand out but not overpower everything else? How do you best use focal points in a room or design with it in mind? Let’s explore the answers to getting the most out of your focal point.
What is a focal point?
Every room needs something that draws the eye in, a statement piece that immediately grabs your attention. Many times a room has a natural focal point such as large windows overlooking amazing scenery, a fireplace, built-ins, vaulted ceilings, or a unique feature in the room. It tends to be the thing that keeps the eye interested through its color, texture, or visual appeal. Before preparing to renovate or refresh your current space, take inventory of what is already there and check to see if it is a natural focal point. Remember that a focal point is in just about every area of the home such as your home office, kitchen, bathroom, entry way, living room, and even your bedroom. It plays an important role in the overall vibe which matters especially since many spend more time at home now. Knowing where your focal points are helps you take the next step in highlighting it or if there isn’t one, you can begin looking for ways to create just the right one.
Why does a design need a focal point?
The purpose of a focal point is to anchor the entire design, to provide a grounding for your decor, accent, and furniture pieces. Whenever you browse through design magazines, Pinterest, or Houzz projects, you will discover that there is a focal point pulling your eye in and one reason you love it so much. Having a focal point is important because it also keeps your space together bringing all the elements into a perfect balance. Without it a room can feel scattered and even create a sense of unrest due to the eye being unable to settle on something. Emphasizing a focal point means drawing attention to something and when done correctly it can form a space that is not only beautiful but inviting for everyone.
How do you use and design focal points in design?
There are many ways to create and use focal points in the home such as:
One important thing to do is look around your space and decide what the best or biggest feature is and how you want to use it or utilize some other elements. Fireplaces and built-ins are great focal points in living and bedroom areas. They provide a starting point that guides the rest of the design project and helps you to know what else needs to be added. When it comes to the kitchen, often the range hood, light fixtures, or backsplash become the focal point but even countertops can steal the show. Contrast is a great tool for creating focal points so if you use a white kitchen perimeter consider a wood range hood or even island as that will immediately draw the eye and give the space a sense of purpose and warmth. Of course as we said it does not have to be an architectural piece that is the focal point, it can come from a myriad of sources. Accent walls work well in living areas, entry ways, and bedrooms. Consider painting it or applying wood such as stikwood that uses real reclaimed wood in several color choices to create a stunning final result. Area rugs are also a great tool since they draw the eye to the floor with their pattern and texture making the space warm and inviting to everyone. Don’t forget that items such as mirrors, artwork, and lighting are a wonderful asset when creating a focal point. Think about a large art piece that can hang in an area that is seen right away when you walk into the room or a collection of smaller ones placed together. This is also a wonderful way to put a little of your unique personality into the space too. Furniture works well as a focal point since it tends to be one of the larger items in a room and has other design elements such as color, texture, and pattern that work well together. Strategic placement is important which is something that a designer can assist you with.
Focal point mistakes to avoid
Focal points are important which means there are some things that should be avoided if you want it to be successful in your home. One major mistake to avoid is limiting the amount of focal points. Traditionally it is one main focal point with room for a few smaller ones such as a collection of decor pieces but when you have too many they begin to compete with each other causing the eye to wander unable to truly focus. Color is another area of caution. Neutral palettes are popular but that does not mean everything needs to match, adding a pop of color adds depth and instantly makes a focal point. Lighting is key to any space but especially when trying to make a focal point. If a space is poorly lit it will be difficult to even find the focal point so be sure to add sufficient lighting if natural light is limited. When done correctly a focal point will be the highlight of your design and delight you every time you enter the room.
How to design with a focal point
As we continue to spend more time at home, we understand the importance of the mood set by design and the focal point does play a part in making a space feel inviting and comfortable. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box or get creative with your space. A focal point should have a meaning to you and make you feel at ease every time your eye looks at it. Taking the time to think through what you want it to look like, drawing on inspirational home decor photos from Pinterest and Houzz can greatly assist your designer in knowing exactly how to accomplish the perfect focal point for you. Remember, design is about telling your story and focal points are a part of design so take the time to make it just right for you.