Guest Author - Donna Coogan
The focal point is the first thing you see when entering a room and its job is to anchor the space. When you donít have something to anchor your space, then there is no place for the eye to rest when entering the room. Without a place for your eyes to rest, the room will feel very disjointed and uncomfortable.
Oftentimes the best focal points are the architectural elements of the house such as a fireplace or bank of windows, but if you donít have an architectural focal point, then you need to create one. This can be done with a large piece of furniture or a display of art.
Below are common focal points used in each area of the house. While every home is different, consider these to help establish focal points in your rooms.
Living Room or Family Room
The living or family rooms typically have several options for a focal point, with a fireplace or television being first pick. Many homes combine the two. For example, a fireplace with built-in space for the television above it or with flanking shelves that hold books or decorative items on one side and the t.v. and other electronic equipment on the other side. This arrangement is especially common in newer homes where built-in shelves are pre-wired for such use.
Another common focal point in the living or family room is a bank of windows. This works particularly well when you have a great view. Hang decorative window treatments to frame the view without distracting from it and arrange your seating to enjoy the scenery. Place a large piece of furniture on the wall opposite the expanse of windows to help balance the room.
If you are lacking a fireplace, built-ins or a great view as a focal point, there are still plenty of other options. A beautiful armoire or a large painting or wall of art can work well as a focal point. Basically anything that is substantial enough to grab and hold your attention when you enter a space is ideal.
In the dining room, an obvious focal point is the dining table set under a beautiful chandelier. The table especially stands out as focal point when dressed for a fine meal; however, a simple centerpiece and table runner is beautiful, too. Another option for the dining room focal point is a buffet with a large mirror hanging above it or a tall dining hutch filled with china.
In the kitchen the cabinets are going to take up the majority of the space, thus itís important to break them up with a focal point. This could be a built-in hutch filled with colorful dishes, a window view over the sink or a stove surrounded by decorative tiles. If your kitchen has room for a center island or table, then this could be another focal point when dressed with a bouquet of flowers.
Since the bed is often the largest piece of furniture in a bedroom and because it typically juts out into a room, it is most often the focal point of the space. Dress your bed with attractive linens to enhance it as a focal point. However, as with the previous examples, a wall of windows or other large piece of furniture could also substitute as a focal point.
A bathroom can be a design challenge when it comes to creating a focal point. If the room is oriented well, the bathtub or dual sinks can take this role. However, many bathrooms are small with all the utilities lined up in a row. That makes it difficult to choose a specific focal point. Instead, create an overall pleasing look and feel when choosing your paint colors and accessories. A half bath has similar challenges, however often you can add drama to this space with a bold paint color or a beautiful painting on a wall.
When choosing focal points for each room in your home, a lot could depend on the size of the space and how your furnishings fit in the room. Itís best if the focal point is seen when you first enter the space. If you donít have any architectural elements to make an obvious focal point, then look to your furnishings to create one. Once your focal point is established, decorate the rest of your room around it for the best look and feel. Everything should flow with the focal point being the visual anchor that holds the room together.