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How To Identify the Focal Point in Any Room

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When the kids get older, the toys and school projects get put away, and your floors and furniture re-emerge, you’ll get a clearer look at your rooms. You might decide a different room plan would look better. The first step is learning how to identify the focal point in any room.

Look for the Feature That Draws Your Eye

A basic principle of good interior design is to identify and build décor around a focal point. A focal point is usually the first thing your eye lands on when you enter a room. It may not be the first thing you see, but it is the thing your eye lingers on.

Homes with striking architectural features like high ceilings with decorative plaster elements, large windows, or vintage fireplaces have many natural focal points. If you enter a room and nothing really stands out, the challenge is to create a focal point.

How To Create and What To Do With a Focal Point

If you’re working with a fabulous fireplace, the mantlepiece and wall above it are the natural focal point of the room. Adding a mirror or artwork above the fireplace or flanking it with bookcases or potted plants are two common techniques to highlight a fireplace.

A big window with a fabulous view is a natural focal point to group furniture around. The furniture can face it, lead toward it, or flank it. You can emphasize the window by painting the wall around it an accent color, framing it with colorful drapes, or simply setting a few chairs or plants in front of it, drawing you toward it.

Rooms without natural architectural focal points need a little help. A large piece of furniture, like a couch, table, or armoire, can take on the role of a focal point. A wall of artwork or photography works, as does a table displaying an interesting collection of vases along the main wall. Accent colors work well in rooms that lack a focal point. A room without a natural focal point is like a blank slate—you can arrange it any way you want and create a focal point that feels comfortable to you.

Don’t Forget Texture and Lighting

An exposed brick wall is a focal point in itself. If your home lacks a variety of textures, add some. Texture can add warmth to a living room with wallpaper, fabrics, and pillows or cool a sunroom with tile. Your focal point also needs proper lighting. A window provides natural light to highlight the view in the daytime, but where will your lighting land at night? A chandelier or another hanging light fixture is a focal point in itself, while floor lamps or recessed lighting can highlight parts of a room to suggest the focal point.

Once you create or identify the focal point in every room, decluttering and rearranging around those features can breathe new life into your living spaces and help you feel refreshed to take on new projects or hobbies.

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