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Draw All Eyes to Your Statement Piece With This Focal Point Trick

Updated: April 15, 2024
A focal point is an element that immediately draws the eye and anchors a room's design. Focal points feature contrast, strategic lighting, strong location, negative space and visual simplicity. Classic focal points include large artwork, ornate mirrors and oversized accessories. Spotlight focal points with dedicated lighting and clutter-free surroundings. Repeating related colors, textures and shapes can complement a focal point.
Modern office interior designers in gurgaon by InteriorxDesign

Interior design can seem intimidating to the amateur. Knowing how to make all the elements in a room work together harmoniously takes skill and practice. However, there is one simple trick that can help draw all eyes to a statement piece or focal point. Through the careful and strategic use of a focal point, even novice InteriorxDesign enthusiasts can make a big impact. I learned this lesson firsthand when redecorating my living room last year. I had just purchased a beautiful antique cabinet at a flea market, with intricate carvings and a unique greenish-blue paint wash. I knew this cabinet could be the star of my living room design, infusing my subtle boho aesthetic with a punch of color. However, when I arranged the room I realized the cabinet seemed to fade into the surroundings rather than standing out. The focal point I intended was getting lost amongst competing elements.

What is a Focal Point?

In interior design, a focal point refers to an element that immediately draws the eye into a room and anchors the overall design and layout. This commanding element is often bold, colorful, large in scale, or otherwise noteworthy amongst its surroundings. The focal point pulls together the entire aesthetic of a room by providing a visual resting place for the eye. Often times the focal point is something striking like a large piece of art, an ornate mirror, or a stately fireplace. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be flashy or brightly colored to pull focus. It simply needs to standout from the supporting design elements that surround it. When arranged effectively, all other features should lead back to the focal point.

History of the Focal Point Concept

Using a strong focal point is one of the key principles taught in interior design schools and programs. However, the general concept has been employed for centuries. Dating all the way back to classical architecture and design, spaces were anchored by commanding symmetrical elements and striking centralized features. Grand entranceways, domed roofs, and stunning marble staircases acted as visual focal points in palaces and mansions. Likewise, important public buildings like museums, opera houses, and libraries utilized dramatic domes, archways, fountains, and staircases to guide the eye. These eye-catching features established visual harmony within spaces that may have otherwise felt cold, cavernous, or overwhelmingly intricate. Over time, the focal point concept has been adapted from palatial and commercial spaces to the modern private residence. Now a hallmark of professional-caliber interior design, a properly executed focal point adds cohesion and balance. It also enables the homeowner to put their personal stamp or style on the home.

Elements and Characteristics of Effective Focal Points

Not just any decorative item or accent can serve as an effective focal point. There are a few key characteristics that enable an element to properly fill this role:

  • Location – The focal point is most powerful when located in a natural visual resting spot. Centered on a wall or anchoring an arrangement carries the most impact.
  • Scale – Focal points tend to be oversized or vertically grand to capture attention easily. Think floor-to-ceiling drapes, an elongated gallery wall, or an overstuffed sofa.
  • Contrast – Color, texture, shape and style should feel heightened next to surroundings. A vivid red chaise provides contrast against neutral walls and furniture.
  • Lighting – Strategic illumination either natural or artificial can spotlight a focal point against darker surroundings.
  • Negative Space – Keep the area immediately surrounding the focal point clean and clear of clutter and competition.
  • Simplicity – Though elaborate in detail, the best focal points feature a simple, singular subject to prevent diffusion.

By leveraging one or more of these elements, you can transform an everyday piece into a room-ruling focal point.

Achieving a Focal Point in Your Design

If you feel your space lacks a commanding visual focal point, there are a few approaches you can take to remedy that:

Spotlight Artwork or Mirror

Hanging an impressive piece of art or an ornately framed mirror are classic strategies for focal points. Place the piece on a main wall or above a fireplace. Scale up in size and keep the surrounding walls and decor simple. Illuminate with accent lighting.

Introduce an Oversized Accessory

Consider layering in an large-scale accessory like an armoire, sideboard cabinet, tall floor lamp, or sturdy sculpture. Keep accessories sparse around it so it doesn’t get lost visually.

Designate a Bold Feature Wall

Sometimes architecture and structural features like fireplaces, stenciled designs, or textured wallpaper can serve as focal points. Boost visual interest with contrasting paint colors. Clear furniture away from the feature wall so it stands solo.

Up the Ambiance

The moodiest, most atmospheric room corner can provide a moody focal point. A relaxation nook with a hanging chair clustered with plants pulls the eye. Place some books, a floor lamp and statement side table in the vignette.

Go Grand Scale

Choose an eye-catching anchor piece like a sectional, canopy bed, or large rug in a vivid color or dynamic pattern. Flank with matching nightstands, curtains and decorative items for a collected yet curated look. You certainly don’t need interior design training to nail this trick. Start by taking inventory of your existing items and architecture. Look for standout pieces that already inhabit that leading role. Or if lacking, layer in a commanding new furniture find, fabric, artwork or collectible. Keep the surroundings clean, neutral and footnote-worthy. Then illuminate your focal point for maximum drama. This simple strategy helps create interior magic – no magic wand required.

Best Practices and Tips for Executing a Focal Point

To ensure your interior focal point hits the mark, keep these best practices in mind:

  • Spotlight don’t diffuse. Resist cluttering the immediate area around your focal point.
  • Contrast over blends in. Use shape, color and style to distinguish from surroundings.
  • Go vertical. Floor-to-ceiling drapes, elongated gallery walls draw the eyes up.
  • Accessories anchor. Incorporate complementary pieces like side tables, rugs and lamps.
  • Neutralize surroundings. Simple, quiet backdrops prevent visual competition.
  • Location rules. Centered, at natural resting spots like over fireplace has most effect.
  • Light it up. Illumination, whether sun streaming in or dedicated fixture, heightens impact.
  • Play up architecture. Work with existing lines, arches, niches and overlooks.
  • Repeat motifs. Echo focal point pattern, color or shape sparingly but effectively.
  • Scale up or max out. Go big in size, color saturation and style mixing.

Don’t be overwhelmed by bare walls or a lackluster room layout. With the right statement piece and strategic design choices, an amateur InteriorxDesign enthusiast can pull off a pro-worthy focal point with ease.

Conclusion

A focal point provides immense interior design benefits with little effort. This commanding and eye-catching element provides harmony to a well-curated space. Or if done distinctively, infuses personality into otherwise bland surroundings. By keeping scale, lighting and contrast top of mind your next focal-point endeavor will surely draw the accolades of guests. Just resist overcrowding the area and allow this star player to shine brightly at center stage.

By

Mr. BS Parasher, Founder @ Interior x Design & UrbanDAC, He is the Top Interior Designer in Gurgaon & India's Premier Home Theater and Home Entertainment Designer, A Hi-end AV Expert with a deep passion, vision and knowledge about Interior Design.