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When our eyes travel over any space we immediately catalogue specific focal points. We do this naturally as our eyes are drawn quickly to the most prominent features of a space or to the most unusual point in an area.
When it comes to interior design we can trick our brains to make certain areas of a room the focal point. Think of the focal point like a centre of activity in a room, designed to draw the eyes and create an effect for the room.
Making A Statement and Creating an Effect
The focal point for a room should reflect what the room is and also what mood it wants to create. A living room wants to be a place you feel comfortable and relaxed, a dining room is somewhere to entertain and a bedroom is a retreat from the world. When thinking of your focal point you want to make a statement that encompasses the room and your own sense of identity. This could be a piece of art that speaks to you or an antique piece of furniture.
Building a Focal Point
There are lots of specific items and designs that can be used as focal points and choosing something is largely down to personal taste. Size plays a crucial role in drawing the eye but so does colour and shape. There are a number of ideas to explore such as;
Fireplaces – A fireplace is the traditional focal point for living rooms as it creates a sense of warmth, even when unlit. Built in modern faux fireplaces can look incredible in the right setting whilst traditional brick or inglenook fireplaces create a traditional focal point.
Furniture – Large furniture draws the eye particularly bureaus, curio cabinets and sofas or chairs. Placing them in the centre of a wall means that they split the wall into three – which triggers visual centres in the brain.
Art – art works particularly well above a mantelpiece, over a bed or in a prominent position above furniture. A single large painting can speak volumes about a person and a place. Position your art at eye level or slightly above eye level for the best effect.
Antiques – in much the same way as art, an antique in a prominent position will draw the eye
Mirrors – Mirrors act as an unusual focal point as they open up a room. The eye will be drawn to a large mirror and then will soak in the feel of the entire room.
Textures – a focal point doesn’t have to be a single item it can be a single wall or area of the room. One off-colour wall or textured brick work wall will instantly create a focal point for a room. Wallpaper or textured plaster can work equally well here.
Architecture – unusual shapes capture the eye and you can build around unusual brickwork or shapes in a room to create a focal point architecturally rather than through objects. This is particularly useful where stairs or other intrusions into a room change the shape.
Designing around the focal point
Once you have a focal point it’s important to build outwards from it. All objects accompanying the focal point should be smaller and less eye catching so that the main focus always remains. We like to compliment focal points either minimally, with a select few pieces, or with one or two moderately large pieces that blend to create one seamless focal design image.