By Larisa McShane
What is the first thing people notice when they walk into your living room? Is it the striking piece of artwork, your impressive fireplace, or is it the TV on a blank wall? A focal point in any room is the element which attracts interest and attention, it is the thing that makes your guests stop and say “wow”, it inspires an interesting conversation. You can use a focal point to make the room more exciting, it is a wonderful way to bring balance and cohesion to a room. The easiest way to create a focal point in a room is to accentuate an existing, strong element within the space. Here are some ideas:
Accent the Fireplace
A fireplace is a natural gathering place, so make it the center piece of the room. Center the main seating area in front of the fireplace and make it cozy with an area rug. You can use color or materials to make the fireplace prominent, paint or tile the fireplace shaft rather than the mantel for a more striking effect.
Emphasize the View
There is nothing more inviting than natural sunlight streaming in. If your room has a large window, you will want to emphasize the natural beauty as your focal point. If your window faces another building, consider putting up a living wall outside the window to create an ever-changing view. As with the fireplace, be sure the seating is arranged to highlight the view. Create a U shaped conversation area and anchor it with an area rug. Graceful full length drapes also help bring attention to the windows.
Prioritize the Furniture
A large antique, custom or brightly colored piece of furniture can make an excellent focal point. A unique dresser can be accessorized with an arrangement of mirrors, sconces and accessories. Use a distinct upholstery fabric or faux animal hide on a lounge or uniquely shaped chair.
Feature a Wall
If your room does not have an architectural focal point such a large window or fireplace, you can create one by featuring a wall. Painting one wall a different color is a common way to do this but don’t rule out other materials such as a textured stone, slate, tile, wood or textured panels, a mural or a built-in library. If you want to be really bold, make the ceiling your focal point by painting it a daring color and adding unique lighting fixtures.
Play Up a Work of Art
A well-chosen work of art can help pull all the colors and elements of a room together. If you are completely re-designing a room, you can start with a work of art and build the entire design around it, pulling colors and textures from the art and working those elements into the upholstery, draperies, and furniture.
When choosing your focal point, ask yourself, which element do I find the most interesting? Use the natural strengths of the room to your advantage. Be creative and confident in your choices and have fun!
Visit our website http://www.larisamcshane.com/projects/ to watch a video about our design process for a living room with before and after images.