top of page

The Art of Emphasizing a Focal Point in a Room

If you scan this webpage, you will notice there is a hierarchy to the various elements. If every word in this post was the same size and boldness as the title formatting, the article would be visually atrocious and reading would be an overwhelming headache.

This example displays a fundamental design principle: you can’t emphasize everything. The same concept applies to interior design. In order for some elements to stand out, other features must fade into the background. In this post, Interlux Interiors explore the art of emphasizing a focal point when designing a room.

What is a Focal Point in Interior Design?

Simply put, a focal point is the spot in a room that immediately grabs your attention. No matter how bold or subtle, your eye is instantly drawn to this signature feature. It might be a floor-to ceiling stone fireplace or a large piece of artwork. It may be massive windows with an incredible ocean-front view or a lavish kitchen island.

However, a focal point doesn’t simply grab your attention. This pivotal feature communicates how you should feel in the space. A cozy bookcase may express a casual ambiance- meant for slippers, a warm blanket, and a good book. Meanwhile, the sophisticated luxury of a grand piano in the parlor may coax you towards Manhattans after a night out with the girls.

Choosing a Focal Point to Design Around

When designing around a focal point, the first step is to determine what that feature is. With so many options to choose from, the design potential is limitless.

  • Architectural Details – exposed wooden beams or vaulted ceilings, all glass windows, or organic archways

  • Views – a panorama of a cityscape, a glittering snow-capped mountain range, or acres of lush greenery

  • Accent Walls & Ceilings – a pop of color on an alcove

  • Fireplaces – steel, wood, stone, brick, the list goes on...

  • Floor Details – a bold, colorful statement rug or chevron parquet wood flooring

  • Lighting – a cascading, artful chandelier

  • Furniture – a curved Lucite coffee table or a glamorous canopy bed

  • Artwork – a massive piece you fell in love with on your last tour through Europe

Identifying the “why” of a focal point can help guide the process of designing the rest of the room. Since great design begins with functionality and then bleeds into the aesthetics of the space, it’s helpful to consider this as a foundation for creation. Is the room intended for socializing, personal enjoyment, privacy, or utility? Try and work with natural focal points and embrace the architecture of the room if possible. Keep in mind that just because you have a glorious fireplace doesn’t mean you can’t have crystal clear floor-to-ceiling windows. As long as you establish the dominant focus, you can then develop a hierarchy with your other pieces to emphasize the primary focal point. While there is no limit to focal points, sticking to a maximum of three if you’re uncertain will ensure the room design doesn’t grow out of control.

While you can emphasize more than one focal point in a room, we suggest sticking to a maximum of three so the space doesn’t grow out of control.

How to Design Around the Focal Point

Another key design principle is that less is often more. In many spaces, people layer on too many unnecessary features in hopes of creating an exhilarating collage, but it ends up feeling cluttered and chaotic. The layout may not only lack a dominant focal point but also fail to complement the focuses of the room.

Orient Furniture Towards the Focal Point

When placing furniture, adjust so that your pieces are facing towards the focal points. If you have selected a fireplace as your dominant center of attention, center your sofa in line with the coffee table facing that direction.

Use Surrounding Décor to Draw the Eye

Incorporating this tip depends on what kind of piece you hope to accentuate. Large windows with an incredible view don’t need excessive molding, blinds, and curtains that can cause distraction. Bookcases, however, rely heavily on the strategic placement of books, plants, trinkets, and baskets to draw in the eye.

Play with Contrasting Colors

If you have decided on a bright a bold piece of artwork as your center pieces, you can decorate with primarily neutral furniture to really make it pop. You can also silhouette a whitewashed dining table with a black accent wall.

Shine a Spotlight with Lighting

Spotlights over artwork, chandeliers for a vaulted ceiling, or wall sconces on either side of a headboard can help emphasize your center piece.

Center Yourself & Your Design with Interlux Interiors

Beautiful design requires a hierarchy of assets centered around a dominant focus. In many cases, you can let the architecture of the space and surrounding views guide your design. Remember to consider the intended use of the space in order to create the right energy with your design.

If you’re ready to transform your home into an environment where you feel centered, safe, and truly at peace, our global designers at Interlux Interiors can bring your vision to life. With our extensive interior design experience, your home will be a centering refuge for you and your family.

Contact Interlux Interiors to learn more about our services!



bottom of page