The key to making a real statement is creating one main stand-out feature in your space – something to entice your eye and draw you into a room. My tip is to create a focal point first, and then base everything else around it.
BUILT-IN FOCAL POINTS
Your focal point should highlight the best feature of your room. Focal points are ideally built-in features, particularly in older period homes. Some common built-in focal points include:
WINDOWS & VIEWS
If you’re lucky your focal point could be a window that highlights a beautiful view. In this case make the view stand out. Consider a black window to draw your eye out and keep the window unobscured with simple window coverings.
Traditionally, even in our beautiful old ‘Queenslanders’ the focal point of the home was often a fireplace with a statement surround. Arrange a seating area around the fireplace and if possible, elevate it with a beautiful mirror, a bold piece of art or a feature wall to make it centre stage.
Play up feature joinery like a window seat or built-in shelving. Highlight the joinery with beautiful accessories or a stylish seating area.
Heritage features such as timber beams and exposed brick can be a lucky find and are often left exposed to bring attention to these striking elements. Decorative cornices, fretwork and mouldings are also special details worth highlighting. This is often done with colour.
While high ceilings don’t seem like they require much in terms of design, paint colours and beautiful lighting can really draw attention to them and create that simple feature you are after.
CREATE YOUR OWN FOCAL POINT
In more contemporary spaces, you may need to be more creative and put more thought into your focal point. If there is nothing built-in that you would like to emphasise create your own focal point. There are many options to choose from. Pick the one that works best for your space and style.
ARTWORK & MIRRORS
If you’re not fortunate enough to have a fireplace, create a focal point with a piece of art that will WOW. A trick with a small space is to use one large piece of art. Whilst several small pictures tend to break up a space, one large artwork can make a small space feel grander. Use this technique in a foyer or a small living room that needs a focal point. You can highlight your artwork further with accent lighting.
A mirror is another way to add the impact you need. It can make a space feel bigger and add instant light.
A patterned or textural wall covering or contrasting paintwork can make a dramatic focal point. These are usually located on the opposite wall from the entry to the room.
Kitchens and bathrooms also often make the use of these feature wall elements as a focal point. These may take the form of a beautiful marble or pressed metal splashback in the kitchen or a wall of feature tiles in the bathroom. These feature elements usually incorporate bold pattern, colour or texture.
Other focal points to consider are an oversized potted plant, a dramatic pendant light, a special piece of furniture you love or a large vase or sculpture.
Statement furniture pieces often form the focal point in a dining room or bedroom where the furniture is centrally located. Here, you can add accents like a centrepiece for the table or cushions on the bed to highlight the area and help draw the eye.
The careful selection of one main focal point will ensure that your room doesn’t appear confused. Secondary features can be toned down with softer hues and minimal highlights, while main focal points can be further illuminated with lighting, accessories and colour or texture.
Selecting your focal point is a fundamental trick to great interior design – and for good reason. Your focal point will be the element that attracts the eye first. It will create the starting point for the story you’re telling.