Walk into a room for the first time. If your eyes are led by its contents to an item or feature of the room you have located the focal point. If the room is designed correctly, the focal point should be easily discerned. Filling a room with clutter or having a poor arrangement of the items in the room will either remove the focal point or disguise it until it is rendered pointless. When starting with a blank slate or rather an empty room, creating or emphasizing a focal point is a relatively easy task.
Determine if the room has a natural focal point when it is empty.
Most of the time the focal point of an empty room is some prominent feature of the room. A fireplace or large window often are designed into the architecture of the room for this purpose. For rooms that have a natural focal point, the trick is to lay out and furnish the room to accent and compliment this feature.
The room’s furnishings should draw the eye toward the focal point.
Placing large pieces of furniture so that the feature is easily viewed from that perspective is one way to emphasize a focal point. Making the feature bright or adding pieces to increase the prominence of that area of the room can work to highlight a focal point. Even the placement of area rugs and lamps can help to accent the focal point in the room.
Not all rooms have a built-in focal point.
If the room does not have a natural focal point, it is a good plan to design one into the layout of the room’s furnishings. For a family room, a large screen television can become the focal point. In a bedroom, a large or antique dresser with an obvious mirror can make a great focal point. In a dining room, it can be a great centerpiece or a designer chandelier. An entry hall can use a large mirror, coat and hat stand, or even another functional piece. An expensive and sizable area rug can become a focal point in a library or sitting room.
Without a natural or large focal point, look for something that anchors the color palette or theme of the room.
If a room has a nice variety of colors represented in its decor, more than likely there will be one item in the room that contains enough of the colors to coordinate them. It may be a piece of artwork or a woven rug. You may even discover that it is not a color palette that draws the room together, but a common theme. Look at the pictures on the walls and flat surfaces. Notice any recurring geometric shapes in the room. There may be antiques or collectibles from a common historic era. It is likely that one of these pieces or collections will be more dominant than the rest. It will serve as the focal point.
Rooms are not required to have a focal point.
While a focal point is not mandatory within a room, it adds extra dimension and interest to the room. You may find many rooms that have no focal point because the furniture is just put in the room to be functional. The same is true of lighting and other items like photographs of family members. This is not a problem. Do not spend too much time trying to decode every room that you enter for a focal point because it may just turn out to be a waste of time.