When you walk into a room or interior space, you’ll feel more comfortable if your eye can rest on a main feature. That feature is called the ‘focal point’ of the room. It’s arguably the defining feature of the room, and one that visitors won’t need to have pointed out to them. It should anchor the space and give it a personality all of its own, and the other aspects of the room should support it; everything from the style of lighting to the colour of your sofa covers or chair covers.
If you’re wondering about examples - if your room has a beautiful picture window looking out to a lovely garden, that’s your focal point. If you have a fireplace, large or small, that will often be the focal point in that room. Other potential focal points include: a large cabinet, an oriental or uniquely patterned rug, a dramatic or ornate mirror, a fabric panel… we could go on!
Now, not every room has a natural focal point. Without a focal point, everything vies for attention, and that can lend a feeling of slight chaos and disjointedness to the room. You’ll note that we’re using the term in the singular - if you’ve got too many features competing for the status of a focal point, it can make the space look very busy. So for the best effect, you’ll want make some careful adjustments until you’re left with one standout feature. If you’ve got too many, consider removing a few. And if you’ve not got any focal points at all, here are a few tips to help you get started!
If there’s anywhere in the room that feels like a gap that you need to fill, focus your efforts on that first. They’re often created when an existing feature of the room had been removed, such as a fireplace, although you could find them on the wall, floors or ceiling. To be honest, these sorts of gaps can be difficult to objectively define - it’s about wherever you feel there’s an absence of something. Once you notice it, you can then start to think about what sort of feature you can use to utilise the space.
For example, a gap on the floor can be filled with a beautifully designed rug, whereas a wide space between two chairs can be occupied by long table. If there’s a gap on the wall on the other hand, you might want to think about artwork, or a canvas photograph. Just remember there’s a very delicate balance to be struck - you don’t want the space to feel too sparse, but you won’t want it to feel too crowded either. Build up slowly, and don’t be afraid to scale back!
If your home has any high ceilings, these can provide great opportunities for an arresting focal point. A pendant light, for example, can automatically draw your eye up and down a space, and emphasise the room’s height. The same goes for tall, narrow artworks, which can provide extra visual intrigue.
The main thing to bear in mind here, though, is that you’ll need to judge the distance carefully. If it’s too low, it can start to invade the space on ground level a little bit, which will have the overall effect of making the room feel a little small and cramped. If it’s too high on the other hand, it can diminish the effect of having a focal point at all, making the space feel just as cavernous as it did before.
Of course, one of the brilliant things about having a focal point is that it’s a role which can be filled quite comfortably by something you bought (or were gifted) with the express intention of displaying it prominently.
So if you’ve got an ornament, bookcase or armoire that you want to take centre stage, then you can then look for opportunities to incorporate that into the room, and rearrange your room around it. Large plants like succulents often make good focal points - if you’ve got one of your own, you can move it to near the windows so that it gets maximum sunlight. This change might prompt (or inspire) you to move something else, and then something else to make room for that change too. In this way, just that one object can end up becoming the focal point for your entire design.
Your focal point might even be a statement piece of furniture. An armchair sitting in pride of place, or a Chesterfield sofa, for example - perhaps paired with your choice of chair cover or sofa cover. That can make it not only look amazing, but continue to ensure your room serves as a supremely functional space. And if you’re thinking about refreshing or revitalising any of your furniture, that’s exactly where we can help here at Plumbs.
You can find new furniture covers right here on our site, and we also offer an expert furniture reupholstery service. Feel free to give us a quick call on 0800 019 0505 if you’ve got any questions, or you’re looking for something specific. Our team is here to help!
We'll go through our fabric collections and offer advice on colour and designs. There's no pressure to buy anything.