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Designing Focal Point

Let’s start at the beginning (unlike literally every other blog post on this topic).

By definition, focal point interior design is the process of making a “showpiece” out of something that catches your eye — and your customers’ too.

The thing is, many people end up just putting something flashy in the center of their office space and call it a “focal point.”

In reality, though, the art of creating a focal point has much more subtlety and nuance attached to it.

In this article, you will learn the eight building blocks of knowledge that will equip you to become a true innovator in focal point design.

What Is A Focal Point In Design

Let's all save some time here: A focal point (when it comes to design) is the place in the room that your eyes are drawn to when you first enter it.

Or even more simply: It's the star attraction of the room.

Recall the last room you walked into (that wasn't in your house). 

There's a high probability that you will recall a particular feature about that room, such as perhaps, a color theme, or an interesting piece of furniture.

Those would be prime examples of a focal point.

You can use focal points to your benefit, as we’ll outline later in the article (they can be functional as well, instead of just being aesthetic).

Well, enough with the what, now its time for the how.

Principles Of Focal Point Design

PS — don't expect to read this article and end up with a finished focal point idea. 

What we want is to equip you with the skills needed to design your own focal point — every home is unique, and thus, so is every focal point in those rooms.

Do: Use Existing Features In The Room 

The ideal house will be constructed in a manner that already incorporates some design elements into the building that serves as a focal point upon entry to the room.


If the room has a view: “focalize” that with large sliding glass windows and a painted frame.

If the room has a window, but no view: The perfect opportunity for a window seat focal point.

If the room has a funny wall: Mounting a showpiece on that part of the wall creates a focal point that immediately grabs a visitor’s attention.

Other examples of “inbuilt” focal points are fireplaces, mantle places, vaulted or arched ceilings, wood-paneled parts of the room, and room shelving.

Do: Create Your Own 

Well, what if the room you want to redesign doesnt have any distinguishing features to make a focal point out of? Worry not, you can always make your own. 

Make your own focal points in a room by:

Accenting a wall: All this means is that one out of four walls in the room will be colored a strikingly different shade than the other three. 

Or just make one wall purely out of red brick, no paint — gives off a really rustic vibe,

Using artwork and showpieces: A boring room can always be brightened up with an interesting conversation starter like a Mayan totem pole. Bold is beautiful.

Use wallpaper: A statemen wallpaper can liven up even places as dreary as a dungeon. 

Remember to stick to the same color swatch/ palette as the rest of the room, or it’ll end up looking garish.

Don't hesitate to experiment — you can always redesign if you(r in-laws) don't like it. 

Besides, life is just a lifelong DIY project, right?

Do: Use Plants To Add Life To The Space

This could be something as subtle as two watermelon peperomia plants on either side of the mantle, or something as eye-catching as four exotic open weave dracaena marginata trees in the center of the office lobby.

Accentuating a room with a plant is never a bad idea, especially if there are no other plants in the room. 

Place the plant next to where you want your focal point to be because it is going to get noticed at some point or the other.

Do: You Can Use The Corners Too

Granted, a corner isn't a place that you would think can be the center of a room but add some signature seating, and a bar car with good lighting, and you’re ready to rock.

Alternative idea: a photo and/ or art gallery that spans both walls that make up the corner with a small table that holds a music system/ gramophone will really give off that 80’s vibe.

Don't: Neglect The Lighting, Lighting, Lighting

There's absolutely no point in designing a collage, framing it, and putting it on the wall, just to have it shown down by shoddy tungsten lights.

A well-lit room is always preferable — unless you're designing something for a man-cave, den, or recreation room.

Additionally, you can also use uniquely made light fixtures as the focal point in the room; like using a chandelier, for example.

Don't: Forget To Frame The Area

No, we’re not telling you to put the focal point inside a frame, but it is your job to ensure that the viewer's eyes reach the focal point.

To do this, you must add extra details to/ around the focal point, such as focussing a small spotlight on artwork or placing showpieces right opposite the entrance door.

Don't: EVER Have More Than One Focal Point

Reason: Why would you intentionally want to create conflict?

Additionally, some rooms may be dual-purpose in nature, so it can be tempting to have two focal points in such rooms — a big no-no.

You want the focus to be on one, amazing focal point, instead of two good ones.

Also, having two focal points will just confuse viewers as to what the centerpiece of the room is.

Miscellaneous Tips:

You DONT have to make huge structural changes to a room to enhance or create its focal point — even simply rearranging the furniture can work wonders.

Low budget focal point enhancements: pastel curtains, small peg tables, crockery cabinets, bookshelves, a bar cart.

Patterned tile mosaics are also a great way to create or draw attention to the room's focal point: use them over fireplaces, mantle places, and near windows.

Wood-paneling even a single wall (or the whole room, if you're feeling crafty) can totally change the atmosphere of a space — the voice of experience. 

Use timber planks of different widths to give a slightly slapdash look, if thats your thing.


Depending on where you're designing said focal point, the room may be used for anything from meal preparation to photocopying.

Knowing what the room will be used for goes a long way in designing its focal point.

I mean, you wouldn't want to put a ficus tree in the bathroom — you could (it would be a conversation starter) — but you shouldn't.

Hopefully, you’ll now close this window and be well on your way to revamp a work or home space, so we’ll wish you good luck and bid you goodbye.