Focal Point in Interior Design: 5 Ways to Highlight a Focus

When a photographer frames a shot, many factors come into play - angles, lighting, perspectives, and subjects. But one element always captures the viewer’s attention, anchors the image, and guides their gaze to what the photographer wants them to see. 

The subject weaves a narrative, evokes emotions, and enlivens an otherwise static frame.

In interior design, designers or decorators craft narratives within a space. Here, a focal point can transform a haphazard arrangement of objects into an immersive experience. 

But what is a focal point?

Let’s find out!

What Is a Focal Point?

The concept of a focal point lies at the very heart of interior design. It represents a striking element that commands a viewer’s attention and becomes the center of visual interest. 

In design, focal points are curated areas within a space that anchor the eye and set the tone. It’s the primary area where a person’s eyes gravitate upon entering a space. The term simply means “main point of interest.”

Focal points direct the viewer’s exploration of the room and leave a lasting impression. And contrary to what you know, “the focus” isn’t always “the center,” but just the first thing you notice. 

Photographers use composition techniques to emphasize the subject’s importance. They use leading lines or the rule of thirds to guide the eye toward the focal point. 

Similarly, designers use the principles of composition to direct attention by relying on furniture arrangement, architectural elements, or strategic placement of decorative objects. 

Why Are Focal Points Important in Interior Design?

focal point in interior design

Focal points carry considerable weight in interior design and play a pivotal role in creating visually captivating and engaging spaces. 

But why are they so important?

Here are a few reasons to create a focal point today:

  • It guides attention and creates direction within the space. As a result, focal points help visitors navigate and explore the design.
  • It creates balance and harmony by acting as a counterpoint to other elements and providing a reference that grounds the design.
  • It evokes an emotional response and enhances the viewer’s experience by inciting feelings of awe, curiosity, wonder, or tranquility.
  • It highlights key features and allows designers to spotlight the strengths of a space by accentuating furniture, views, or architectural details.
  • It tells a story and acts as the protagonist by conveying a specific message or theme.
  • It enhances visual hierarchy and prioritizes elements by drawing attention to the essential aspects of the design.

Which Elements Can Become Focal Points?

Any space can have a focal point, and many elements can take on the role. But there are some fan favorites.

When designing or decorating a room, turn these elements into focal points:

  • Furniture:Placing a sofa, an intricate dining table, or a bed is the easiest way to create a focal point. This way, you’ll establish a harmonious composition that encourages people to gather around.
  • Lighting: Using lighting fixtures like chandeliers and pendant lights strategically spotlights specific areas and adds drama to the room. Fixtures themselves can even become their own focal points.
  • Greenery: Without natural elements, a space loses half its potential. A lush, well-placed faux green wall provides much-needed life and texture into a room and only needs the occasional cleaning.
  • Artwork: A statement painting, a gallery wall, or a masterful sculpture commands attention and tells a story at a glance. These additions inject personality and aesthetic value. And you might even say our artificial topiary is a work of art itself.
  • Window: The play of light through a window frames views, connects indoor and outdoor environments, and fosters a sense of openness. The more prominent your windows are, the more attention they’ll draw.
  • Fireplace: Considered the heart of a home, fireplaces anchor a space and invite people to gather around, much like a cozy sofa does. A flickering hearth is a timeless symbol of comfort and one that beckons attention.

How to Highlight Focal Points in Interior Design?

green wall focal point

While putting together a focal point seems like an easy feat, it involves strategic considerations and intentional design choices. Here are some of the best ways to highlight focal points in interior design:

1. Use Natural Focal Points

Sometimes, the space you’re working with already comes with a focal point, like large windows or a built-in fireplace. Instead of creating another competing focal point, leverage the existing one. 

For example, drape colorful curtains and frame the window overlooking a garden or a mountain range. Or, decorate the fireplace mantel with artificial hanging plants. Just make sure they don’t catch fire - that won’t benefit your focal point. 

2. Mind the Furniture Placement

For an easy cop-out, arrange furniture in a way that directs attention toward the focal point. To do this, consider the furniture pieces' scale, proportions, and angles in relation to the focus. 

For example, orient seating arrangements around a fireplace or an imposing TV console. Or, position furniture items to face the focal point, creating a visual flow that naturally leads the eye to it. Creating symmetry is a great way to emphasize a focal point and is ideal for drawing attention to a standout element. 

3. Alter the Flow of the Room

What do the best-designed rooms have in common?

Your eyes know where to look first, second, and last. A room shouldn’t be a salad bowl of unrelated elements. Instead, the designer will lead you through the room and guide your eye toward what they want you to see and when they want you to see it. 

So, manipulate the flow of the room by placing decorative elements, establishing a clear visual path, and positioning furniture to create a sense of direction. That’s how you can make sure it naturally leads people to the focal point. 

4. Add Points of Contrast

Human eyes are inherently drawn to areas of contrast, which is why we love those black-and-white images. But playing with contrasts can also benefit your interior design and highlight the importance of the focal point. 

You can achieve this with colors, textures, or materials (without going overboard). For example, if your focal piece is a bold, vibrant art piece, paint the surrounding walls in a neutral color to make it pop even more. 

5. Adorn It With Fake Plants

Enhance the visual impact of your chosen focal point by adorning it with artificial greenery or other green accents. After all, we even started a business because we saw the impact of greenery firsthand!

Strategically placed fake plants infuse the space with Mother Nature’s breath and ground the focal area. But before choosing your plants, consider the style and theme of the room. Sleek and modern interiors would do well with a hanging fake Eucalyptus vine that can soften harsh lines. On the other hand, a Country Fern artificial green wall is perfect for rustic or bohemian aesthetics.  

What Now?

And now, your photo composition is complete. You have a focal point, accompanying elements, and attention-grabbers.

Each step in the process adds another layer to the tale of your living space, but the focal points are your protagonists. They set the tone, weave the narrative, and transform ordinary rooms. 

Are you ready to create interior spaces that sing with character and save time and money?

Reach out to us today so we can help you craft a hypnotic focal point in a matter of days!