Focal Points - What, How and Why

How should I arrange my furniture?  I hear and see this question constantly.  It’s one of the most important considerations if you’re considering a budget makeover that doesn’t include new furniture.  Moving a few pieces of furniture can change the look and feel of your room.  How do you know where to start? 

Your focal point is the key to arranging your furniture in a room.

Find It

Find your focal point – you hear this constantly when redecorating your room.  Create a focal point, define a focal point, decorate around your focal point.  How the heck do you create one if you don’t know what it is in the first place? 

A focal point is anything in the room that creates or draws attention.  In a living room it can be the fireplace, entertainment center, a sofa or even a special architectural feature.  If you don’t have anything jumping out at you in your room as a focal point, then you need to create one.   Use a piece of art or a particular piece of furniture, it’s usually the largest one in the room.  99.9% of the time, your focal point is going to be against or on a wall.

Define It

Now that you’ve found it, what the heck do you do with it?  Define it!  You certainly don’t want to draw attention away from it now that you’ve found it.  Your goal in defining your focal point is to keep the interest in that area – which will usually mean arranging your furniture around it.  Take a fireplace or entertainment center for instance, when arranging your furniture in the family room, you’re going to create a seating area to enjoy that focal point.

Use an area rug to create the definition of the seating area and arrange your furniture to encourage conversation and interaction.  That means comfortable seating with places to set drinks and be able to get up and sit down easily.

What about artwork being your focal point?  Are you going to create a seating area around a picture?  No, you’re going to use accent lighting to draw attention to it and coordinate your furniture to it.  That doesn’t  mean you have to match your furniture to your picture – but you sure can use a throw or accent pillow on your couch to bring out a particular color in the art.

Accentuate It

Accentuate the positive….if your couch becomes your focal point – draw attention to it by adding a large mirror or artwork above it, decorate it with throw pillows, arrange other seating around it.  For a fireplace, use well-grouped accessories and artwork to highlight it.  For a bedroom, your bed will normally become the focal point, so play it up with comforters, pillow and more to bring out the best feature of it – the fact that it’s comfortable!

Now that you’ve identified it, defined it and accentuated it, your focal point will help you arrange your furniture in any room of the house.