Home & Leisure

Art of Design: Focusing on a Focal Point

Joseph Pubillones on

Ever enter a room and feel a bit disoriented? Chances are what is missing is a focal point.

A quick glimpse into your rooms can reveal a lot. You don't know exactly what is wrong, but you feel like you are floating in a sea of furniture, and the room seems to be missing a sense of purpose. Perhaps your room lacks a focal point.

In most traditional architecture and interiors, the focal point is a given. The rooms are generally defined by four walls. In every room, the focal point manifests itself in the form of a strong predominant architectural feature such as a fireplace, a bay window or a strategically placed archway. In these types of rooms, the focal points are easy to recognize and a sense of familiarity and comfort exudes from them. Furniture arrangements are sometimes symmetrical and sometimes not. They mostly radiate subserviently around the focal point.

On the other hand, in more contemporary architecture and interiors, the focal point is harder to identify. This holds especially true in condominiums and newer homes. With the modern preference for open floor plans, sometimes a dedicated wall for the purpose of a focal point doesn't exist. In these situations, a focal point must be created. Here are a few tips for you:

Accenting a wall with color is an easy and inexpensive way to create interest and create a focal point.

A large piece of furniture such as a chest or tallboy dresser is also an effective way to create an interesting focal point.

Putting wallpaper on one wall in a unique pattern is another way to create an exciting focal point.

A grouping of art or mirrors can create a focal point.

Trimming out an opening such as a doorway or window with millwork is a way of creating a focal point.


Drapery can be used to build up a window or doorway as a focal point. Use a valance or pelmet.

Pairings of furniture -- a console and mirror; a credenza and art; a settee and framed prints -- can be arranged as focal points.

Televisions have had quite a "coming out" from closets, armoires and entertainment units to reveal themselves in their updated flat-screen form as sleek status symbols on their own.

When appropriate, you can make the ceiling a focal point by painting it a different color, adding an architectural feature such as a medallion or simply adding a unique light fixture.

Creating a focal point helps anchor the furniture and gives the room a sense of purpose and organization. Don't forget that the focal point needn't be something static only to be seen. This significant feature of the room may be what generates activity in an otherwise passive room. It is important to keep the size of the room in mind and scale your intervention so it is neither too small nor too large. However, don't shy away from being bold; calling attention to one particular part of the room is the task at hand ... Get to the point!


Joseph Pubillones is the owner of Joseph Pubillones Interiors, an award-winning interior design firm based in Palm Beach, Florida. To find out more about Joseph Pubillones, or to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Copyright 2020 Creators Syndicate Inc.


blog comments powered by Disqus

Social Connections


Candorville Dogs of C-Kennel Mother Goose & Grimm Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee Steve Benson Brian Duffy