How to Create Focal Points in the Living Room

Sarah Robinson

In the world of design, you’ll often hear people discussing the concept of a focal point. It’s a core design principle that goes beyond interior design. It’s something that is used in everything from photography and art to fashion—yes, even when you’re getting dressed in the morning you might unknowingly be thinking about it! So, what is a focal point, anyways? 

In a general sense, it’s the point in an image, a room, or a key piece of an outfit that draws the eyes in. When we’re talking about a living room, it’s the part of the room you notice first, usually because it’s more dramatic than the other surrounding elements. As an example, think about walking into a stark white room. If the only thing in the room is a large window, that’s what you’ll notice first, and that is the focal point. 

What does a focal point add to a living room? It helps to center the space and provide an anchor point in the space. Without creating a focal point, all the smaller elements of your room can feel like clutter and might not seem like they’re all tied together. It’s a super important element of any space and is definitely something you need to consider when you’re redoing your living room. 

Here’s the biggest secret when it comes to focal points: you can have more than just one! Most living rooms naturally have a few elements that naturally draw the eye in, and it only makes sense to let them shine! (For example, you might have a big picture window on one wall, a fireplace on another, and a really cool sofa - you don’t have to choose just one to highlight.) Think about how they work together and start planning your space from there. You might notice one thing when you walk into the room, but then once you sit down, the focal point will shift to what’s across from you. It can be as simple as how you arrange your furniture to highlight multiple elements at once, or how you use color in your space. 

Living room focal point ideas

So, now that you know what a focal point is, the big question is how do you find them in your living room? Let’s start by looking at elements that are built into the space. First, take a look at the walls. Most living rooms only have one or two full walls without doorways or closets, and those are great options for focal points. There are a number of ways you can highlight walls, from wallpaper and brightly painted accent walls to using objects like art or mirrors to draw attention to them. 

Fireplaces are another great example of a built in element that works as a focal point. If you’ve got a mantle, you can use paint or different finishes to make it stand out, and even place your TV or a cool piece of artwork above it to make it stand out even more. They’re a natural focal point, because they break up a solid wall and create some added texture.

Windows are also obvious focal points in a room, especially if you’ve got large windows and a great view to highlight. If your window is at the opposite end of the space from the doorway, your eye will naturally focus on it, so you don’t necessarily have to do much to it. For smaller windows, you might consider using that as a feature wall or placing a piece of statement furniture in front of the window to make it stand out a little more. 

Focal points are also largely determined by function, which means they’re based on how you’ll use the room. These can be things that aren’t built into the room, but that you want to have stand out in your space. If you’ve got a large screen TV, set up your furniture to face it and add interesting elements around it, like placing it on top of a cool shelving unit where you can add in some cool decorative pieces below it. 

 

Feature walls as focal points

One of our favorite ways to create a focal point is by adding some bold color into a room. Choose one wall you want to work with, and keep the other walls in a more toned-down, natural color. This could be a plain wall that you want to jazz up with some cool wallpaper or use a bright paint color that helps to highlight a piece of art or really makes your sofa pop. 

To choose the perfect color for your feature wall, make note of a few of your favorite items from the room and choose a hue that complements the colors in those items. If your chosen wall has some built in elements like a fireplace mantle or shelving, you’ll also want to think about whether you want to paint those elements in a different color to make them stand out, or if you want them to blend in a little more. 

If you’ve got a few focal points in your living room, you can use color to help guide the eyes when people are in the space. For example, a large window at the end of a living room might immediately catch the eye when you first walk in, so you can keep that wall more muted. Save your bold colors for the next spot you want people to notice—a fireplace or the TV wall. 


When you’re ready to transform your living room and create those cool focal points, WOW 1 DAY PAINTING can help! We offer free consultations, so we can come and take a look at your space and help you figure out what you need. Whether you need a hand figuring out which colors to use or could use some advice on planning your focal points, we’re here to help! When painting day arrives, you’ll be amazed when you have a completely new living room in just 1 day! To get started, book your free, no-obligation estimate today!