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Creating Focal Points In Your Decor

Updated on February 27, 2010

A nondescript space that lacks focus can cause the eye to get lost. Large spaces that serve many functions particularly benefit from creating highlighted areas for specific activities. Focal points serve the purpose of holding the attention of the viewer and defining the character of the space.

An architectural element, such as a majestic fireplace or a wall of windows, can serve as a ready-made focal point. For example, an eye-catching peninsula (or three-sided) fireplace that serves as a divider and can be viewed from both kitchen and great room needs no enhancement to serve as the distinct feature in a space. An expansive wall of windows that has a magnificent view does not require any window coverings or embellishments to act as the room's defining accent.

Many homeowners are not so fortunate to have architectural features inherent within their spaces. That is because about a quarter century ago all architects who designed homes that are destined to sell for under a million dollars or so were universally brainwashed into believing that the proletarians who would live in those homes wanted featureless blank boxes as their residences. That is why they have adopted the sorrowful proliferation of cookie cutter blank drywall expanses with standard bland windows, and doors that are nothing more than the 2001 monolith painted white.

There are, however, several ways to create an interesting focal point within a designated area. By concentrating on color, texture and scale, one can draw a viewer's attention to a particular feature. It is possible to design a visual anchor in a room by focusing on decorative accessories, wall, window and floor coverings.

Introduce color to a winter-white space by adding a dramatically styled table or stylish armoire that features a deep-stained finish. Or, paint built-in bookshelves, moldings and trims in a rich, contrasting color. Using scale as a focal point within a space may be accomplished by hanging one large, dramatic painting on an accent wall. Another alternative is to hang several smaller framed prints, depicting a common theme, in one grouping. Utilize the same matting and similar size and shape frames to portray the grouping as one cohesive unit.

Introduce both color and scale as the basis for a focal point by tying the two concepts together. For instance, visualize a color scheme consisting of pale-pink wall coverings and white window treatments and furnishings. Select an oversized, slender cactus plant topped with magenta flowering buds in a simple white pot. By adding the muted-green coloration of the cactus and small burst of deep-magenta flowers to contrast with the pale-pink wall coverings, you have created an instant focal point. Pay close attention to the placement of the potted cactus plant, making sure to maximize the focal point's exposure.

Color and scale can also work together to create a window-covering focal point within a room. To create a stunning living or dining room, frame an ordinary window with stylish window coverings and embellishments. You may elect to create a window covering with a contrasting color. This option works especially well when the existing surrounding walls and furnishings consist of neutral colors.

Continued In Creating Focal Points In Your Decor Part 2


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