FOCAL POINTS FOR INTERIOR DESIGN
USING FOCAL POINT IN YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN
Years ago, having just completed my training, I was very fortunate, to go to work for several years in some fine interior design studios in Newport Beach area; Frank Ferris Interiors, Christopher’s and Leon’s Interiors. These studios gave me the opportunity to work with some very fine furniture (Karges etc.) complete some commercial as well as residential interiors and do a little work with model homes.
But the most valuable interior design tool I learned came from design class, or perhaps it just evolved as I worked. I’m not sure but I do know its importance. That tool which I considerate the most important design element for almost everything you do in life, is FOCAL POINT.
Sadly, it is often missing.
Take for instance a big blank wall. How often do you see a sofa against a wall with a picture hung dead center over it and possibly three feet above the back of the sofa? Oh, dear, are you looking at your own sofa? The problem? No focal point. Things are scattered about the wall with no plan, no place for the eye to rest and nothing is relating to the other.
The solution, take a piece of paper, using the scale l/4 inch = 1 foot, draw a rectangle the size of the wall. Now place your sofa in the middle of your sofa wall. Draw it to scale. The average sofa is about 8 feet long so you will draw it 2 inches long. Measure your painting, reduce it to scale, cut it out and place it on your wall, but this time, move it down about 1 to 1 l/2 ft above the sofa and to the side. Do you have a lamp on a table next to your sofa? GOOD! Move the picture near the lamp and table. Now you have a grouping of sofa, picture & lamp. A grouping of three, a pleasing number, and you have created a focal point.
You can add other small pictures if you want a gallery wall, pillows to the sofa, or an afghan throw for color, texture and interest, but always work from the focal point. In other words don’t destroy your original design by adding a huge painting to the other side of the sofa. Always have your focal point the largest, or the most colorful, the most important item on that particular wall. You will start all over on all the other walls again creating focal points and working from there but they will be minor to your first and largest focal point.
Treat the wall like a canvas upon which you are arranging shapes in a pleasing manner and the shapes are relating to one another not scattered randomly about.
You can use this technique with every aspect of your room. The cocktail table: Use one big important accessory; a bowl of flowers or fruit, or a piece of art. That becomes your focal point. Add a few other smaller items that are complimentary in color and shape.
Focal points work with everything you do; flower arrangements, table settings, fashion, garden design and they come in handy. Years ago I was attempting to sell a rental house. It was vacant and buyers were walking through and not buying. I took a round table, draped it with a long white cloth over which I put a blue calico table square. I topped the table with yellow napkins and a big yellow wire basket filled with fake yellow lemons. I sent this vignette in the corner of the all white kitchen and it shone like a little jewel. Shortly after I sold the house. I'm sure that buyer's walking through remembered that house with the basket of lemons. I think it set my house apart of the others on the market.
Start observing things that are pleasing to look at. A beautiful garden has a focal point, perhaps a fountain, a bench, or just a large tree or bush. From that point flow smaller plants and flowers.
Rooms should have furniture arranged in focal points and they become conversation groupings also. With a large sofa, you may want to put an upholstered chair next to it to help settle the sofa into the room. (The sofa is usually the largest piece of furniture) Across from these two pieces you can counter the weight with a pair of chairs, a table, the TV, or something that keeps the room balanced. But always you will keep one main focal point in the room, which is your largest piece of furniture, and then create several other minor focal points on the adjacent walls and floor spaces.