Interior design can seem daunting, with so many elements to balance in order to create a cohesive and aesthetically pleasing space. However, small changes can have a big impact, and thoughtfully selecting even one special feature can take a room from bland to captivating. Whether it’s an eye-catching light fixture, a statement piece of art, an accent wall, or another focal point, a well-chosen feature draws the eye, pulls the space together, and makes it feel complete.
Choose the Right Focal Point
When deciding on a statement piece for a room, consider the overall style and purpose of the space. Is it meant to be soothing and calm? Dramatic and moody? Full of character? The focal point should enhance the room’s vibe. Also think about the architecture and layout – is there an awkward blank wall or oddly-shaped nook crying out for something special? Identify where the eye naturally lands when entering the room, and make that the display spot for your feature.
For many rooms, a strategically placed piece of art is all it takes to create an instant wow-factor. When selecting artwork to spotlight:
- Consider the room’s color scheme and style. An abstract pop of color may look out of place in a traditional living room, while classic landscapes could seem stuffy for a modern loft.
- Size matters. A small piece will get drowned out in a large room with high ceilings. Take measurements to ensure your art will have enough presence.
- Frame it properly. The frame should complement both the art and the room decor. Simple black frames pair well with contemporary spaces, while ornate gold frames fit traditional aesthetics.
- Theme it to the room. Nautical prints in a coastal-inspired space, abstract florals for a living room, cityscapes for an urban apartment – matching the genre adds cohesion.
- Feature 3-D art. Sculptures, shadowboxes, and textured paintings add extra depth and interest.
- Add drama with black-and-white photography featuring intense lighting contrasts.
Art Display Ideas
- Gallery wall – Group several pieces together for maximum impact. Include a mix of sizes, colors, and frame styles.
- Over the sofa – Art above eye level draws the gaze up. Anchor it with plants or sconces beside the sofa.
- Dominate a blank wall – Large statement art transforms awkward empty spaces.
- Down a hallway – Line a long corridor with uniformly framed and matted pieces.
Light fixtures may be functional, but they also have huge design potential. From sparkling chandeliers to industrial pendants, statement lights instantly spice up a boring room.
- Chandeliers – Nothing makes a dramatic statement like a cascading crystal chandelier. Use over dining tables or in foyers.
- Pendants – Hang a cluster of pendant lights at varying heights over a kitchen island or bar area. Choose a sculptural style for visual impact.
- Sconces – Mount artsy sconces beside beds or flanking a fireplace for ambiance. Go for a bold shape.
- Floor lamps – An arcing floor lamp can accent a reading nook. Pick a color for a pop like red or gold.
- Table lamps – Crystal-based lamps add elegance on end tables. Opt for opaque lampshades to emit a soft glow.
- Marquee lights – Line a shelf or dresser with custom marquee letters like a mini-Vegas strip.
- Track lighting – Spotlight wall art, shelves, or architectural elements with adjustable track heads.
Creative Lighting Ideas
- Install dimmers for most fixtures – this allows you to control the mood.
- Layer lighting for depth – mix overhead, accent, and ambient sources.
- Backlight wall art or architectural details for added drama.
- Highlight display collections – bookcases, shelves, console tables.
- Shine a light upwards to add spaciousness – bounce off the ceiling.
- Use smart bulbs like Hues to change the color scheme with a tap.
An accent wall done right can transform a ho-hum room into a striking statement. Use paint or wallpaper to make one surface bolder than the rest.
- Dark colors are daring – charcoal grey, black, or navy blue.
- Metallic silver or gold adds glamour. Consider textured metallics for depth.
- Rich tones like emerald green, eggplant purple, and ruby red feel luxurious.
- Neutrals get updated interest with organic texture – grasscloth, brick, wood, stone.
- Geometric or graphic wallpaper packs a punch – zigzags, damask, oversized floral.
- Be adventurous with shape – accent a focal point like fireplace wall or do a ceiling or closet door.
- Use the 60-30-10 rule – 60% neutral main color, 30% accent wall, 10% other accents.
- Tie it in – echo accent color in rug, pillows, drapes. Add metallic accents with gold/brass.
- Spotlight the wall – position seating to face it, hang art over it, light it up with sconces.
Sometimes a room’s existing architecture needs no extra decorating due to beautiful built-in accents. Find ways to play up these features.
- Molding – Chair rail, picture rail, crown molding add lovely classical detail. Paint in a glossy shade for contrast.
- Columns – Spotlight shapely columns with wall uplighting. Or install artwork in their arches.
- Exposed beams – Leave wooden ceiling beams natural or whitewash them bright for a rustic feel.
- Fireplaces – Flank with sconces, fill the mantel with art/mirrors, choose a statement tile surround.
- Windows – Hang long curtains, add textured shades, display plants in deep window wells.
- Bookcases – Fill them artfully, then illuminate with attached library sconces.
- Staircases – Decorate a staircase wall with gallery-style framed art. Highlight rails with sculptural sconces.
- Arches/Alcoves – Stage statuary or furniture inside archways. Hang tapestries or curtains at the opening.
Focal Points by Room
Now that we’ve covered some eye-catching focal point options, here are specific ideas for popular rooms:
Living Room Accents
As the main gathering place, the living room deserves special treatment. Use one of these focal points to create an inviting, impressive mood.
- Fireplace – Whether traditional brick or modern gas, a fireplace naturally draws attention. Accent with marble/stone surround, rustic wood mantel, copper hood, or vivid tile. Flank with sconces and fill the mantel with art.
- Windows – Frame out large living room windows with sweeping curtains. For small windows, lean floor lamps or plants against the panes to amplify. Add bold Roman shades.
- TV Feature Wall – Conceal unsightly media cabinets with faux built-ins flanking the TV. Paint or wallpaper the wall behind for contrast. Shelve collections in bookcases beside.
- Sculptural Lighting – Suspend an intriguing modern chandelier overhead where it will cast interesting shadows. Or install track lighting to precisely spotlight art.
- Grand Piano – The piano’s bold silhouette commands focus. Angle it diagonally across the room so guests can admire its form. Prop lid open to display the keys.
- Vibrant Rug – Choose an oversized area rug with striking pattern and color as the floor’s focal point. Arrange seating around its edges with the coffee table on top.
- Collections – Display treasured pieces – books, seashells, miniatures, sculptures – together in curio cabinets. Or artfully arrange vignettes on floating shelves.
Make the entryway memorable with an eye-catching decor feature visible from the front door. Consider:
- Chandelier – Nothing says luxury like a sparkling foyer chandelier. Surround with gilded mirrors or sconces for even more sparkle.
- Wallpaper Accent Wall – Cover one entry wall in lively patterned wallpaper framed out by white moulding.
- Focal Mirror – Hang a giant statement mirror (leaning or round) to reflect and enlarge the space.
- Bench – Upholster a bench in vivid patterned fabric with exotic maps or abstract shapes. Place beneath wall art.
- Architectural Salvage – Display an antique corbel, urn, bust, obelisk, or other architectural relic on a small entry table.
- Sculpture – Mount an intriguing iron, wood, or stone sculpture on a pedestal or inside an alcove.
Dining Room Dazzle
Draw guests into the dining room with a bold focal point. Possibilities include:
- Dramatic Chandelier – Candle-style or cascading crystal immediately glams up the space. Go big so it doesn’t get lost at high ceilings.
- Statement Hutch – An oversized curio cabinet packed with china/collectibles inspires conversation across the table. Integrate lighting.
- Wine Display – Install open wine racks or floating glass-front cabinets to showcase vintages. Place near the table for ease.
- Colorful Rug – Choose an intricate patterned rug covering most of the floor in rich hues – navy/indigo, burgundy, emerald green.
- Handpainted Mural – Commission a wall mural depicting Tuscany tablescapes, Parisian cafes, grapevines, fruit trees, etc. for a scenic backdrop.
- Gallery Wall – Group painted canvases, plates, framed botanicals, prints in coordinating frames on one wall. Tie colors to dishes or decor.
The kitchen is the heart of the home. Give it personality with one of these conversation-starting centerpieces:
- Premium Range – A pro-grade gas range in stainless, matte black, or custom color pops against cabinetry. Add an arched hood.
- Textured Backsplash – Handmade tile, glass, marble, or stone make backsplashes stand out. Introduce eye-catching shape or dazzling color.
- Pendant Lights – Instantly transform plain cabinets with a row of dangling pendant lights. Go modern, vintage, sculptural, or colorful.
- Exposed Brick Wall – For rustic warmth, strip walls to reveal original brickwork. Whitewash or seal for cleaner look.
- Barn Door – Install a sliding reclaimed wood barn door at the kitchen entry for a focal point with historic character.
- Open Shelving – Instead of upper cabinets, mount shelves and display colorful dishware, cookbooks, and decor. Light up underneath.
Your private retreat deserves special attention. Consider these striking bedroom accents:
- Upholstered Headboard – Choose a padded tufted, nailhead, wingback, or camelback headboard in lush fabric. Neutrals look cozy; patterns add punch.
- Canopy Bed – Evoke luxury with wooden posts rising to a gauzy draped canopy overhead. Add romance with lights intertwined.
- Accent Wall – Make the bed wall captivating with vivid paint or wallpaper. Consider metallic sheen, textured grasscloth, or graphic mural style.
- Room-Spanning Headboard – For a contemporary look, span the entire wall behind the bed with a sleek upholstered headboard.
- Statement Nightstands – Opt for avant-garde shaped nightstands with glossy finishes like acrylic, lacquer, Lucite, or polished nickel.
- Dramatic Lighting – Suspend bold lighting over the bedside – colored glass globes, cloud-shaped sculptures, cascading crystals.
Even utilitarian baths need decor appeal. Make them feel spa-like with:
- Freestanding Tub – Evoke a spa with an elegant stand-alone soaking tub displayed in the open. Surround with stone tile.
- Pendant Lights – Shimmering crystal pendants add a luxurious touch. Cluster 3-5 over vanities or freestanding tubs.
- Floating Vanity – For a sleek modern look, install wall-mounted floating double vanities with under-lighting and hidden plumbing.
- Vintage Hardware – Swap out basic knobs and faucets for eye-catching vintage pieces in worn copper, brass, crystal and porcelain.
- Textured Tiles – Line walls and floors with artisan shaped and colored tiles like Moroccan fish scale, iridescent glass, metallic herringbone, or handmade encaustic tiles.
- Wallpaper Accent Wall – Use a dramatic tropical leaf print, Peacock pattern, or archival European designs to make one wall pop.
Questions to Consider
Still deciding which direction to take your room’s focal point? Ask yourself these questions:
What is the room’s purpose and desired feel?
- A nursery needs a cheerful, inspiring mood. A home office should feel focused and productive. Answer this before choosing accent decor.
What will make the room feel finished and pulled-together?
- It may need an element of softness (textiles, organic shapes), shine (metallics, glass), warmth (wood tones), or nature (greenery, natural materials).
What is the room’s architectural style?
- Let bold molding and arches guide choices for a formal space. For contemporary lofts, go more sleek and sculptural. Rustic rooms deserve handcrafted wood and leather.
What view or architectural feature deserves highlighting?
- Draw the eye outward with window treatments in rooms with appealing views. Make built-ins like fireplaces or bookshelves the star.
What collections could be displayed?
- Showcase favorite items like books, travel souvenirs, heirloom china or artwork rather than hiding them away.
How will the room be used?
- Consider reading nooks, conversation areas, TV viewing sightlines, number of people cooking in a kitchen, etc. Use focal points to define each zone.
What mood do I want to create?
- Calming spa? Bold drama? Gallery-like white walls? Establish the overall ambiance first so all elements work in harmony.
One thoughtfully chosen standout feature can personalize a nondescript space and elevate it from generic to fabulous. Consider the room’s purpose, architecture, and your lifestyle before selecting that special focal point. The right statement-maker draws together decor, complements the layout, brings joy when you walk in the room, and makes you proud to show your home off to friends and family. Some final tips:
- Spotlight what makes your home distinctly yours – whether a spectacular view or a treasured collection.
- Take advantage of high ceilings or generous expanses of wall to go bold with larger-than-life art, voluminous curtains, or sweeping chandeliers.
- Look for opportunities to disguise eyesores like hiding media components or pipes behind furnishings and framed art.
- Seek contrast – if your overall scheme is neutral and quiet, add in a vibrant rug, glossy lacquered furniture, or citrus accent wall.
- Combine complementary textures like the smooth and organic (stone slab coffee table + linen sofa) or the ornate and rugged (crystal chandelier over reclaimed wood dining table).
- Use decorative lighting to add depth via accent, task, and ambient layers. Lighting alone can provide the wow-factor.
- Repeat motif patterns throughout the space for a collected look – black and white photographs, nautical or botanical prints, global artifacts.
By keeping focal points in mind from the start, you can build a cohesive room full of style, personality, and visual appeal. The right statement piece pulls everything together into the captivating space of your dreams.