Focal Point Pointers


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Design tip from Natalia V. Trepchina-Worden, ASID

NTW Design Studio


Natalia V. Trepchina–Worden is the owner of NTW Design Studio, which focuses on residential projects. For the past 10 years she has been a lecturer at San Diego State University in its interior design program. Her design work has received several professional awards and has been featured in many publications.


Focal Point Pointers

  • If your room has great lighting, an attractive color palette, comfortable furnishings, top-of-the-line window treatments — in short everything a room could want — and yet it still feels as though something is missing, you may have forgotten to create a focal point.
  • Every space needs a focal point (or what is also known in interior design as an area of emphasis) that holds the viewer’s attention. To develop a focal point you first need to define the space’s function and then decide what interesting features it already has or will need. 
  • A focal point could be an existing architectural element, such as a fireplace in the living area or a built-in entertainment center in the family room. If you are redesigning your kitchen, the area of focus could be an interesting backsplash, a dramatic vent hood over the stove, or a large counter-high window by the sink. In the bath a beautiful vanity could be an option.
  • Sometimes existing features simply need to be reinforced. If you want to make a fireplace stand out, place a mirror or a painting above the mantel. Framing a large window with a great view by dressing it up with draperies will cause the view to be the highlight of the room.
  • Other times you have to create a focal point such as: a group of artwork or photos on the wall; a bold color for one wall; a furniture piece upholstered with large-scale patterned fabric or fabric with an interesting texture. Any of these elements can become the room’s area of emphasis.
  • Regardless of what you choose to focus on, remember that it should be the first thing the viewer sees when entering the space. Make sure that other elements in the room “play along” and avoid placing same-size focal points within proximity to each other. 
Categories: Home Design