How to Create a Focal Point in Any Room

Black and white living room with metallic gold

Every room needs a focal point — it’s a basic design principle. Your eye needs somewhere to land, and a focal point draws you into a room. But if you’ve got a big empty canvas, how to you create one in your space? We’ve got some ideas.

Kate Singer's living room from the Traditional Home Hamptons Showhouse

Look at Your Architecture

The architecture of many rooms may already designate a specific focal point which is a huge help. Think mantels, french doors, an oven hood in a kitchen, a freestanding bathtub in a bathroom, or a large bank of windows. When your room already has strong architecture, you won’t have to work so hard while decorating. Simply use the existing architecture and build from there.

In this room designed by Kate Singer, the fireplace is the focal point which she’s emphasized even more by flanking it with two large bookcases and adding a oversized painting.

See more of Kate Singer’s room in the 2016 Traditional Home Hamptons Showhouse.

A large mirror over a console table creates a dramatic focal point

Use Height

If you don’t have existing architecture in your space that creates a defined focal, create one with height. A large armoire or bookcase is a no-brainer, but we also love pairing a console table with our Grand Palais mirror. Hung over a table, this mirror adds height, drawing your eye in.

A large oversized light pendant turns a breakfast nook into the focal point of your kitchen

Go Oversize

A light fixture can be a great way to turn a simple space into the dramatic focus of your room needs. We love our new Kent pendant because it demands attention. Consider using it in a breakfast nook like we’ve done here. In the corner of the kitchen, this pendant draws your eye toward it, just like we need.

Emerald green velvet curtains

Bold Color

Of course if you have a small space, using one bold color can bring in that drama and interest you’ll need. Maybe try a sofa in a bold fabric or some drapery panels that stop you in your tracks.

Desk with a collection of antique globes from Suzanne Kasler's new book Timeless Style

A Collection

Suzanne Kasler masterfully creates focal points from collections. She collects antique globes, and in her own home, she groups them together to create a spot in her living room with personality and interest. You can’t help but be drawn to this display.

Use a shapely headboard or furniture piece to create a focal point in your room

Play with Shapes

An unusual shape on a furniture piece can be a good choice because it’s surprising. Consider one of our headboards with an unusual curve or a table with a super modern silhouette. Bring in something unusual, and let that one thing be the star in your room.

Balance lights and darks in your room to give the space personality and interest

Silhouette Your Piece

In this dining room, we used a dark wall color to accentuate our whitewashed furniture pieces. You could use the same method with black furniture on a white wall, or a bold wall color with neutral pieces.

For more design inspiration, visit our Pinterest Boards, or find more gorgeous rooms in our Photo Gallery.

Did you like this post and find it helpful? Rate it below and share your thoughts in the comments!

Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.


  1. Reply

    Jocelyn g Bacani

    January 10, 2020

    I need help into how to decorate an empty wall into our family too with fireplace

    • Reply

      Abbey Nolte

      January 13, 2020

      Hi Jocelyn,
      We have a team of interior designers who would love to help you figure out your decorating dilemma. Simply upload images of your room and your question here.

  2. Reply

    Nita Elrod

    April 16, 2019


  3. Reply


    January 31, 2019

    Hello, Love your site!!
    Question: I have grey walls in my living room. I want to create a wall above the sofa of family pictures? Can I use a variety of frames, such as dark oak, light oak, etc?

    Thanks so much.

    • Reply

      Caroline McDonald

      August 20, 2019

      Yes definitely! A mix of wood frames shouldn’t be a problem, especially since all of the photos will be family photos. The subject matter will link them together.

  4. Reply

    Dianne Chapman

    February 26, 2017

    I enjoy seeing all of your ideas and love your ideas, however, I live on Lake Lanier in a rustic home. All of the ideas I have seen involve more traditional homes. Can you provide more of a variety or is there someone who can look at my home and give me Ballard decorating ideas?

    • Reply

      Caroline McDonald

      March 2, 2017

      We actually do have a free interior design service both in our retail stores and online. You can simply fill out this form and a design solutions team member will contact you about your space!

  5. Reply


    February 18, 2017

    I wallpapered the focal point.I stopped at the doorway. Is that ok?