The beginning of the new year is often accompanied by the desire to change the look and feel of your home. You may decide to add a new piece of furniture, such as a coffee table or chair, or you might want to change the look of the room entirely by rearranging your current furniture.
One way to instantly change the look of a living room is to change the focal point — the spot that immediately grabs attention when someone enters the room. In today’s homes, the primary standouts are the fireplace and the television — especially large televisions.
“The goal of a focal point in a gathering room is to draw your guests into the space,” says Diana Hathaway, interior designer and blogger at Gorgeous Color.com. “Without a clear focal point, a room can feel chaotic and unsettled because it doesn’t give the eyes anything to rest on. And having numerous focal points can make it hard to relax in a space.”
Work with What You Have
In a time of super-sized, wall-mounted, flat-screen televisions, it’s challenging to keep the TV from overpowering the rest of the room. You may also have an ornate, massive fireplace that immediately draws attention. Because you can’t “hide” your TV or move your fireplace, Hathaway suggests the best option is to create an adjacent accent wall that lures the attention away. It’s better to choose an adjacent wall — as opposed to an opposite wall — to avoid creating “a confusing imbalance in the room.” An adjacent wall allows the two spaces to work together.
“Creating a new focal point can be very simple,” Hathaway says. She recommends using paint or wallpaper to create an accent wall, a piece of furniture with a large mirror or artwork above it, or a wall filled with framed art. Any of these could become your new focal point.
One of the most common missteps in minimizing one focal point and creating a new one is accidentally creating a competing focal point. Rather than trying to hide the previous focal point, you should try to work it into the overall feel and flow of the room.
“If it can’t be removed, it’s important to try and minimize and incorporate it,” she says. “A sofa arranged with its back to the fireplace that you’re hoping to de-emphasize is an example of how not to create a new focal point.”
Instead, arrange furniture in a way that allows the original focal point to be seen but in a way that downplays its significance. For example, if it’s a fireplace you’re trying to minimize, keep mantle decorations to a minimum and avoid hanging large art or a mirror above it.
In some cases, adding a large piece of furniture, such as a large armoire or cabinet, is all it takes to shift a room’s focus. You may also consider adding a colorful chair or curtains with bright patterns to change the look, feel, and focal point of a space.
If you’re ready to add a new element to your home’s living room, you can always rent furniture to see how it works in the space. This allows you to try new styles and mix your existing furniture with something new until you find the combination that works best for you. CORT Furniture Rental can help by providing individual pieces in a variety of styles — and one is sure to fit your own.