Upon entering any space, there are areas of immediate interest
that the science of interior design recognizes as focal points. Focal points
include anything that immediately, and often unconsciously, captures the
viewer's attention and is interesting enough to make them want to look further.
Interior designers are skilled at creating focal points, assembling all
elements inside a particular room so they work together and complement each
other to strengthen the whole composition. All great interior design begins
with focal points!
Now, fade to the picture-perfect covers of magazines like Veranda or Architectural Digest, and you will see the most masterfully
organized focal points designed by the most talented and sought after interior designers
across the globe. These ethereal interiors are perfectly choreographed
combinations of scale, balance, unity and harmony. As such, they have the
ability to momentarily transport us to nirvana amidst a world otherwise so
filled with unrest and disorganization. Structural walls, grand staircases,
decorative details and precise furniture placement are all examples of traditional
focal points that vie for the attention of a homeowner's guests and potential
buyers. But because they are not always handled properly, they are also the most
commonly seen focal point faux pas seen in the interior design industry.
Architecturally designed fireplaces, revolutionary flat-screen
televisions, and the coup de grâce - those natural, not to mention very
expensive, views of breathtaking mountains, illuminated skylines and expansive waterfront
footage - are the most intricate focal points to work with. So how do you design
an interior with these challenging elements to make their impact magazine
worthy? Very carefully!
1. The Fireplace and the Television
If you have a fireplace in your space, it is likely that it
is placed on a wall, and that means that your fireplace automatically becomes a
focal point. Place your television above the fireplace and either let it stand
proud or disguise it with a modern picture/mirror frame kit that transforms it
into a mirror. When you turn on the television, the mirror magically disappears
to reveal the television screen behind. Should you want artwork in lieu of the
traditional television set, invest in a screen projector. A recessed cavity in
your ceiling can camouflage the retractable screen when not in use.
Your picture-perfect views will always be your focal point,
and considering the price you paid to have them, this should be just fine with
you. However, combining the function of a television set into this focal point
is a very delicate task. A room bordered by a large wall of windows leaves you
with limited options for where to place the television. Certainly, it should
never be placed on or inside any furniture piece that will block a window and
leave it visible from the outside! Instead, you can invest in a projector
screen that is retracted and camouflaged into a custom-designed ceiling cavity
when not in use or - depending on the height distance between your windows and the
finished floor, you may be able to place your television inside a low cabinet outfitted
with a hydraulic lift that allows the television to be raised and lowered as required.
If you are fortunate enough to have both of these focal points
as elements in your room, let them command their own space. Arrange your furniture
placement so that you have two conversation areas, allowing each one to enjoy its
dedicated focal point. The primary seating area should face the natural view,
while a secondary seating area placed by the fireplace can be more intimate for
such tasks as reading or talking. In any instance, your furniture arrangement
should be placed in such a way that it does not require the body to pivot to face
the focal point, but only for the head to slightly turn to see it.
The key message: Whether your interior space includes one or
even all of these focal points, tread carefully, so that your space becomes one
that motivates and inspires everyone who sees it.
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