How to Create Focal Points

How to sell your home and make a faster, more profitable sale

How to create focal points. Home for sale.This room already has a great focal point fireplace. The wood textured mirror makes it even more stunning! Photo by Studio Munroe.

Focal points should be highlighted in every room of your house when staging your home for sale. Your goal is to draw attention to the special architectural features, so buyers will fall in love with your home.

Typically, when you enter a room, your eye is drawn to at least one feature that stands out. It might be a window with a breathtaking view, an architectural feature like a spiral staircase, beautiful French doors or a lovely fireplace. 



The placement of furniture and accessories should be arranged to draw attention to focal points.

A striking focal point may also distract home buyers from seeing the flaws in your home!

Some rooms may contain more than one focal point, as many as two or three, while others will simply be blank walls with an unassuming window.

Below you will find home staging tips to help you enhance natural focus points, or create your own through the use of furniture and accessories.

Identifying the focal points

Look for architectural details

Living room interior design picturesBeautiful windows with a water view is the focal point in this room.
  • Look for special features, like the shape of the room, arches;

  • High ceilings; 
  • Interesting ceiling details, like tray ceilings, exposed wood beams, box beams;
  • Angled walls and ceilings;
  • A fireplace;
  • Large windows with a great view, bay windows, arched windows;
  • Beautiful winding staircase;
  • French doors;
  • Built-in bookcases and entertainment centers;
  • A feature wall, made of old brick or reclaimed wood.

Rooms with multiple focus points

Some rooms have more than one focal feature. How do you decide which one to highlight?

Where does your eye go first when you enter a room? Look for the predominant one-- it may be the largest and most dramatic element in a room.

A fantastic view will usually trump a fireplace as the center of attention. If you are undecided, ask a friend where her eye is drawn when she walks into the room.

You can create your own focal points for rooms that are lacking one.

First, determine the function of your room, than design a point of focus that best suits that function.

Create your own focal points

An armoire as a focal point

Armoire and upholstered chair in living roomAn armoire can serve as a focal point

Armoires are the perfect size to work as a bold focal feature in your home design. Their sheer size is enough to command attention in any room.

Accessorize the inside of an armoire by displaying a collection of colorful dishes or other attractive accessories inside. Leave the doors open to show off the contents.

Follow the advice of HGTV designer and home staging expert, Sabrina Soto, when accessorizing; "Never use anything smaller than the size of a grapefruit."

Or, keep the doors closed and hide a TV or small office inside.

Create an appealing vignette on top of the armoire if you need extra height against a tall ceiling. Accessorize with baskets, plants, vases, any number of things.

Be sure to balance the bulk of an armoire on the opposite side of the room.

Create an accent wall

Livingroom brick accent wallI love this brick accent wall with the horses. My eye went straight to the horses!

Create an accent wall with one of the walls in your room. An accent wall is meant to break up the pattern of a room, but must also work well with what you have.

  • Paint the wall in a color different than the other walls, maybe in a darker shade, or a complementary color.
  • You may want to use an accent wall to highlight a decorative element, such as a large colorful painting, a tapestry, antique quilt, or wrought iron sculptural piece. 
  • Accent walls are often surfaced with other materials, like brick, wallpaper, weathered barn siding, and so on. I don't recommend doing this when you are trying to make a home sale. These types of permanent changes are very taste specific and may turn buyers away-- save this for your new home!

Use a mirror as a focal point

Mirror with ornate frameThis vignette with decorative mirror and lamps is eye catching!

Mirrors add light and dimension, by bouncing light around a room and creating the illusion of more space.

Mirrors with ornate and interesting frames work really well as focal points. Today's dramatic starburst mirrors, for example, immediately catch your attention as you enter a room.

Be careful of what the mirror reflects; you don't want to reflect something undesirable. 

Mirrors can be hung alone or in wall groupings, just like artwork. The same rule of scale and balance for artwork also applies to mirrors. 

Go to leaning pictures and mirrors to find more accessorizing ideas. 

Use a light fixture as a focal point

Wow! This is a stunning light fixture, sure to invite much attention and comments.

A stunning light fixture can serve as a main attraction in any room, whether it’s the foyer, bedroom, dining room or over the kitchen island.

A current home decorating trend at this time is a chandelier in the master bathroom, sometimes right over the bathtub.

I once saw a picture of a chandelier hanging in a laundry room. It was totally unexpected, but charming! 

Create a focal point with plants

How to create focal points. Home for sale.The TV is the focal wall, but the bright green plant is where your eye goes.

A single large, leafy tree, like a palm, fiddleleaf fig or banana tree can be attention grabbers.

Or, cluster a group of smaller potted plants together for greater impact. Be sure to arrange plant groupings in odd numbers of three or five, and in varying heights. 

Use plant groupings in a corner, the top of an armoire, as a centerpiece on your dining table, on a buffet or console table or flanking a fireplace or window to draw attention to these features.

Make a statement with a piece of artwork

Triptych art by expressionist, Erin HansonWhat a great focal point this would be! Triptych artwork by expressionist, Erin Hanson

A single piece of large, colorful artwork can serve as a focal feature in a room. The art should be in proportion to the scope of the wall-- large wall, large piece of art, for instance. 

For a long wall, hang triptych artwork, (like the one above) or arrange a collage of photographs in a gallery type fashion. See hanging artwork and mirrors for information on creating wall groupings.

Livingroom with brick wallThe brick wall itself is a focal wall. The large clock just makes sure you don't miss it!

Hang any large sculptural piece of art, made of wood or metal. Decorate with a colorful contemporary quilt, a large clock, rustic antique doors, old lattice, painted shutters, or any other form of 3-dimensional art.

Be sure that objects are in scale with the size of the room, and large enough to make a grand artistic statement.



Focal point ideas for different rooms

Living room decor

Large mirror over the fireplace. Home for sale.The large round mirror accentuates the fireplace in this living room. Photo by makinglemonade.com.

The purpose of this room is visiting, relaxing and entertaining. If you have an attractive fireplace in your living room, it's important to focus attention toward it. A large mirror or piece of art hung above or propped on the mantle will draw the eye to this area.

I'm not a fan of arranging furniture toward a big screen television--always makes me think of idol worship. But, since so many buyers want that big flat screen TV, it has adapted itself into the world of home decor.

These days, many interior decorators and home stagers are placing the flat screen TV over a fireplace or an entertainment console as a room decor element. Or, you can hide the TV inside an armoire, entertainment unit, or in a room specifically designated for TV viewing. 

Quilt block collage. House for sale.A quilt block collage creates a focal point over this sofa. Pillows in like colors unite the grouping.

I once showed a new house to a prospective buyer who kept casting his eyes around the living room. I knew exactly what he wanted...a spot for his big screen TV. There wasn't any wall space room, so the that buyer walked. 

Draw attention to a large window or French doors that offer a view-- keep window treatments simple (or none at all) so you have an unobstructed view. If you need window treatments, match them to the color of the wall to keep eyes focused on the view.

Flank a view window with tall potted plants or small trees to emphasize the outdoors.

A piece of bold furniture, like a sofa, can also work as a focal feature. Place the sofa along a long wall and arrange the rest of your furniture toward it.

Decorate the sofa with colorful pillows in varied sizes and textures. Drape a throw across the sofa for more color.

Hang a painting, a picture collage, a quilt, or beautifully framed mirror above it.

The size and mass of the sofa with artwork above will function in the same manner as a fireplace or other natural focal point.

Bedroom decor focal points

Master bedroom interior design picturesThe window treatments, window, and lamps accentuate this focal point bed

If you have a fireplace in your bedroom, you already have your focal point.

If your bedroom has no outstanding features, let your bed take center stage. The bed is almost always the main attraction simply because of its size. 

As a rule, the bed should be placed against the longest wall, but this isn't always possible, due to windows and doors or the size of the room. Placing the bed in front of a window is often the only option. A window is a natural focal feature and can also serve as a dramatic headboard, of sorts. Dress it up with ceiling to floor draperies and sheers for privacy. 

A large headboard can be the star of your bedroom. Dress the bed with beautiful linens and pillows in soothing and neutral shades to entice buyers into wanting to linger.

Dining room decor

Dining room interior design picturesThis dining area has multiple focal points. Where does your eye go first?

In this dining room photo, your eye goes naturally to the very interesting light fixture over the table and then to the painting over the console. The flower arrangement on the table might be considered a focal point, as well.

In the world of home decor, some think that a centrally located dining table shouldn't be staged as a focal point. The opinion is that the focal point should dominate one wall. To make this possible, place a buffet or sideboard table against one wall and hang a mirror or an oil painting above it, as in the picture. You can flank with two chairs at the sides and table lamps on top.

A large window with an attractive view can serve as a focal point in a dining room. Hang ceiling to floor draperies for drama and flank with chairs or tall plants.

For combined dining/kitchen/living rooms, each area should have it's own focus point, regardless of the shape of the room.

A dramatic light fixture will always captivate home buyers in the dining room.

The dining table can serve as a point of focal point too, simply by setting the table with beautiful dinnerware and creating a lovely centerpiece. For more drama, create a tiered arrangement to add extra height.

Focal points in the kitchen

Glass tiled kitchenThis shiny range and hood are the focal points in this kitchen.

A stunning range hood and stove, a tile backsplash and beautiful glass-fronted kitchen cabinets can be focal points. A large wraparound farmer's sink is always an attention getter, too.

Other focal point options for the kitchen; an overhead pot rack, pendant or chandelier lighting over the kitchen island, sleek modern faucet fixtures or a stunning countertop.

Create colorful arrangements inside glass-faced kitchen cabinets, or install floating shelves and accessorize to make a feature wall. 

Create a focal point in the foyer

Front entry interior design picturesCreate a focal point in your foyer with a table, mirror and a light fixture.

This is such an important room because it's the first impression home buyers get of the inside of your home. The foyer must be appealing enough to lure buyers deeper into your home.

The size of your front entry doesn't matter, it's how you manage the area and the feeling buyers get when they first enter.

  • If the focal point is a high ceiling with a stunning light fixture, you are in luck.
  • For a wall facing the front door, hang a large oil painting in warm, serene colors, or a framed mirror.
  • If there's enough room, place a console table, dresser, or bench near the entry. Hang a mirror or colorful artwork over the furniture.
  • For very small spaces; install a narrow floating shelf and prop a picture or mirror on it. 
  • Other foyer ideas; an attractive coat rack, a chest or bench for removing shoes with art hanging above, an antique dresser with a lamp, a lovely antique armoire serving as a closet.

Return from focal points to home page