Everything Cannot Be the Star: Managing Too Many Focal Points

Decorative Pillows Interior Design

One goal behind a well-designed room is when someone enters it they understand what they are meant to do there: enjoy the view, gather around the fireplace, or settle in to watch a movie. A focal point provides that purpose. The rest of the space is designed to support the raison d’etre. Some rooms have the potential for more than one focal point. However, unless the space is large, trying to allow both to shine will keep the room from being livable! We have some advice on how to manage too many focal points.

The View, The Fireplace and The TV:

For many of our clients, three items tend to vie for the focal point designation: the view, the fireplace and the TV. To decide which is most important you must determine how you want to use the space. In some cases you can accommodate both a fireplace and another focal point by changing furniture placement seasonally. During the cooler months, seating can be gathered around the fireplace, while in the warmer months it can focus on other uses for the space.


master bedroom fireplace design

Another solution for warring TVs and fireplaces is to combine them. As flat screen technology has emerged, many homeowners are choosing to hang their TVs above the fireplace. However, don’t forget to consider comfort when you are hanging your TV. Watching a movie on a screen that has been hung too high is uncomfortable! Make sure it is hung at a comfortable viewing height from the chairs or sofa. The height of your mantle and the size of your TV will determine the viability of this design idea.

For some, a TV can serve as a distraction or a black eye in a public gathering space. If you need to have a TV there, perhaps in a great room that serves as a space for hosting guests as well as family time, we suggest you disguise it. There are many lovely options these days, from custom armoires to hinged cabinets that hang on the wall. Make sure to plan where the cords and associated electronics will be stored as well.

If the TV and fireplace are on same plane, another option is to build cabinetry to highlight both. Technology has allowed for much flexibility and will get even better as it evolves.

If you have a large room, longer than 25 feet and at least 15-18 feet wide, it may be possible to accommodate two focal points at either end of the room. Two seating vignettes can be created without looking cramped, and provide plenty of space to move around.

Fireplace Remodel

If you are fortunate enough to have a lovely view from your home, why not make the most of it? Bring it in as the focal point by designing your space around it. Choose colors and furniture placement based on how the view can be best highlighted. Make sure your windows are low enough to the floor so the view may be enjoyed from a seated position. We suggest 18” off the floor, rising high enough to see the sky while you are sitting down. TVs and lots of light do not get along well, so if you plan to have one in a room with a lovely view, you will have to strategize its placement for best watching.

Have you run across other situations where there are too many focal points in a space? We’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment below, send us an email or give us a call at 317-253-8986.

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