The star of the show, choosing a focal point is one of the most important design decisions you need to make for any room design. But it’s especially important in the room that’s the hub of most homes – the living room. Find the perfect match for your home with this list of living room focal point ideas and design tips.
Decorating a living room can feel like such an intimidating task because there are so many options out there for furniture, colors, patterns and textures.
But it doesn’t have to be that way!
The good news is that the focal point in any living room usually sets the tone for everything else around it.
Once you find your focal point, all of the other pieces will fall into place more easily.
So if you want some fresh ideas on how to decorate your living room check out these living room focal point ideas.
But before we start, you might be asking…
What exactly is a focal point?
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In interior design, the focal point is the place in the room that immediately draws the eye. It can be a defining feature such as a gorgeous fireplace or a whole area such as large windows with an incredible view.
Think of the focal point as the sun – all the furniture and decor of the room are the planets that revolve around it. And no matter who enters the room, their eye is instantly drawn to it.
A living room focal point is important because it is crucial in deciding how to properly layout the space. How you decorate will depend on what you have decided the central focus is.
Plus, a focal point is the first thing people will notice when they enter a room. And we all know how important first impressions are!
Whether you have one already built-in or have to create a focal point yourself, this list will provide some inspiration.
And help you to answer the question “What should be the focal point in the living room?” for your own home.
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1 | Windows and a view
If you’re lucky enough to get a ton of natural light, embrace it!
Large windows make for a lovely visual point in your living room. In fact, large windows almost demand being featured in a living room.
For those who have an amazing view, it is best to keep all moldings, trim, blinds and curtains simple. Go for light and simple colors so that they don’t distract you from the view.
On the other side, if the view is nothing special, you can accessorize the space with some gorgeous accent curtains. Using bright colors and patterns will instantly draw the eye to the windows the second someone steps foot in the room.
Over at History In High Heels, they use some amazing floral print curtains to make the room bright and cheery.
Adding a couple of matching accent pillows ties the curtains in well. They kept the walls and furniture neutral colored so the curtains can shine through.
2 | Fireplaces
This is probably the easiest and most popular built-in focal point to use. Even if you live somewhere that’s blistering hot, there is still something gorgeous about a well-decorated fireplace!
The first way you can enhance your fireplace focal point is by adding decor to the mantle. Colleen at Lemon Thistle creates a wonderful arrangement surrounding her fireplace by adding plants and a large typography print above the fireplace.
She also adds a basket and another plant on the bottom to make the focal point the entire fireplace, from top to bottom.
Another great way to feature the fireplace is to enhance it with tiling. I love this bright blue tiling that Erin at House of Turquoise incorporated into their beach house. It fits the style of the house so well and easily captures the eye.
Of course, if you don’t have a fireplace built in, you can always add an electric one. They give off the same heat and ambiance of a fire, without requiring much work to install them.
My mother’s living room is tiny. And she was still able to find a place to hang one on the wall.
Keep reading for more fireplace ideas. Because they’re so often used as focal points, many of these living room pictures include them.
3 | Shelving
Built-in shelving and entertaining units are also quite common (like the floor to ceiling bookshelves in my mother’s living room).
Shelving is a great opportunity to make your living room shine with personality.
Your little decorating heart can go wild, filling up shelves with pictures, candles, books, plants, and all your favorite trinkets.
The best thing about built-ins is that they can be done with most budgets. You can have amazing custom ones built but you can also find budget-friendly designs that work for your home.
Aniko over at Place of My Taste created a gorgeous built-in around her fireplace using the Billy Bookcase from Ikea.
4 | Ceilings
You may not initially think to look up, but with the right ceiling, you can really force people to gaze upwards first. This is a great way to add a focal point to a room which otherwise doesn’t have one.
Vaulted ceilings are a show-stopping feature where the additional space immediately has people saying, “Wow!”
However, if you don’t have the luxury of high ceilings, you can still draw attention to them with moldings, a different color of paint or even wallpaper.
Or if you really like to go bold with your home decorating (which you know I do!), try painting a pattern on the ceiling like the plaid my mother did in her living room.
5 | Light Fixtures
If you do happen to have high ceilings, the right light fixture in the right space will do wonders.
A bold light fixture paired with a fresh coat of paint is all you need to complete it.
Lindsay at The White Buffalo Styling Co. has a light blue chandelier that pairs wonderfully with the angled ceiling and wooden beams.
6 | An Accent Wall
A wall is just begging to be the center of attention. Most people don’t think to make a wall the focal point of the room, but it can make for a really interesting design choice.
Some homes may have feature walls already built-in and you could be so lucky to move in and have it ready and waiting for you. But with a little ingenuity, you can also make your own accent wall.
Kelly from Domestic Blonde created her very own board and batten wall with a few pieces of wood you can pick up at the hardware store. It looks amazing and could really lift a space on a small budget.
Another amazing DIY wall comes from The Tarnished Jewel Blog. This shiplap wall looks a little more difficult, but the payoff is amazing. They covered the entire wall, going over a fireplace and bookshelf to create one amazing shiplap feature area.
7 | Wallpaper
If you’re a little scared of these DIY accent walls, wallpaper is a simpler way to make your wall pop. Your options when it comes to wallpaper are limitless – there is a design to match every room and your unique style.
Personally, I love a bold pop of color and a fun pattern, but you can easily find something that works with your vision for your living room.
This wallpaper from Rebel Walls makes the room feel luxurious and the marble pattern is nothing short of eye-catching.
8 | Wall art
Wall art is almost always the first thing I recommend to beginner designers. Everyone from professional stylists to young bachelors can understand the importance of a good piece of art in the home.
The type of artwork you choose to feature in your home is where your style can shine through.
Jennifer from Love Jen Marie has a delicate, feminine living room with a large piece of artwork above her couch as the standout decor element. I love how her real-life cactus is almost mirrored with the artwork. The small details can really make a difference.
A gallery wall is another great option if you don’t want one single picture. Gallery walls can feature everything from prints, typography, family photos, to 3D elements such as baskets and musical instruments. Get creative here!
At Bigger Than The Three Of Us, they combined quite a few of these elements to create their gallery wall. You can see how the colors in the gallery compliment the couch, pillow, and even the side table. The more variety in color, size, and texture, the better – in my eyes.
9 | Mirrors
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, whose living room is the fairest of them all?
Hopefully yours with this design trick!
A mirror instantly brightens the room and makes it feel larger as it reflects the light and space.
At Addison’s Wonderland, they placed the mirror on the mantle of their fireplace. Its height and ornate details make it stand out.
Like art, there are all sorts of mirror designs and sizes to fit in your space.
10 | Statement furniture
Bring in the color and bring in the furniture.
While comfort is often number one when it comes to a couch, I love it when I see people playing with bright colors, too.
Neutral colors are easy to design with and it takes more thought to bring in a big, bold couch.
Charlotte from At Charlotte’s House incorporates a stunning green couch into her space.
If you’re starting a room from scratch, why not find a big, brilliant piece of color that you love and work from there.
Of course, if you already have your sofa and it’s a neutral color, you can always punch it up by adding a few colorful pillows to it.
Think beyond a couch as well. Statement furniture can be anything from an oversized and wooden coffee table to a large plant.
Shira Lacy does exactly that, adding two faux banana plants on either side of the window in her living room, which gives that side of the room some life. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, you can utilize this technique.
Questions about focal points
Now that you’ve seen some of our focal point ideas, you may have some other questions about them. Here are a few of the ones that are asked most often.
How do you make a focal point in a living room without a fireplace?
I hear this question quite often, as fireplaces are one of the most common and easiest living room focal points.
In my mind, I think of a room without a fireplace as an empty canvas where you can truly design a space however you want.
Many of the ideas mentioned above can work well for one of these rooms including bright furniture, accent walls and wallpaper, large wall art, gallery walls, shelving, and any other non-built-in features.
Be sure to frame the area and add extra design elements and details to ensure the eye goes where it is meant to.
A lighting source pointing to your focal point can also help to make it stand out.
Can you have more than one focal point in a living room?
Ideally, no. When there is a lot going on in a room, it confuses our brain and it has no clue where to look first!
However, with careful design choices, you can get away with two focal points.
To do so, you need to have a central focus point and a secondary one.
To determine your central focus point, decide what the primary use of the room is. A living room is often used for conversations, to relax, or to entertain.
The living room focal point should center around the primary use of the room.
Your secondary point is usually a feature that you don’t want to be the center of the room, but still adds character to the overall aesthetic.
How do you decorate a living room with two focal points?
Sometimes, you will have two focal points.
Picture a room with big windows, a fireplace, and a big comfy couch – that’s a lot to look at!
There are a few things you can do to ensure everything looks cohesive and is straightforward to the eye.
Choose your first and main focal point by deciding the use of the space (as I mentioned above).
Next, arrange all the large pieces of furniture so that it faces that main focal point. If you can’t get it to directly face that central focus, try to angle the lines in that direction.
To help further draw the eye to the main focal point, add pops of color and bold accessories to encourage the eye in that direction.
Now that your main focal point is bright and bold, you want to deemphasize the secondary focal points.
Typically, this means using softer colors and textures and keeping art and accessories minimal in these areas.
Monochrome colors are a good option as they aren’t as distracting.
Use your bright colors where you want people to focus on first and then tone down the rest of the room so everything blends in.
Now, you can appreciate the beauty that is a fully decorated and well-thought-out living room!
I hope you’ve found a few ideas that have sparked some inspiration for your own home.
Other living room decor ideas you might like
- Coffee table styling tips
- How to arrange your living room furniture
- L-shaped living room layouts
- Living room decorating tips