From interior design to painting to photography, you will often hear the term ‘focal point’ in these discussions. But what exactly is a focal point? What is the purpose of a focal point? How do you create a focal point in a design? And how does it help the design? These are just a few questions we get from our clients while working on their commercial space design. We talked to our team of architects and designers about all things focal points and below we have summarized the learnings.
Focal point is the most important aspect in a design that tries to catch the eye of the viewer. It is an area of emphasis that demands the most attention by being more dramatic than all the other elements. It is the most eye-catching part of a design that is distinct from the rest of the design elements. In some cases, the focal point can be a bold piece or a group of items that stand out from the rest.
Color, size, shape, depth, texture, line, density, orientation, value, saturation, physical weight, etc. can be used to create a focal point which then becomes the main thing in the design scheme. Everything else is rendered as a supporting character and fades in the background. When it comes to interior design, a focal point can be anything from floors to lighting fixtures, big plants or large artificial trees, or even an architectural feature such as a fireplace that can capture the focus.
Each focal point has a purpose. It communicates for your design or helps in moving the eye around. It conveys the intent of the designer or the artist and adds more meaning to a design or work. Determining the focal point should come naturally and should not be left up to the viewer to guess. Simply put, the purpose of the focal point is to tell the viewer a story, what is more, important and to bring some drama.
Depending on what you want to communicate, a design can have one or even more than one focal point if required. These focal points can complement each other or compete where one can be the primary focal point and the rest one secondary. Ensure that you do not pile all the focal points in one section which will leave your interior design looking lopsided. Divide them so that you have a balanced space and let the viewer’s eye move around.
Keep in mind that multiple focal points are more suited for larger rooms that have multiple functional areas. Our experts suggest the ‘Rule of Three’ when it comes to the number of focal points. Even though you can have multiple ones in space, sticking to a maximum number of three focal points will ensure that your design is orderly.
A lot of thought should go into determining the focal point in a design. Even if you have a lot of standout elements, that does not mean you load them all in the space. Too many focal points without a plan, inconsistent placement, too many colors or sizes will only confuse the viewer, destroy the essence of your design, and mess up the story you are trying to convey. Also, it is not mandatory for a design to have a focal point. If it is well-designed and feels right, then do not worry about the focal point. Focal point may be the most important element in any design, but a design can look absolutely beautiful and feel unique without it as well.