Focus on striking ideas for a room

These fabrics from Osborne and Little draw the eye.
These fabrics from Osborne and Little draw the eye.
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Many home interest magazines and articles talk about ‘focal points’ and stress the importance of them in interior design.

It is true that rooms with the ‘wow’ factor normally do have focal points – places or a place in the room where the eye lingers. For me they are like visual treats but they do take time and effort to create.

Nowadays, people seem to think that the mini cinema of a television on the wall is the focal point but, although the seating may be positioned around the television, it isn’t.

Most televisions are black which is a non-colour designed to go into any room, and unless there is something very unusual about your set the eye will ignore it.

Many modern houses and flats are quite plain in design without any visual stimulus at all. Some people say they like the ‘minimalist’ look but in reality even the most minimally designed rooms look best when there are focal points; they may just be very subtle and clever.

Curtains and blinds can be the main focal point in a room, sometimes because the ensemble itself is particularly striking or because the fabric design is stunning, or a combination of the two.

But even the most glor-ious of window treatments needs ‘staging’. So it is the co-ordinating scatter cushions on the sofa, the accent chair in a contrasting texture and the flashes of

colour in lamps and accessories around the room which help to set off the curtains.

A beautiful fireplace with lovely inset tiles can be brought to life by managing the room around it. A stylish mirror above the fireplace will help set the scene with carefully-chosen accessories on the mantelpiece. You can use the

colours in the tiles to establish the palette of the room.

Many Victorian fireplaces, for example, have damson and lime flowers on a cream background. If you decide you want to keep the room neutral, accessorising with damson and lime scatter cushions, lampshades and picture mounts will give you fabulous accent colours that will bring the fireplace to life.

Feature walls – one wall in a room with a stunning wallpaper – have been very popular in the last few years and can be used to create a focal point.

If you do decide to hang a bold statement paper you need to dress the room around it otherwise it looks odd! The big statement needs to be given the wow factor by carefully planning colours and accessories to work with it.

If you are lucky enough to have an apartment overlooking the Solent you may think you don’t need another focal point but even that view can be staged to make the impact on the room even more stunning.

Billowing soft voiles, driftwood mirrors, abstract pictures evocative of a sunset, a few nautical stripe cushions etc will help draw attention to your stunning view! Similar techniques can be used to stage a garden view.

Simone and business partner Jane Patterson run The Interior Trading Co, Southsea,