A point of focus can be as simple as a favorite piece of art at the center of the main living space. Or it can be more elaborate, such as an inglenook around a beautifully designed fireplace or a composition of windows looking into the garden beyond. Its purpose is to draw you into the space and to give the area a center.

Although it is not crucial to have a point of focus in every space in the house, the introduction of one or two in key rooms can add a lot of character. In many rooms, there is an obvious focal wall surface. Usually it's a focus for one of the following reasons: It is directly above a fireplace or built-in television; it is bathed in light from a skylight or adjacent window; it is the tallest wall in the room; or it is the termination of a strong visual axis through the house.

A focal point is created in one of the corners of an upstairs landing, which has an octagonal ceiling.  The ceiling height is lower over this corner area, providing an ideal place for a small recessed light to pinpoint the object below.
Grey Crawford A focal point is created in one of the corners of an upstairs landing, which has an octagonal ceiling. The ceiling height is lower over this corner area, providing an ideal place for a small recessed light to pinpoint the object below.

In houses where there is a view along an extended visual axis, the end-wall surface is given increased importance. It automatically becomes one of those places that cries out for a piece of artwork--or some other object or feature--that will provide striking visual delight.

Often the fireplace or television commands attention because of its function. Whatever the focus may be, you can enhance it with special lighting or by adding a space to exhibit a special treasure.

One strategy is to create a focus in the kitchen on the wall between the range and the hood above.  The hood is almost always located higher above the countertop than the adjacent cabinets, so it creates a natural focus on the back splash -- even without further embellishment.  In the kitchen above, a single handmade tile surrounded by standard tiles captures attention.
Grey Crawford One strategy is to create a focus in the kitchen on the wall between the range and the hood above. The hood is almost always located higher above the countertop than the adjacent cabinets, so it creates a natural focus on the back splash -- even without further embellishment. In the kitchen above, a single handmade tile surrounded by standard tiles captures attention.

Another, more dramatic way to create a point of focus is to make an unusual piece of craftsmanship the primary attention grabber for a room, or even for the entire house.  This amazing stone chimney -- crafted by stonemason Jeff Gamelin in a house designed by architect Robert Knight on the coast of Maine -- is a wonderful example of a piece of construction that trenscends its utilitarian function and becomes perhaps the most memorable feature of the house.
Grey Crawford Another, more dramatic way to create a point of focus is to make an unusual piece of craftsmanship the primary attention grabber for a room, or even for the entire house. This amazing stone chimney -- crafted by stonemason Jeff Gamelin in a house designed by architect Robert Knight on the coast of Maine -- is a wonderful example of a piece of construction that trenscends its utilitarian function and becomes perhaps the most memorable feature of the house.