Norfolk by design

PUBLISHED: 16:33 16 May 2013 | UPDATED: 16:33 16 May 2013

Focal points

Focal points

Sylvaine Poitau Photography

One of the biggest myths in interior design for me is the “must have a focal point” rule. At design

school we are taught to base a room around a focal point such as an ornate fireplace or a stunning

piece of artwork. Yes, the scheme can look good, but if there is just one focus within a room you will

never actually notice the rest of the interior.

A well designed space with “wow factor” factor will have several focal points - items that are

Design idea

Dining areas can appear a little bland if there is a sea of matching chairs. In this scheme we made the

space interesting by upholstering each chair in two different fabrics- velvet on the front and printed

cottons on the back. This can even work in a formal dining room as long as there is continuity in the

shape of the chairs.

interesting in their own way scattered throughout the room. Your gaze will never become stuck on

one item, instead your eyes will wander taking in the whole space like they would in a gallery or


Focal points do not all need to be expensive or grand; they just need to catch your eye. Some of the

best focal points are conversation pieces - I find that items that are functional yet unconventional,

such as wacky radiators and taps, are great talking points.

Mirrors are a fantastic addition to any room and can be quite a statement in their own right. The reflected image shows other focal points around the room and therefore allows the viewer to take in more of the scheme.

Balance is the key to successfully creating many focal points. I tend to use simple shapes, colours and

lots of textures for walls, floors and anything that takes up a large proportion of the room, and save

patterns and bolder colours in smaller pieces.

The layering of patterns on top of textures such as an animal print cushion on a plain velvet sofa, a piece of art on textured wallpaper or a striped rug on an oak floor create a “gallery effect” but in a softer, homely way.

If you feel your room is nearly there but just lacking a little pizzazz, add an odd ball colour that really

stands out against the rest of the scheme and repeat it in small quantities around the room using items such as lamps, cushions and vases. This might just do the trick!

Swank Interiors, Three Gates Farm, Fen Street, Bressingham, Diss, IP22 2AQ; 01379 687542;

Visit the showroom Tuesday to Friday, 9.30am-5pm, and Thursday until 7pm.

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