Focal Point
Focal Point
Fire surround painted in Farrow and Ball Cornforth White
Living Room Layout
Living Room Layout
New Build Living
New Build Living
Becky's Before
Becky's Before
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Making A Focal Point

Author: Lauren Coleman

Becky and I were chatting the other day about her rented new build and one of her biggest gripes, the lack of living room focal point.
It’s an issue mentioned frequently particularly in living rooms that don’t have fireplaces. If you don’t want to make your TV the main feature of the room then how do you draw in the eye and make the space seem more balanced and inviting, not to mention a bit more interesting?

Fake It

Well if you don’t have a fireplace then an obvious idea would be to add one. Not necessarily the whole nine yards of chimney and flue but a fire surround even if you don’t have a fire – granted though in a rented property like Becky’s this is a little tricker. My sister has a reclaimed fire surround propped against the wall to create a focal point. In Hannah’s case this works really well as the alcoves suggest a chimney breast which indicates a fire should sit in this area. However if you take a look at Kate La Vie’s swoon worthy apartment then her fire surround shows you can still mock up the grandeur of a fireplace on a flat wall.
Fire surround with shield mirror

See more of Hannah’s renovation. Image by Richmond Pictures.

Emulate Proportions

Another alternative is to use furniture which mimics the proportions and shape of a fireplace. This image I’ve found on Pinterest isn’t my style but demonstrates this perfectly. The chest of drawers styled with a frame over the top really anchors the room.
In a similar vein, the absolutely gorgeous living room at Allison Sadler’s shows how you can use a sideboard and mirror to once again emulate the shape and storage that comes with a fire surround.

Sideboard and mirror
See Allison’s full home tour.

Create Floor To Ceiling Interest

Another way to add a focal point is to add floor to ceiling interest. I’m giddy to share a sneak peek of a shoot we did last week at the jaw dropping home of Rebecca from Roses and Rolltops. The introduction of a mirror wall with vintage battered armchairs and an envy inducing reclaimed radiator takes up the entire height of the room and creates a central point which would work well in so many different settings. Extra brownie points if you have a gorgeous view to reflect back into the room. Even if you don’t have all the elements shown here, going floor to ceiling with any form of collection will really pull the eye in.

Mirror wall

See more of Rebecca’s home.

Dominate A Wall

If you don’t have the space to create a floor to ceiling display then consider adding creating interest on one wall by using paint or wallpaper.
In Adam’s old master bedroom the dark wall is a real feature.

Dark wall with open storage

See more of Adam’s House.

Let The Furniture Do The Talking

Adding one piece of amazeballs furniture can also create a big wow. Greg’s vibrant mustard sofa is going to steal the show in this room and proves you don’t need nooks and crannies to create character in a room.

Mustard sofa
See Greg’s full London Apartment tour.

So where does this leave the lovely Becky? The floor plan for her new build is in the header above so you can see what she’s dealing with. The play area leads on to the garden and as it’s a rental there’s unlikely to be any scope to move the TV port. Therefore it’s likely the furniture configuration will have to stay the same.
With this in mind I’d be tempted to say expand the gallery wall to cover the whole of the living space, creating a divide with the play space mixing in much larger frames and artwork as well as all the lovely family photos.
Anyone else lacking a focal point? How did you combat it and add more interest to the space?

Lauren likes Paris, Prosecco and Paint Charts
Follow Lauren on instagram @mrslaurencoleman
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12 thoughts on “Making A Focal Point

  1. We are in a new build and have just taken the plunge and built a fake fireplace, with electric stove. The stove isn’t the most convincing when it’s on (VERY orange ‘flames’) but looks fantastic off, and we figured the majority of the time it will be off! The fireplace surround is rescued and we retiled the back – it’s currently propped up against the wall and the next stage is to attach it and then style up the mantle and hearth, but you can see it so far on my Instagram…

    1. Kate, this is looking fab!
      I’ve got a fake stove too in my living room and most people are really surprised when we flick the switch for instant heat. So much better than the faff of a real one! x

  2. We have this problem in our new build lounge and are thinking of building a chimney breast but it’s quite a big job! I like the idea of faking it with a surround against a flat wall but unfortunately it still means moving plug and aerial sockets – only in a new build would these be in the middle of the wall!!

    1. Oh no Chloe. It’s so annoying how one tiny socket dictates the positioning of everything in the room!

  3. We live in a rented Victorian terrace house where the fireplace had been removed 😞 I was whinging about just before Christmas one year and my wife decided to make me a fireplace and install it (she’s a joiner!). It’s empty in the middle apart from a couple of vents but makes the room look so much better. We have a big gold mirror above it and candles on top.

  4. We bought our period house from a developer who had removed every single period feature (Including all chimney stacks and breasts). We asked our builders to build a false chimney breast and fit a reclaimed fireplace in our living room and you can’t tell it’s not the original. In another room we have an antique Chinese wedding cabinet where the chimney breast would have been which works well too (and hides our TV which pleases me a lot!)

  5. This article has come just at the right time. We’ve bought a newly refurbed house with a pellet burner which sits out from the wall quite a way. So can’t build a fireplace around it, but just trying to make the wall more of a stand out focal point!

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