Decorating Around Built in Focal Points

A reader recently asked me about decorating a room with a built in focal point, which had her stumped. Some of you may be in the same situation so I thought I’d address it for you. Built in focal points (shelves, fireplaces, windows, cabinets, etc) can be either a blessing or a curse. Sure it’s great having an obvious way to arrange furniture, but what if the obvious arrangement doesn’t suit you and your family’s needs? You can either embrace the focal point and design around it, or acknowledge it, but group furniture differently.

Here are a few examples of unconventional layouts around built in focal points…



Chicago Spaces Inspiring Interiors  (3)








Layouts are tough, but here are a few tricks to keep in mind when you have built in focal points.

1. Pull furniture away from walls.

For some reason, many people immediately set up furniture against a wall. You have a lot more layout options when you think outside the box, literally, so play around with floating your sofa, armchairs, etc.

2. Be strategic with paint.

If you’re decorating around a fireplace or other built in item that you don’t want to stand out, paint it the same color as your walls. The same goes for an awkwardly placed window. If you’re not trying to draw attention to it, make it blend in by dressing it with drapes the same color as the walls.

3. Be flexible with your furniture.

Sometimes no matter how many times you rearrange a room, things just don’t fit. Keep an open mind to swapping out furniture that isn’t working in the space. You don’t necessarily need to buy all new furniture, but look in other rooms of your house for pieces that may work better in that space and swap.

4. Move the TV.

Most family rooms are arranged around the TV, but there are more places for the TV than where the cable outlet is (which can be easily moved) and over the fireplace. Play with other locations in the room and you may have more layout options than you thought.

I hope this helps some of you who may be struggling in this area. If you have questions or a specific topic you’d like me to address, leave a comment below!

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