If you are attempting to design and stage your own home for sale you already know that there can be challenges to making each room look as if it were the centrefold in a House Beautiful magazine. When your room has an outstanding focal point and a straightforward function, you are truly fortunate. Such a room makes designing its contents a walk in the park. Alas, all rooms are not so easy. Some rooms present with multiple focal points and others will offer you nothing to work with. Sydney property stylists with whom we work tell us that these situations are not insurmountable. They simply require a little extra thought.

Discovering the Focal Point(s)

Finding the focal point is as simple as taking note of where your eyes fall first as you enter the empty room. A focal point can be anything from a window with a phenomenal view or a sensational stone fireplace wall. The first thing that grabs the attention of your eyes is meant to be the room’s central feature. Of course, when a room has a sensational view and a compelling fireplace, you have some work to do.

Understand that we humans will be drawn to the great outdoors more often than not, so your focal point in this case will probably be the window. If you treat each of the two features of this room equally, you can detract from the harmony of the space with the competition between the two elements. Instead, we’re told by Sydney property stylists to play up the window by arranging the furnishings around it to make the most of the view. Use the fireplace and its strong stone wall as a secondary element for balance.

If you’re having trouble knowing which element to feature in your room, consider these points:

• Which feature is most attractive? Gazing out at the city lights or the ocean view captures human eyes, but if you were to live in a cold climate, staring into a blazing fire has special appeal.

• Which possible focal point better fits the function of the room? If your room is a gathering place for your family, what will they do while they are in the space? If they will be watching the television which is placed above the fireplace, your decision is probably already made for you.

• One of these elements will serve to create the environment in which the other exists. That feature will set the stage for the other.

Once you’ve determined which of your strong elements will serve as your focal point, you’ll arrange the furniture around it, making sure that the secondary focal point doesn’t steal the show with too much eye-catching ornamentation.

The Room Without Focus

In some spaces there is nothing to catch one’s eye. In many ways this situation can be a better one than the multi-focal room. Here you, as designer, get to create a focal point as you choose.
Here are a few ways to create a focal point:

• Use the longest wall to create an accent wall.
o Paint or paper the wall to add a bold colour or texture.
o Hang a variety of artwork to create your own gallery.
o Hang one very large piece of art and accent with interesting lighting fixtures.

• Use a large or boldly coloured furniture piece to anchor the room, making sure it’s scale matches that of the room. Be sure it is dramatic enough that it instantly captures the attention of those entering the room. Use it to display an interesting collection or a few remarkable items.
• Feature a large plant or a collection of smaller planted pots that will give the room a softer, more natural feel. Living things and/or earthy elements are essential in a room to ground it. Use caution that your plants remain healthy and robust lest your focal point wither and die.

Since the focus of your activity in staging your home is appealing to prospective buyers, it’s always important that each room comes with its own silent invitation. According to Sydney property stylists, your furnishings will serve to complement the flow and function of your room but your focal point – even the ones you must create on your own – should act as an invitation to come into and be comfortable within the space. Establishing a focal point is the key to everything else that you’ll do in designing your rooms. Now, with the tools to wrestle focal points into submission, you can have the upper hand in the battle to stage your own house.

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