How to Deal with Two Focal Points in a Living Room

Decorating when there are two focal points in a living room can be a real design challenge. Let’s explore the clever ways that designers handle this decorating dilemma. 

I struggle with this exact problem in my own living room, where I have a fireplace and french doors on one side of the room and a large entertainment center on the other side.

white brick fireplace with blue and white accessories and diy fall decorationsPin

In a living room, the primary focal point should be the center of attention, yet this doesn’t mean other elements can’t shine. For instance, in an open concept space, the space’s focal point might be on one end, with a secondary focal point creating interest on the opposite end. 

How to identify a focal point in your living room

When it comes to living room design, identifying the main focal point in your living room can sometimes feel like playing detective in your own home. But don’t worry, it’s simpler than it sounds. 

Start by scanning your room – what catches your eye first? It could be anything from a large picture window or French doors that frame a beautiful view, or a grand fireplace mantel that anchors the space.

Any such features in a room are a natural focal point. Think of it as an anchor of your room; everything else sort of dances around it.

However, the challenge starts with the addition of a secondary focal point — be it an accent wall or a statement piece of furniture.

It can play havoc with the living room furniture arrangement. Especially if they are on opposite sides of the room.

decorative wall screen hanging above a beige couch with fall throw pillows and a brown wood coffee table with fall decorationsPin

Designer strategies for two focal points

Interior design is all about creating a functional space that reflects your personal style.

Decorating a living room with two focal points is an exciting challenge for them. They’ll use all their tricks to take advantage of both focal points in the room!

Keep in mind that two focal points in a living room should feel like a harmonious conversation between different areas of interest, not a competition. 

There are several strategies that they use to create a balanced, cohesive, and beautiful room.

Balancing visual weight

The most fundamental elements of living room design with dual focal points revolve around balance.

The balance of visual weight in a room is crucial. Furniture placement is pivotal, especially when trying to maintain that visual balance in a large room.

It’s about orchestrating the living room layout so that each focal point, whether it’s the main or the secondary one, becomes an integral part of the living space without overshadowing the other.

Think of your living room as a stage where each element plays a supporting role.

two floral upholstered arm chairs in front of a white media center with fall decorationsPin

Size and scale: If one focal point is significantly larger or more visually commanding (like a large window or an expansive piece of art), the other focal point (like a fireplace or a TV) can be enhanced with additional elements.

For instance, adding larger pieces of decor to a mantel or adding shelving around or on either side of a tv.

Symmetry and asymmetry: Depending on the room’s layout and the focal points, designers might create symmetrical or asymmetrical arrangements.

Symmetry can offer a sense of balance and formality, while asymmetry can create a more dynamic and modern feel.

Asymmetrically arranged furniture or decor can draw attention and add weight to a less dominant focal point.

Color and texture play: Colors and textures can be used to create visual links between two focal points. If one focal point is colorful or textured, introducing similar hues or textures near the other focal point can create a cohesive look that balances the room.

Strategic furniture placement: The way furniture is arranged can significantly impact the visual balance between two focal points. Designers often use furniture to guide the eye toward each focal point.

For instance, a conversation area might face the fireplace, while a secondary seating arrangement offers a view out of a large window.

floral upholstered chair beside table with diy fall decorationsPin

Lighting as a balancing tool: Lighting is another tool that can be used to balance the visual weight of a room.

This might mean using accent lighting to draw attention to artwork or architectural features while natural light from windows can be enhanced with the right window treatments.

Decorative elements: Attention drawing decorative elements like rugs, cushions, plants, and art can be used to balance the visual weight.

These elements can draw the eye and add interest, helping to distribute attention between the two focal points.

The use of negative space

Negative space is like the unsung hero in the world of interior design, especially when you’re juggling two focal points in your living room.

It’s all about the art of leaving certain parts of your room intentionally empty, which, believe it or not, can be as impactful as the furniture and decor you choose.

So, why is negative space so important in a room with two focal points? I wrote a whole blog post about using negative space in a room, but picture this: You’ve got a stunning fireplace on one side and a breathtaking bay window on the other.

Now, if every inch of your room is filled up, it’s like a visual shouting match. Everything competes for attention, and it can feel pretty overwhelming. But with some thoughtfully preserved negative space, each focal point gets its moment in the spotlight.

It acts as a visual ‘palette cleanser’ by giving your eyes a rest and a clear path to take in each focal point without distraction.

Think of it as the quiet space that whispers in a room full of louder conversations. This not only makes the room more aesthetically pleasing but also more relaxing to be in.

blue arm chairs flanking a white brick fireplace in a living room with fall decorationsPin

Also, let’s not forget how negative space can make a room feel bigger. It’s a nifty trick, especially in a smaller room.

By not overcrowding the space, each focal point stands out more, and the room feels more open and airy.

And negative space doesn’t always mean bare walls or empty corners. It can also be about the spacing between furniture, the area around your coffee table, or even the way you hang art on the walls.

The goal is to create balance and breathing room, so the room feels harmonious, not cluttered.

In short, when you’re working with two focal points, negative space is the quiet best friend who makes sure both stars of the show shine equally. A space that feels as good as it looks – welcoming, spacious, and perfectly balanced.

Attention to rhythm and repetition

Think of rhythm in design like the beat in your favorite song. It’s what makes the design feel alive and keeps your eyes moving around the room in a way that feels natural and pleasing.

When you have two focal points, such as a cozy fireplace and a stunning window view, rhythm helps in creating a connection between them. How?

Well, it’s done by repeating certain design elements. This could be color, shapes, textures, patterns, or even materials. 

blue arm chair in front on french doors beside small table and chest with lampPin

For example, if you have a blue sofa in front of your fireplace, you might repeat the blue in throw pillows by the window.

Or, if you have a circular mirror above the fireplace, consider adding a round coffee table or circular patterns in rugs or cushions near your other focal point.

Repetition creates a sense of harmony and order. It subtly tells a story throughout your space, where each element feels connected and part of a whole.

This is super helpful in a room with two focal points because it guides the eye smoothly from one area to the other, without any jarring interruptions. It’s like creating a visual trail of breadcrumbs that leads you around the room.

But here’s the key – don’t go overboard. A little repetition goes a long way. It should feel natural, not like you’re walking into a room where everything is matchy-matchy.

You’re working to connect each part in a way that’s visually appealing and feels just right.

​Strategic contrast and variety

While repetition has its place, contrast can also be effective. It’s a great opportunity for designers to juxtapose different styles, textures, or colors near each focal point to create distinct but harmonious areas within the room.

Imagine you’re an artist with a blank canvas; contrast and variety are your vibrant paint colors that bring everything to life.

Just like in that artist’s painting, designers might juxtapose different styles, textures, or colors near each focal point to create distinct but harmonious areas within the room.

side view of beige sofa and blue chair beside white brick fireplace with fall decorations and a blue and white lamp on a brown wood end tablePin

Say you have two focal points in your living room – a huge tv on one wall and a large rustic fireplace on the other side of the room. They’re different, right? That’s where the magic of contrast comes in. 

Playing up their differences to helps to create an interesting space. Think of pairing the sleek, polished look of the tv with the rough, warm textures of the fireplace. It’s this mix of styles and textures that adds depth and character to your room.

Variety is about mixing things up – different shapes, sizes, textures, and colors. Take a room where one focal point is a very modern, traditionally designed fireplace at one end of the room.

To contrast this, you might situate a modern large sectional sofa in front of a gallery wall. The difference between the two creates a visual tension that’s intriguing and engaging.

What does that have to do with dealing with two focal points? When done well, contrast and variety can make your dual focal points stand out and complement each other.

Creating a focal point without a fireplace

Do you live in a very basic home or apartment with no clear focal point – no large windows, no fireplace, and no architectural features?​

Can you even have a focal point in a living room without having a fireplace or any of those elements?

Absolutely! It’s an opportunity to get creative and highlight what makes your space special.

looking down a long hallway toward a living room with a colorful chairPin

You may not have any large ones, but windows can still be a shining star. Dress them with a beautiful window treatment or leave them bare to show off a beautiful view.

The light that pours in can make the whole room revolve around this sunny, bright spot.

But what if windows aren’t your room’s strong suit? No worries! How about creating an accent wall?

This could be with a bold paint color, a striking wallpaper, or even a board and batten treatment added to a wall. Think of a blank wall as a canvas for your creativity and an instant eye-catcher.

Art can also be a game changer. A large, statement piece of art can anchor your room and set the tone.

Whether it’s a vibrant painting, a monochromatic abstract piece, or a gallery wall with a collection of smaller works, art has the power to define a space and make it interesting.


And let’s not forget about lighting. An elegant chandelier, a contemporary floor lamp, or a string of fairy lights can draw the eye and add warmth to the space.

Even a well-styled bookcase can be a focal point. It’s not just storage; it’s a display of your personal journey. Style it with books, little plants, and some unique knick-knacks to make it a conversation starter.

A cozy nook can become a focal point too. A plush armchair with a side table, a lamp, and a small shelf with your favorite reads can create an inviting corner that draws people in.

Finally, furniture can play a leading role too. A unique or large piece of furniture, like an oversized sofa or a striking bookshelf, can serve as a focal point.

Arrange the other elements of the room around it to draw attention.

partial view of a coffee table and an end table with a blue and white lamp at the end of a beige couch with fall decorationsPin

Remember, your living room’s focal point is about showcasing your style and what you love. Without a fireplace, you have a blank slate to create something that truly reflects your personality. 

Ultimately, whether you’re dealing with a small living room or a large room, the goal is to create a space that feels like home. 

Pinterest graphic for how to decorate a living room with 2 focal pointsPin

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for some clarification on this…I have multiple focal points and it gets a little confusing on which space should be the ideal focal point. Good suggestions!

  2. Great tips! I’ve been trying to make my living room mantel more of a focal point…just finding it hard to find the right art and accessories.

  3. Fabulous features, all are so beautiful, specially love the one with the green and white. Ok, this were terrific tips, I never thought about the focal point and I do have a few, specially my vintage French, marble table in the foyer. Thanks for sharing this. Hugs,

  4. Shirley@Housepitality Designs says:

    Great post Suzy….Love Candice…she’s rock star!

  5. Hi Suzy, Thanks for sharing these great tips at the Open House party. The first photo makes me want to change everything in my living room to this pretty green. Hugs, Sherry

  6. Such a useful post and great great images. I especially liked that Tori Fairley. I am seeing her stuff everywhere lately. She has probably been around but now that I have discovered, and fallen in love with her style, I feel like she may be my new muse. 😀 Thanks for sharing on BeColorful I learned a lot.

  7. All are great tips, especially in dealing with a large room with multiple focal points. Thanks for sharing your tips at Potpourri Friday!

  8. Pat@Back Porch Musings says:

    Wonderful and informative posts. Beautiful inspiration images.

    Clicking to Follow on Linky.

  9. Shannon @ Cozy Home Scenes And Cozy Home Kitchen says:

    These are all great tips. Multiple focal points make my family room hard to decorate since we have a wall of windows, a fire place, and of course a tv. Even a decorator from a furniture store couldn’t really offer much help. I’ll have to read your ideas further to get some good ideas. Thanks for linking up to Your Cozy Home Party this week!

  10. I love your tips. We have a fireplace in our living room, a big TV, and a wall (20′) of windows looking out to a view. We went with a pretty symmetrical arrangement of furniture in a square so there is always something facing either the fireplace or the view. Then we wall mounted the TV and it folds back to blend in. I used your ideas without even knowing!

  11. Fabulous post. I always learn so much. Love all of your pics also, great inspiration and eye candy.. Thanks so much for joining TTT. Hugs, marty

  12. I just found you via At The Picket Fence and I am your latest follower. Great post. I have a similar situation in our family room. The fireplace is on one wall and the TV wall unit is on the adjacent wall. The truth is that the room is used for our family to watch TV together and hang out so the fireplace is my secondary focal point. It’s definitely tricky. Your post is full of great information.

  13. Oh goodness! So many pretty rooms! Thanks for all the great ideas and tips! I love the room with the TV armoire BESIDE the fireplace. Didn’t think to do that but it works so well!

  14. Great tips. I’ve been moving art around today, trying to get a new look. Thanks for the inspiration.

  15. This is a great post! I went through this challenge with my family room. I think I ended up coming up with a pretty good solution, but it’s very hard to make it work.

  16. What great tips! I’m having this issue with one my my rooms and have been trying to make it work for some time. Hopefully with all these suggestions I can figure something out. Megan

  17. Awesome posts with great tips Suzy! Thanks so much for sharing this with us at Inspiration Friday this week!

  18. This is a very good article and I enjoyed the pictures.