Choosing Your Kitchen’s Focal Point

If you’ve read a few home design articles, you’ll be familiar with the concept of focal points. Every room needs that one element that draws the eye and leads it to the rest of the room. More often than not, the focal point is also what sets the room’s décor theme, or ties the rest of the elements together to give it that finished look.

In the kitchen, the need for a focal point has been more pronounced in recent years. Many design ideas for kitchens are built around a single element, which eventually becomes the focal point. Most kitchens have a natural focal point to begin with, such as a cozy corner, a bright color scheme, or stylish furniture.

But what if you’re starting from scratch and have to build a focal point on your own? Try browsing through design magazines and see which design elements first catch your eye. Chances are these could make a viable focal point for your own kitchen, simply because they appeal to you personally. Below are some ideas for kitchen focal points, and how you can make them work for your space.

A gathering area

Kitchens are increasingly turning from purely functional rooms to all-around spaces where people come together to sit, talk and relax. If this sounds like you, why not set up a little gathering space and create a focal point at the same time? It can be as simple as setting up small kitchen tables in a corner, or something elaborate like an island counter with bar stools and a wine rack. On busy days, it can also double as an extra work surface.

Obviously, this would work best for large kitchens where the workspace takes up half or less of the room. By separating the cooking area from the rest, you also control foot traffic and therefore work more efficiently. Look around for simple, inexpensive ways to draw attention to the gathering space. For example, instead of using room dividers, define each space by using a different wall color, or installing a small overhead light over the table.

A colorful counter

New countertop materials have emerged in recent years and turned the once-humble kitchen counter into a popular focal point. This is especially true in modern kitchens, where materials like quartz and granite are highly favored. Browse through a kitchen photo gallery and you’ll notice that the focus is often on the color, texture, and patterns of the countertop, or sometimes the material itself. Some of the most popular countertop materials are soapstone, laminate, copper, and tempered glass.

To bring more attention to your countertop, try matching it with your flooring. Viewers tend to look at kitchens on both levels, so using complementary colors can highlight both elements. They don’t have to be the same material or even the exact same shade, as long as they complement each other. You can also use a backsplash to highlight the color of your counter and better match it with your wall or tile colors.

Trendy storage units

Next to countertops, cabinets and storage are the most noticeable features in the modern kitchen. Again, you can see it in any kitchen gallery: cabinets with unusual finishes, doors with intricate molding, and stylized knobs and handles. Even in a small kitchen, you can find a small corner kitchen cabinet in unique design that really sets it apart. There’s a world of designs to be explored in kitchen storage it’s just a matter of finding the right fit for your space.

For cabinets to stand out, they should blend well with other room elements. One way to do this is to compare them against your countertop. Just like the floor, they don’t have to be a perfect match, but they do have to look good together. Look for pictures online to see which colors and materials work well side by side. Contemporary kitchens, for example, often use contrasting materials such as glass and stone, wood and metal, granite and bamboo.

Intimate lighting

Kitchen lighting has gone beyond plain illumination and become as decorative as it is functional. If you’re still using that overhead fluorescent light, it may be high time for an update. Nowadays, lighting design for kitchens comes in three levels: ambient light, task lights, and mood lights. Ambient light provides general illumination, while task lighting focuses on key areas like the sink and counter. Mood lights can be dimmed or brightened as needed to suit the situation.

Manufacturers now offer kitchen lights in a wide range of designs, from stylish overhead hangings to elegant wall sconces. The right piece can easily become your kitchen’s focal point, especially in the evenings. Look for fixtures that fit in with your theme, and make sure it’s the right shade to bring out your color choices. You can also use lights to emphasize other points of interest, such as a painting or a cozy alcove.