Most living areas have at least one focal point, whether it's a large picture window with a beautiful view, a crackling fireplace, or a flat-screen television. What happens when your living area has more than one focal point? Don't let them compete with one another for your attention. You do have a few layout options for living areas with competing focal points. Consider one of the following.
Choose one focal point to highlight
Your first option is to choose one of the focal points to highlight or to design the room around. Do you spend most of your time watching TV? Then you will want to center the furniture around the television. If you would rather center the room's design on a fireplace, or you spend more time looking out the window, then perhaps you can hide the television inside a cabinet -- just make sure to arrange your furniture so that you can view the TV from somewhere in the room when you choose to do so. If you decide to choose just one focal point to highlight, the others should fall into the background.
Fit two focal points into one compact space
Another option, if you have it, is to work your furniture around two focal points that are combined into one compact space. Neither has to fight for your attention. Typically, there is a large space above the fireplace mantel where homeowners hang artwork or some sort of wall hanging. Why not hang a flat-screen TV there instead? Keep it low enough so your neck doesn't get sore from looking up, and make sure it is secured to the wall. If you are planning on adding a fireplace to an existing space, center it on a wall underneath windows that are higher up, or in the corner between two window walls.
Section off separate conversation areas
Finally, if the room is large enough (and it doesn't need to be all that large), create separate seating areas that are centered around two separate focal points. For example, you may choose to arrange the majority of your seating around the television, since that is where families often gather to watch movies or shows. If the fireplace -- or a window with a great view -- is in another corner of the room, place a smaller conversation area in this corner. For rooms short on space, even a single rocking chair is enough for one person to enjoy a good book or the view outside while everyone else is watching the football game.
Tonya graduated from the Interior Design program at Alexandria Technical College in 2008. She currently lives in South Dakota and writes articles related to design, decorating, and home improvement for various Internet sites.