The eye needs a place to rest. It also needs a place to connect. When I walk into a room, I can almost always isolate the focal point, or where I would create the focal point. In the photo below, anyone can see that the focal point is not even inside the room. Your eye is drawn past the lovely soft furnishings on out to the mountain vista beyond. Well, I guess you could say that the large window frames the focal point. In fact, every part of the room frames the window which frames the view. Nicely done.
The most interesting rooms always have a focal point. Focal points create drama in a room. What are some successful focal points? If the room has a fireplace, that is going to be the focal point. I always want to create sight lines and drama around the fireplace. This fireplace area has wonderful drama in a contemporary space (I am ignoring the combo of colors used here, which I don’t particularly care for):
Below, this is an architectural device known as enfilade. See how you can look through several door frames down to the kitchen pendant light? The dark light at the end is the focal point here. Are you seeing how your eye naturally searches for a place to rest, and it wants to come to a rest (and to a focus) on the dark light at the end? The designer did a marvelous job of framing the sight-lines all the way through the view to the ending focal point. There is no visual clutter, just pleasing objects of interest to catch our passing glance on the way to the end. I would guess that a fireplace is the focal point if you are standing in the kitchen looking down the axis the other way, looking back toward the main room pictured here.
Our eyes have a natural desire to find a nice place to rest. Too much distraction, clutter, and visual disharmony make it difficult to give our eyes that natural place to rest. Have you ever walked in to someone’s house, and there was so much stuff, that you didn’t know where to look? Remember, the eye needs and wants a place to rest in a room.