A Kitchen Focal Point Enhances Your Life

A kitchen focal point adds visual interest

It’s much easier to concentrate on appearance in other rooms, because there isn’t the constraint of function and safety required by kitchens and bathrooms. Appearance is very important, and a kitchen focal point definitely adds visual interest. A focal point can be anything you want:

  • The shape and style of an island or peninsula
  • A beautiful view
  • Light fixtures
  • Interesting architectural feature (often a ceiling, or columns)
  • Artwork
  • Unique cabinetry
  • Appealing backsplash
  • An appliance (often a “professional” range and hood)

You are not limited to one kitchen focal point, but if there are multiple points of interest, it’s best to have a professional designer help you balance the visual weight of the focal point with other objects, to create a flowing rhythm as you (and guests) look around the room. There is a wonderful project by renowned designer Johnny Grey on Houzz, entitled “A Kitchen In Three Movements”. In one relatively small kitchen, Mr. Grey has incorporated five focal points: The skylight, chandelier, island, backsplash, and cabinetry details. When you look at the picture, your eyes circle from one object to the next. It’s not just a bunch of things, but there’s a rhythm and melody.

A kitchen focal point is the dominant feature, supported by the general appearance of the room, using  the rest of the principles of good design: Unity (or Harmony), Balance, Rhythm, Scale/Proportion, and Contrast (or Similarity). All of these principles are important, and must be seriously considered during the design process. Two other principles, function and safety, must be incorporated into the kitchen remodeling from the outset. They cannot be added after-the-fact.

While preparing to take the examinations to become a Certified Bathroom Designer (CBD) and a Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD), I reviewed all of the interior design principles learned while I was attending college. I also had to memorize the Bathroom and Kitchen Guidelines developed by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA). After 31 years in the business, I still “grade” clients’ plans, using the Guidelines to assure that the kitchens and bathrooms are as functional and safe as possible. Clients can tell me if they like the appearance, if they approve the focal point, but I must communicate the reasons why we are doing thus-and-such to achieve function and safety.

What kitchen focal point is important to you? It’s easy to get caught up in all of the details involved, when you’re thinking about remodeling your kitchen. Defining and designing your new kitchen’s appearance is one of the most fun aspects of the remodeling process. Relax, and enjoy it!

See pictures of and details for the featured kitchen project.

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