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How To Think Like an Interior Designer: Emphasis

The principle of emphasis in interior design is the process of creating focus within a designated space.  This method is used not only to draw attention to a focal point in the room but can also be used to divert the viewer from noticing a less desirable area of the space as well.  This is accomplished through the utilization of the elements of interior design: line, shape, form, color, texture, and space.

It is important to understand why emphasis is important to your home’s design and to determine which items should be designated as dominant in your room’s look while others play a supporting role.  If there are too many dominant features in a space, it can end up looking too cluttered and unattractive.  Less is more when it comes to focal points in each area.

Drawing a viewer’s attention in a room can be done either through an architectural feature or with an added item placed in the space.  Good examples of the former are a unique backsplash, a beautiful tiled fireplace, or an unexpected arrangement of floor tile.  Added pieces in a space that would draw the eye are a large painting, antique furniture, or an opulent chandelier.  Once the focal point is chosen, the rest of the design can work around it.

Emphasis can become a room’s focal point through isolation, contrast, and placement.  A wall that has no adornment but bears a single painting brings focus to the room through isolation.  This separation gives the viewer’s eyes nowhere to go but to that piece of art.  Create Contrast emphasis by injecting a pop of bright color into a room with a monochromatic palette.  Finally, achieve Placement emphasis by arranging anything in the center of a room will draw the eye first.  For example, place a brightly felted pool table in the middle of a game room.

No matter what you choose for a focal point, be sure to provide support by arranging your furnishings in such a way that an almost invisible path leads the viewer to the focus point.  Providing this direction will ensure that your item receives the attention it deserves while making you look like a professional at the same time.