You are currently viewing Principle 4: Using Emphasis for Better Interior Design

Principle 4: Using Emphasis for Better Interior Design

Using emphasis can be with a piece of furniture

One of the best ways to use the principle of emphasis with respect to interior design is to create a focal point in each room. A focal point invites a guest into your home and welcomes them into a relaxing space. In interior design, emphasis refers to the place, item or items in a given room that command attention. A focal point is a common example of emphasis in interior design.

A focal point immediately draws your eye and determines how you arrange the rest of the room. For example, a dramatic light fixture over your dining table, a tall, beautiful fireplace, or bright accent pillows in a room with a beige or neutral color palette can be used to create emphasis in a room. Here are three tips on how to best use the principle of emphasis in interior design in any space.

Identify Prime Places for Emphasis

The first thing to do as you look at adding or establishing emphasis in your home is to identify existing focal points you want to use. For example, a common focal point in a bedroom is the bed itself. In the dining room, the focal point is often the table.

As with the other interior design principles that we’ve discussed, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. Too many focal points visible from one place or more than one in an area make a home feel chaotic. The focal points compete for our attention. That’s why it’s important to decide what the focal point will be before you begin decorating. This way, as you put the room together, you can be sure the other elements do not compete with it.

Support the Focal Point with Other Room Elements

Once you have an idea where the focal point is, think about how other elements in the room can support that emphasis in your design.

For example, perhaps your living room is primarily used for watching television. If so, you may decide to make the TV the focal point of the room. Arranging couches and chairs in the room so people sitting on them can comfortably see the television will help emphasize that focal point.

A fireplace creates another great opportunity for a focal point. Placing strategic items on the mantel or painting the brick or wall above the fireplace can add more emphasis to the feature. Get additional ideas from Better Homes and Gardens on how to use your mantel décor to create a focal point.

Use Lighting and Color for Emphasis

using emphasis with a piece of artwork for better interior design
Using artwork as emphasis

Here is another way to use emphasis in interior design, especially in a small room. First, choose furniture or paint in lighter or more neutral colors. Then, add a pop of brighter color in a few accent pieces. Perhaps a single piece of wall art, or a few couch cushions.

Make sure you use lighting to support your choice of emphasis in your décor as well. For example, a lighted mirror in the bathroom can be an excellent focal point. Light fixture updates can be a great way to give a room a facelift and increase the value of your home.

Learn More About Principles of Interior Design

Now that you’re ready to experiment with emphasis in interior design, be sure to check out my other posts on the principles of design. I’ve covered three other principles of interior design, beginning with my post on Scale and Proportion.

And as always, I’m just a phone call away for consultations as well as virtual interior design!