Emphasis / focal point

Emphasis, as the name suggests, is a principle of interior design that says that a central piece of art or furniture must play the role of a focal point or attention grabber of a particular living space. Elements like color, pattern and texture must be used to emphasize a particular focal point. In fact these elements must be used in such a way that the focal point dominates the rest of the décor items and pulls the room together. Other items that surround the focal point must complement the latter and share a contrast that puts the focal point in the top priority.

A focal point is the visual centre of attraction in any given room, with all the other design elements leading all visual attention to that centre. It must be dominant enough to draw attention and interesting enough to hold the viewer’s interest. Most often you’ll see fireplaces used as focal points or even flat screen TVs. 

No one wants a boring space and by creating focal points throughout the room, you draw and encourage the attention of the viewer.  

Designers cheat sheet:

Create one main focal point with 2 or 3 supporting elements to compliment.

Don’t fight the existing floorplan or room elements to create a focal point that seems out of place. A dramatic staircase with a natural opportunity to place a spectacular chandelier will be a better use of resources than to create a staging scenario in a less suitable setting.

Fireplaces and windows make for easy focal points. You can also create a focal point within your space by highlighting a piece of furniture or an interesting piece of artwork. 

  • Create a focal point by highlighting a particular piece of furniture or artwork
  • Groupings of furniture, unusual objects, and large objects make for great focal points.