Today’s topic is the Principle of Emphasis in design and how to create and use it in your home.
Chapter 9: Emphasis!
We are moving right along in our Elements and Principles of Design series and actually only have about three more installments left! So far, we’ve covered the Elements of color, line, shape and form, texture, and space. And we’ve covered the Principles of balance, rhythm, and proportion. Next up is emphasis in design!
Emphasis is defined by Merriam-Webster as “force or intensity of expression that gives impressiveness or importance to something.” In the case of interior design, that “something” is what’s called a focal point.
A focal point can be an architectural feature, a piece of artwork, an item of furniture, really anything that you want to draw attention to. Some common focal points are fireplaces, windows, dining room tables, TVs (as much as I hate that this is the truth), and beds, including the headboard or space above the bed.
Why create Emphasis?
Emphasis creates drama and interest. It also functions to ground the room and give your eye a place to rest.
How to create Emphasis
Contrast using the Elements of Design is one of the simplest and most interesting ways to create emphasis. Surround your focal point with contrasting textures, shapes and forms (size/type), lines (thickness/type), and colors (value/hue/intensity) to really make it stand out.
Sometimes, an area or feature of your home will be a focal point simply because of its location or its architecture, for instance, the wall at the end of a hallway. Don’t try to fight these natural focal points. Instead enhance them with some of these other techniques for creating emphasis.
In interior design, convergence is a very natural way to create emphasis. One example of this is when we have furniture facing a focal point. This could be a dining room table surrounded by chairs or couches and chairs facing toward a TV or fireplace.
Find something that you love and that is totally different from everything else and make it your focal point! It can be something repurposed, a found object, a piece of art that is unlike anything else you have, something that you made, a fun wall color. Really, the sky is the limit with this one! Be creative and think outside the box!
Go Forth and Emphasize!
When you are thinking about using emphasis, there are a couple of questions that you should ask yourself. What do you want to highlight? What do you want to hide? The item you want to highlight should be your focal point. What you want to hide should be downplayed, blended with the rest of the room.
It really doesn’t take any extra money to create emphasis in your space, but you’ll create an all new sense of interest and drama. Emphasis gives you a fun reason and way to show off some of your more unique pieces and flare without overwhelming the room. So have at it, do something a little funky!
For more affordable and practical ways to use the Elements and Principles of Design to make your house a home, check out the rest of the Elements and Principles of Design series and be sure to stay tuned for the next installments!