Emphasis in interiors

Emphasis is the creation of a focal point. A focal point should be an area that is visually important enough to draw and hold attention. Examples of dramatic, demanding or interesting focal points can be found or created in many different ways.



A focal point can be created by placing a beautiful piece of furniture with an interesting grouping of art in a foyer or at the end of a hallway.

A focal point creates a point of emphasis in the room, serving to anchor it .There are times when you don’t have an architectural feature for emphasis. If that is the case, select a piece of furniture that can act as the focal point.


At Emphasis interiors, art is at the heart of our design process.

When you walk into a room, your eyes immediately scan the space and rest on elements that attract attention.

Emphasis is the design principle that deals with the dominance of area of interests, or focal points. If you want to achieve an effective, engaging design, you should aim to have a coexistence of dominant and subordinate elements to draw the eye around the interior.

focal point fireplace

Imagine walking into a room with white ceiling, white walls, white floorboards and, in the middle, a white square table with four white rectangular chairs. Pretty boring, don’t you think?

Now imagine making a few simple changes to the room:

  • you paint the chairs in bright red, move table, and chairs to the left side of the room, and hang a red pendant above the table;
  • you take a white wooden sideboard, the texture of the wood showing through the paint, and place it in the right part of the room, with a red vase on top of it;
  • you hang on the wall a series of pictures with white frames of similar size but different shape, arranging them in a line that starts from the area where the table is, then run towards the sideboard and finishes exactly above it;
  • you place a white, curvy easy chair with a red circular coffee table and a table lamp by the wall opposite the sideboard.

focal point bed

Now when you enter the room and your eyes scan the space, they first go to the dining table & red chairs on the left, then follow the line created by the picture frames towards the sideboard, stop at the red vase, take in the rough texture of the sideboard, then travel again towards the rounded chair and red coffee table. Much more interesting, isn’t it?

focal point ceiling

A room that has no dominant element is bland and tedious, like the white room of the example. Once you introduce a focal point (the dining area) and a few visual accents (red vase, textured sideboard, round armchair with red table) you create an effective design and engage the eyes in an interesting tour of the interior.

focal point outdoors

Using emphasis is the difference between good decorators and great ones. The ability to look at a room, and choose which type of emphasis to use, within a clients budget is the hallmark of a good designer. The room and furniture you have to design decide which type of emphasis to use.

focal point wall

The other option if you wish to use emphasis is to select an added feature to the room and design around it. This causes the eye to drift to the piece that you want to be the focal point of the room, and accentuates its importance in the overall design.

focal point2

This type of emphasis is most commonly seen with designers that are also passionate about antiques. The very act of purchasing antiques is assigning a higher value to things that are from a certain period in time, or of a certain style. Creating a design around a focal element is a little different than an architectural focus, but with the right element, it can be more powerful.


Initially, this method of emphasis may be a tad easier to grasp to those new to the concepts of design, but in practice it is much easier. When you consider architectural features to focus on, those pieces most likely will not move, nor will the shape or color change drastically. However, a picture can be moved, a chest can be broken, and the hardware of your centuries-old dresser could rust. With the possibility of change comes the inherent need for a more flexible design. Incorporating that flexibility is pretty difficult, but when you figure it out, will ultimately be more fulfilling.


Some rooms have a built-in focal point, a place where your eye goes as soon as you walk in. A fireplace or a wall of windows with a stunning view are almost always natural focal points. Your furniture should be arranged to emphasize the focal point. Place seating across from it so you can look at it, or place matching pieces on either side to emphasize it.