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Emphasis relates to where the eye first rests in the design of your room. It is the first thing one sees before moving through the other elements of the room. The focal point dictates the rest of the layout of the space.
Two types of focal points are common in home design, architectural emphasis and piece emphasis.
A common architectural focal point in a room is a fireplace. Commonly used in the traditional style for emphasis, it captures the eye on entry to the room and serves as a base point for the other pieces in the room. Other items that can be used for architectural emphasis are archways, large windows and staircases.
This room uses the fireplace as the focal point. The furniture and accessories are laid out to emphasis the architectural element of the fireplace design.
Piece emphasis is the use of furniture or large décor items as the focal point. An ornate antique dresser, an elaborate chandelier or a large piece of artwork can be used as the emphasis by which to arrange the other elements in the room.
In this room the large artwork on the large wall is the emphasis for the room. The eye is drawn to it and the arrangement of the furniture and accessories emphasis the use as the focal point of the room.