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Focal Point and Rhythm: Interior Design Basics

February 23, 2016
focal point

Interior design basics: the building blocks of design, the starting points and foundations of any good design project. Last week we looked at the basic element of design colour and the way to use it in and around the home. Today on CoContest, as part 3 of 4 in our series on interior design basics, we’re taking a look at the crucial elements of focal point and rhythm. Read on, get wise and take these finer points with you in the pursuit of a greater and more aesthetically well-appointed home!

focal Point

via Richard Powers

What is focal point?

Focal point, simply put, is to do with points of focus in a given design setup. It relates directly to what the eye is drawn to when they first experience a design layout. Also thought of as ’emphasis’, focal point brings attention to what is intended to be most important in a particular room or domestic scenario – it draws the eye in, and helps a design to better communicate. Some ways this can be achieved is through the use of isolation, placement or contrast (whether colour, material or otherwise).

focal point

via Kjellgren Kaminsky Architecture

What is rhythm?

Moving on from focal point, we encounter rhythm: the movement in which certain design elements recur on a regular interval. Just like the rhythm and beat of music, or a dance, rhythm in design relates to the ‘flow’ of objects present in a design work. Related to ‘pattern’, rhythm is easily perceived, but often complex and subtle to describe.

focal point

via a&h Architecture

How to create focal points

Creating focal points, like all elements of design, relies on imagination and context. For example, when working with an abundance of a given colour or shade in a domestic interior, focal points can be created through clever use of accessories, curios and objet d’art. We see this at play in the gorgeous clean white abode above, a brilliant clean and airy bathroom space punctuated to artful effect through the incorporation of a well-placed red curio frame. A very neat focal point indeed.

focal point

via Rachel Whiting

How to create rhythm

As mentioned earlier, pattern is very closely related to the principle of rhythm, and can be harnessed through elements such as shape and colour to create a desired rhythmic effect. The bold tiling pattern in this fabulous example shows how it’s done, creating a vibrant, energetic dining room space, enhanced by the juxtaposing pattern of the adjacent wall’s clean blue lines.

focal point

via Thom Filicia

How to avoid mistakes

Aesthetically speaking, the rule ‘less is more’ tends to apply on the whole. When creating spaces that thrive on clever use of design elements such as focal point and rhythm, it’s crucial to avoid overdoing it, whether that happens to be with colour, contrasting materials, general styles or otherwise. With this approach, you’ll have more room to move when it comes to honing crucial design aspects like focal point and rhythm. While an interesting design in its own right, it could be argued that the space in the example above is a little busy – it really could be stripped back a little to allow these crucial elements to do the work, and make for an even more aesthetically pleasing ambiance.

We hope you enjoyed this week’s topic! Stick around for next week’s exciting part 4 in the CoContest design basics series.

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