Don’t worry, this post isn’t about cleaning. Unfortunately – and despite my best efforts – cleaning is just not my forte. This post is all about how to make your room so visually interesting that your guests’ eyes won’t ever stop to focus on the dust bunnies hiding at the edge of the rug. And trust me, with kids and pets, I’ve got a few bunnies lurking around my rooms.
When we walk into a space, our eyes are naturally drawn to the main focal point of the room. From there, we scan the room taking in the rest of the surroundings to get a sense of the space. Two things that really help to keep people’s eyes moving around the room are 1) emphasis and 2) rhythm.
First let’s talk about emphasis, also known as focal points. There is a misconception that a room should only have one, but that’s just not the case. It is okay to have multiple focal points but the key is to ensure that they have varying levels of importance so as not to compete with one another. Focal points are basically a way of telling people where you want them to look.
The image above contains two focal points, one architectural and the other created. Notice how the shade on the window ties in with the frame on the mirror so that they complement one another instead of compete.
This principle is used all the time in your everyday lives. Just think about your walk down the cereal isle at the grocery store! The healthier cereals are usually located higher on the shelves to be in line with adults’ viewpoint while the kids’ cereals are located lower on the shelves so that kids can readily see them. And while the logo is prominent, the thing that is most noticeable is the character or mascot of the cereal brand, followed by the logo. So, not only are the cereal manufactures using multiple focal points on their packaging to convey their brand image, the grocery store is also using them by the placement of the cereals on the shelves. Your kids can’t help but see those sugary cereals and want them!
Okay, back to how focal points apply to your home. Your home is your story so take the time to tell it how you want it told. Ensure that you have (or create) focal points for your guests so that they know exactly where to look and see exactly what you want them to see. Common focal points are fireplaces and window views. But even if you don’t have a natural architectural feature that is a focal point, you can always create your own using artwork, a unique furniture piece, a collection that is displayed or even furniture arrangement.
In the image above, a focal point has been created through the use of an eclectic art wall.
Now on to the concept of rhythm. Rhythm is what carries our eyes along at a steady pace and allows us to anticipate what comes next. It’s basically setting the expectations for the room so you can anticipate what comes next. If rhythm is interrupted, or if it isn’t established, then our eyes stop scanning at a smooth pace and instead we look randomly around the room from one thing to the next. Rhythm can be a color theme that is used throughout a room, architectural lines that run throughout a room, or even an alternating pattern.
In the image from The Old Painted Cottage, the use of light colors moves your eye easily from one piece to the next.
In this beautiful little girl’s room, rhythm is established by the progression of picture frames as they move from the highest point to the lowest. This progression helps move your eye along an established path.
In this image from Hilda Grahnat, rhythm is established by both color and progression, as the objects go from smallest to largest as well as neutral to colorful.
So you see, by establishing focal points and rhythm in your home, your guests will be so absorbed in your decor that their eyes won’t ever settle on those pesky dust bunnies hiding in the corner. Yes, you could just clean them up, but decorating is so much more fun!