Tuesday Tip - Elements Of Design In Party Decor - Emphasis

My elements of design in party decor post generated lots of buzz; I also received several emails for more in-depth ideas about why these ideas 'work'. By no means am I an expert with years of design under my belt.  But as you work on more events, you start getting 'the eye'...something doesn't look right, something's missing...and you'll keep playing around until you get what feels right to you.

Thus, I'm inspired to do a mini series using all eight principals of design (check out the post to see what I'm talking about); last time it was balance, today's principal is emphasis.

Emphasis is the stressing an element of your party design. One way of achieving emphasis is by creating a focal point. Your party table should ideally only have one, but it can't just be there all alone, everything else should support it. It can be the largest, brightest, or most complex part of the whole. It gets special attention because it stands out.

elements of design emphasis clementine centerpiece

The stand of clementines is the clear focal point of this table from Brunch At Saks, but it doesn't scream it...the contrast between the soft aqua tablecloth is perfect.


elements of design emphasis large centerpiece

The oversized flower centerpiece featured on The Hostess Blog works well on a round table and the clear vase gives the illusion of the flowers floating above the table. I love, love, love it!

elements of design emphasis Pink Safari shower

The focal point can be above the table like the branch at my Pink Safari baby shower. It doesn't compete with the oversized vases for attention, even though at first they may seem to be the first thing you see, the branch is visually more interesting since your eyes travel up the ribbon.

Another way to create emphasis is by contrasting the primary element with a change in direction, size, shape, or color.

elements of design emphasis red envelope backdrop

A perfect example of a change in color emphasis is the backdrop from Just Call Me Martha.  The single red envelope turned an interesting wall into a sweet one.  I'm betting most people wouldn't have noticed the envelopes first.

elements of design emphasis bbq centerpiece

The BBQ grill from this fun table at Celebrations clearly reinforces the theme, but by placing it at the end of the table gives it even more prominence than if it were in the center of the table.

elements of design emphasis orange table

The center jar already has interest as the tallest feature on this table from Love, Inc. but with all the symmetrical balance with the other platters, the table is almost too perfect and static.  With the patterned frame behind it, it continues the movement from the tablecloth and becomes eye catching.  This is a great example of how a simple feature can make or break a table.

elements of design emphasis Halloween table

Size doesn't always matter. On a regular, horizontal table, the cupcakes on this Halloween table from Anna And Blue Paperie could have easily been lost.  Because they are set so far back, it becomes the table's main focus.

Stay tuned for movement...no I don't mean your table is going somewhere...

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