The Rule of Three in Design

Odd Numbers Add a Dynamic Element

f you really want to liven up a room, consider the rule of three – grouping items in threes (or even other odd numbers, such as fives or sevens).

Unlike the balanced look of even numbers, the asymmetry of odd numbers captures your attention and forces your gaze to move across the arrangement.

This concept not only works with objects and furniture but extends to patterns and colors as well.

You can liven up a room by arranging the furniture in sets of three.
Three pillows with different patterns add a dynamic element.

How to Apply the Rule of Three

Here are a few ways you can apply the rule of three to your home:

Arrange furniture in sets of three. You can’t go wrong with a sofa and two chairs. For an extra touch, accessorize with three throw pillows or three items on your coffee table.

Combine three different patterns. Examples could include paisleys, stripes or plaids. But look for patterns with a similar color scheme.

Use the 60/30/10 color rule. When choosing your colors, pick a dominant color for 60% of your space, a secondary color for 30% and an accent color for 10%.

Easy Fixes Can Make a Big Difference

Group three items on a table or shelf. Use complementary colors but mix variations of shape and size.

Hang three pieces of artwork. Make sure they share a common theme (think floral patterns or black-and-white photographs). You could even split one image across three frames.

What’s nice about applying the rule of three is that you don’t have to totally revamp your décor. Sometimes the easiest fixes, like removing or adding an accessory here and there, can make all the difference.

The easiest fixes, like grouping three objects on a table, can make all the difference.
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