To create an impact in interior design, the magical number is three. Why, you ask? We have all the answers here!
Interior design is all about creating a statement with unique (read: odd) choices. Grouping elements in the odd number of three is a unique — and famous — technique in home decor. But why are groupings in three preferred over perfectly symmetrical arrangements? Let’s find out!
Why Use The Rule Of 3? — Its Significance
The Rule of 3 pairs interior design elements (such as lighting fixtures, decor pieces, artwork, and more) into groups of three. This ‘odd arrangement’ is more visually appealing than symmetrical groupings, which can often appear cold and stale.
But wait — one is also odd, right? Although singly-placed items, such as a statement piece of artwork, can appear stunning, that’s not always the case. For example, an isolated vase placed on a coffee table may feel like it’s missing balance.
Groupings of 2, on the other hand, feel stale and sometimes even staged. And so, we’re left with our magical number of three.
Groupings of 3 appear more natural and dynamic. Three is also the smallest number that can form a distinguishable pattern in our heads — and creates a more memorable impact. Lastly, grouping into 3 also takes the guesswork out of interior design, providing a definitive number to work around whilst styling your space.
How To Incorporate The Rule Of 3 Into Your Home
There are a multitude of ways to incorporate the Rule of 3 into your home. Here are our top picks for the elements of your interior design that can (and should) be grouped into 3!
Credit:Vase and Carafe
If you wish to incorporate the Rule of 3 into your space without making major changes, group your decor pieces together. Have cocktail-table books? Showcase three of them on your coffee table. A vase-lover? Utilise three vases in your entryway, displaying them on the foyer table. Also, play around with the sizes and shapes of the items to create visual interest.
If you’re adding accent colours to your interior, consider using three different shades. For example, for an otherwise neutral interior, add in pops of white, black, and mustard. Spread the colours into different pieces and place them all together for a cohesive look.
Credit: Im3rd Media
Lighting offers another great opportunity to apply the Rule of 3. This applies to both the types of lighting and the number of lighting fixtures.
Firstly, be sure to incorporate (and layer) the 3 different types of lighting:
Ambient — to generally illuminate the room (includes ceiling lights and wall-mounted fixtures)
Task — for specific tasks (such as under-cabinet lighting)
Accent — to highlight and serve decorative purposes (such as wall sconces)
Next, use the magic number when picking fixtures. For example, three pendant lights installed over kitchen islands create a statement and draw attention, as compared to a single overhead lighting fixture.
Note that the Rule of 3 applies to only certain types of lighting. A chandelier does perfectly fine on its own, whilst side-table lamps look fantastic in pairs.
For more lighting tips, read about how to light a room the right way!
Here’s another fun and easy way of incorporating the Rule of 3 — throw pillows and cushions. Group your pillows in three for a contemporary and cosy vibe. You may opt for settings of five, seven, and nine for larger seating areas. Most people enjoy using odd numbers of pillows on their beds, too!
It helps also to know how to mix and match cushions for a stunning sofa setting.
Credit: FizzyArt UK
Create a mini gallery wall by grouping three pieces of artwork. These provide the opportunity to put together various pieces you love, and just like other arrangements of 3, attract the eye more than a single piece does.
You can curate a selection of three yourself, individually purchasing pieces. If you’re unsure of which pieces would go together coherently, searching for sets of three will have your back!
We hope you feel inspired by the variety of ways to implement the Rule of 3 in your space! But don't forget, interior design is all about what pleases you. If you feel a pairing of objects (or any number of objects, really) appears more natural in your interior and makes you happy, then obviously you should go for it. After all, rules are meant to be broken. *wink*
Need some help with finding ways to incorporate the rule of 3 into your space? Just book one of our Interior Design Gurus here! They can look at your space over video chat and give you tips, ideas and guidance on how to achieve an interior that you love.