7 Tips For Using The Rule of 3 in Interior Design

If you want to accessorize the right way and design your room like a pro, you’ll want to learn about the rule of three. The rule of three is a form of interior decorating that increases the visual appeal of any space.

The rule of three generally states that objects look more appealing together when grouped in threes. Learn how to use the rule of three with these tips.

1. Using one item

One is an odd number, but it often looks lonely. However, there are times when one object is just perfect. When you use two decorative pieces, it looks like they are both competing for your attention. When you use four items, it almost looks like double competition.

The rule of 3 in design

2. Sizing items

When you decorate with a trio, they don’t need to be the same size, height, or color. If all the items are the same size, especially if they are large, they will look strange and unappealing together.

3. Ideas for trios

This design hack works perfectly for…

3 wall frames

Wall frames

3 pendant lights

Pendant lighting

3 decorative items on shelves

Decorative items on shelves

3 decorative items on console tables

Decorative items on console tables

3 nested tables

Nested tables

Arranging 3 identical pieces together

4. Working with identical pieces

Identical pieces should vary in color, height, and size.

Arranging 3 non-identical pieces together

5. Tying non-identical pieces together

Pieces that are not identical need something that ties them together. It could be texture or color.

Arranging 3 items together

6. Arranging three items

The tallest piece should be behind the other two shorter pieces. This allows each item to be admired individually.

7. Tweaking items

After you place items, take a step back. Make sure they look good. Keep trying different positions and angles until you feel like it looks perfect.

The Rule of 3

I hope you can now see why a design scheme in a room usually works well with odd numbers like three, five, seven, and even nine, though three and five items look less cluttered. The rule of three is a classic interior decorating trick that can make a space look more organized and elegant.

Let me know if you think this rule of three makes sense. Do you use the rule of three when you decorate? Let me know in the comments.

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2 of 3 comments
  • Christy Christy on Dec 21, 2023
    I've been using the rule of three for years now. An odd number of items are more visually appealing, but I also think that a larger item would work fine just being displayed on its own.
  • Pal28945262 Pal28945262 on Jan 22, 2024
    One, three, five, any odd number is fine. It’s a rule of interior design.