What the Rule of Three in Design Is

The Rule of Three states that you should arrange things in the odd-number fashion to make them look more appealing to the human eye, while items grouped in even numbers seem staged and cold to us. The number 3 is always considered a magic number in the world of interior design, and so are other odd numbers, like 5, 7, and so on. If you wish to make your home look more symmetrical and balanced, let 5-Minute Crafts guide you to make the best of the Rule of Three.

Use 3 colors.

Colors have their own Rule of Three to follow, where an equation of 60-30-10 is followed. In other words, you should choose the following:

  • A main color that would take up 60% of the room
  • A secondary color that would take up 30% of the room
  • An accent color that would take up 10% of the room

For instance, you can take up neutral beige as the main color, bold navy blue as the secondary color, and a coral-colored throw cushion as the accent color for your living room. You can also go for various neutral shades if you don’t like bold colors.

Use 3 textures.

Having one texture throughout the room and in one shade can make the ambiance boring quite easily. Instead, if you have an all-white room, you can try mixing colors, like beige, cream, and brown. You can also try mixing textures, like wood, rattan, linen, and nubby cotton, to make your room look interesting.

Combine 3 fabrics.

Using the same fabric for curtains, pillows, and more can make your room look boring as well. You can try combining various patterns, like paisley, flowers, and stripes, in similar colors to bring out the best features of your interior.

Install 3 different styles of lighting.

It’s not all about having just 3 lights in your room, it’s about installing 3 different types of lights to create a balanced room. You can have one main ambient light, like an overhead light on a dimmer; task lighting by installing table lamps or floor lamps; and lastly, accent lights, like picture lighting, track lighting, or undercabinet lighting.

Arrange furniture according to the Rule of Three.

It’s always recommended to arrange furniture in sets of 3. Always choose pieces of similar sizes and shapes — the colors may differ. If you take a look at the image above, you’ll see 3 pillows on a seat and 3 candles on the coffee table, creating a harmonious yet subtle balance in the room.

Decorate the coffee table with the Rule of Three.

When it comes to decorating your coffee table, always consider the height, scale, and color. Choose 3 objects or groups of 3 objects whose scale and color complement each other and the room as well. When it comes to height, you can mix it up to create visual interests. If you have a small item that is disrupting your grouping, then place it onto a stand to make it appear larger to create a more harmonious look.

Choose to install the windows in threes.

While you can try the Rule of Three with furniture and other accessories, windows can also play a significant role in making your home look symmetrical and balanced. One side of the house can have a huge window, while the opposite side could have 3 smaller ones that are a combination and match of the larger window.

Don’t take the Rule of Three too seriously.

While the Rule of Three and symmetry can make your home look balanced, it’s sometimes okay to go outside of the box. You can bend the Rule of Three by arranging an odd number of items, like 5, 7, etc. And you can also have objects that vary in size, height, and shape. So feel free to mix it up and have fun with it.

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