decorating in threes composition

If there is such a thing as a “magic number” for assuring good visual design, it’s three. Artists and designers use visual elements in sets of three to help their compositions feel more harmonious. Left, center, right. Small, medium, large. It’s a series that’s familiar, balanced, and orderly. Three is important when it comes to structure, it has symbolic significance to many religions, and it has a natural connection to the way we process information.

As a design principle, combinations of three are considered more engaging and memorable. Our brains are programmed to find patterns and respond to proportions. Our eyes seek to keep moving. You can create this kind of visual interest in your own décor by applying the “Rule of Three.”


Arrangements composed of an odd number of objects are more appealing – a center point anchors the arrangement and the other pieces add symmetry.

Move larger furniture into groupings. Three pieces with similar visual weight will create cozy conversation zones.

Working with a standard shape in the room also creates cohesion. A round mirror, round table, and the curve of a sofa arm encourage you to think in threes.


Varying size and scale engage a sense of depth.

Three levels of height draw the eye into following a triangular path.

Using patterns of three different scales (small, medium, large) or motifs (plaid, stripe, floral) in a room adds dimension and texture.


A typical formula for a color palette consists of the primary color, a secondary color, and an accent color.

If you introduce a pop of color, repeat it in two more places to keep the observer’s gaze traveling around the room.

Layered lighting improves the color and ambiance. Most plans incorporate three sources: natural illumination from windows, overhead fixtures, and task lighting.

decorating in threes

decorating in threes color

decorating in threes patterns