I’m all about vibe when it comes to design and while it might seem like I’m a go-with-the-flow, feel-the-space kind of gal (which I am), I also respect one of the most fundamental rules of design, the Rule of Three. It is a sacred rule that has worked faithfully for years when it comes to eye-pleasing accessorizing, turning ordinary spaces into extraordinary ones.
The rule of three boils down to a simple concept: things arranged in odd numbers are more visually attractive, memorable, and effective than even-numbered groupings. Even numbers are great If you want to create symmetry in a room. But if you want to create interest stick with odd numbers.
The traditional Chinese concept of Feng Shui is all about creating the right environment for people to live in harmony with their surroundings. In Feng Shui, the theory is that odd numbers expand and create more energy, while even numbers contract and condense energy. Maybe thats because odd numbers force your eye to move around and take it all in.
So how do you apply the Rule of Three to design?
Rather than lining things up in a row, order then place them in the shape of a triangle and put an item at each point taking account the scale (height, shape, size) as well. Grouping decorations by color, texture, shape, gradation, or some other design element will make the arrangement automatically more inviting.
You can do this by using things around the house. Placing candles in a mason jar, stacking books, or even a pair of glasses can be placed in a trio and look professionally decorated.
This also works with art.
I mix patterns and colors frequently in my stages. It really works when you stick to the Rule of Three. Two colors might seem like enough but trust me, a third takes it to a new level. Pick three patterns/colors with a common scheme. Choose your primary (60%), and secondary(30%) colors then fill in with the third choice (10%). The same goes for textures and patterns. Think 3 different pillows all in same color scheme.
Grouping Furniture and Lighting:
I didn’t invent the classic combination of a sofa and two chairs. Yep, The Rule of Three. Three lights over your kitchen island. Again, The Rule of Three. Just accept it.
Two pictures of something is just a pair. Add a third and now you have a collection. Go ahead, look at all the photo wall in your house and count how many you have in the collection. Remove or add an additional frame and see how that changes things.
The Rule of Three is your secret weapon to fill your space with good energy that will make you (and your guests) want to sit down, relax, and stay awhile.
The Rule of Three isn’t just applied to design. You can see it corporate presentations, magazine writing and storytelling and graphic layouts and photography. Why? Because it works. That’s what matters.
Bottom line: Don’t let your space look odd, just use odd.