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The "rule of three" in the interior

There is a perception that designers — people purely creative, which for a beautiful interior need only inspiration, but, believe me, this is far from it. In addition to a number of rules, there are also unspoken aesthetic rules that help professionals to create a beautiful home decoration. In this article, we're going to talk about one of those rules.

A simple but really workable way to help create interesting compositions is called the "rule of three". Its essence is simple: our brain often perceives an even number of things as something boring and orderly, so the interior should be diluted with compositions with an odd number of items. And it concerns not only the elements of decor, but also the furniture, textiles and much more, and we'll talk about this today.

The decor of surfaces

Console, fireplace, coffee table, dresser, bedside tables, work table and in general all the surfaces of your home can be decorated with the "rule of three". Renowned designer Emily Henderson has good advice on this:

Whatever the surface, there should be 3 items on it:

  • something vertical;

  • something horizontal;

  • something connecting, which will unite the previous two things;

Also, the author specifies that just three random objects will not be able to provide a beautiful decor, it is necessary that they differ in color, shape and size, but complement each other. This way you can avoid monotony and create an interesting bright accent.

Color palette

As mentioned above, the "rule of three" is quite universal, so it also comes in handy in the selection of a color palette. There is the following ratio:

  • 60% — the main color, which is a kind of background for all the compositions in the room. This shade must match the flooring, walls, solid furniture and sometimes a carpet.

  • 30% is an additional color to which the accent wall, textiles, furniture upholstery, etc. correspond.

  • 10% is the accent color. A bright color to highlight small elements of decor, paintings to add dynamics and originality to the space.


Have you ever seen pictures of rooms, which are almost entirely decorated in white, but nevertheless do not look monotonous and boring? Do you know what makes interiors like this look interesting? Thanks to the textures! Looking closely, it becomes clear that the design is not monotonous, it is varied and interesting. And yes, here, too, you can apply the "rule of three": use in the interior three different textures of the material and you will be pleasantly surprised how much the room will change.


Yes, the "rule of three" hasn't ignored lighting. Only the secret is not to use three lamps, but that the room should have at least three different types of lighting. Because many people think that one central light will be enough. But that is absolutely not the case.

Most rooms need to have these three types of lighting:

  • main — a source of diffused light, thanks to which the room is evenly filled with luminescence;

  • directional — light that concentrates on one particular place. For example, a built-in lamp near the mirror in the bathroom, or a pendant lamp over the dining table;

  • accent — lighting, which is designed to focus attention on certain elements of the interior.

Also an interesting solution would be a multilevel lighting, so that the residents do not even think about the lack of light and could rest or work quietly in the room.


The combination of fabrics — not such a simple matter, as it seems at first glance. If you choose the same fabric for curtains, pillows and plaids, the room will become boring. "The rule of three" can be used as follows: choose three different fabrics but with different patterns and prints.

And now that so much has been said about the effectiveness of the "rule of three", let's talk about the fact that it should not be used in all home decoration. After all, sometimes the symmetry of an even number of items looks much better in the interior. Therefore, despite the validity of all these rules, the main thing is not to forget that the interior, first and foremost, should be harmonious and aesthetic.


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