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#AskElle: Create Intrigue with the Rule of Three

If you have watched any designer shows or read interior decorating magazines, you have probably heard or read the decorating “golden rule” … the Rule of Three. But do you know why we follow this rule when decorating?

Our design foundation rule of three affects every space in your home. Placing and arranging in odd numbers appear more attractive. We see this rule everywhere, in photography, architecture, and of course interior decorating. Odd numbers create more of an energetic vibe or feel to your home. Who doesn’t want that?

But if the rule of three is good, can five and seven be even better? It is all about our brain … it puts an image together quickly and will find harmony and the center point best when in “3’s”. Furniture and accessories will look more natural and less forced if you follow this rule, than an even-numbered grouping. Why is this? Too much symmetry will make your home too rigid and unwelcoming, and the goal of decorating is to create a space that is welcoming, comfortable, and relaxing.

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As I discussed in my previous #AskElle blogs, mixing textures, fabrics and colours is a wonderful way to add personality to your home. Just remember, when combining fabrics for your furniture, curtains, bedding, pillows, rugs etc. choose three fabrics, textures, patterns, and colours that complement each other.

If your home is decorated in a neutral palette, the rule of three may still be incorporated. An all-white room does not have to be clinical. You can add different shades of white, cream, and beige to your walls, different textures of fabrics such as linens and wool to again, add intrigue, interest and a warm atmosphere to your home.

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When adding lighting fixtures and furniture in your space, keep the rule of three in mind.For lighting, a room usually will have one overhead lighting fixture, and then lamps on side tables, and then possibly accent picture lights, or under-cabinet or bookcase lighting. Your combined lighting sources will create a balanced room. For furniture, remember “flow”. Whether you have a large sofa and two club chairs, or love-seats and chairs – again, the rule of three will help you place your main furniture into cohesive groupings. Just remember your furniture should be similar in size when arranged together. It is all about balance and flow.

Now that I have drilled the rule of three as a decorating guide … it is just that … a guide. It is good to be a rebel at times. A wall of family photos of seven or nine can of course work and bring a visual interest.

Decorating should be fun!


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