The rule of three in interior design

Interior design Bristol. The rule of three. Modern interiors.

The rule of three in interior design

The rule of three - vases and plant in composition of three

Mystified by the ‘Rule of three’ in interior design? Want to understand better composition? Want to create great groupings? Here’s a simple guide to easy tips for creating interior design displays.

The history of three

Throughout history, the number 3 has always had significance. The ancient Greeks believed that the meaning behind numbers was deeply important, the number 3 being seen as the perfect number, representing harmony.

Fast forward thousands of years and New York hip-hop group De La Soul sang about it in 1989, with their version of ‘The Magic Number’.

Humans think in patterns and three is the lowest number needed to form a pattern. When you see an odd number of things, your eye moves around more, creating a more interesting visual experience. In fact, all odd numbers are more visually appealing, so compositions of 3, 5, 7 etc. work well too. Items grouped in even numbers can look a bit staged, but there is definitely a place for symmetry in your home, so don’t throw it out completely, use different techniques in harmony.

It’s a theory that works in many creative disciplines; three bullet points in text or a speech, or, thirds used to divide compositions in photography and graphic design. And it works brilliantly in your home adding depth and interest.

The rule of three - three items, three is the magic number
Home interior design ideas – remember to craft your displays!


The first rule of three in modern home interior design is… there aren’t any rules. Ok, maybe just two; stick to odd numbers of course, and try not to make up groups of identical items (apart from perhaps pendant lights).

It’s best to experiment with size, shape, proportions and colour. So, you could group objects that are completely different together, such as three items of furniture. Or items that have a similar shape or design, but are different colours or sizes, such as decorative items or pictures. Or items that are all in the same colour theme, but different shapes and sizes. The idea is that the items complement each other, maintaining balance.

The rule of three in interior design
The grouping of three cushions and textiles gives a luxury design feel to your bedroom interior.

Try it

The rule of three in interior design works with decorative objects, furniture, textures, lighting, colour, artwork on a wall and many more situations. It turns items into a feature that wouldn’t be the same individually. Give it a go.




Need help?

If you need help with your next home interior design project, get in touch.