The Rule of Threes

Whats the Secret?

Look at any design magazine or a picture of a well styled space on Pinterest. What do you see? Pretty spaces that are artfully arranged. How do they do that? How can you achieve that same effortless style in your space?  Is there some secret recipe to creating a well curated bookshelf or coffee table? Yes, there on and I will share the secret sauce in the styling recipe!

Threes Rule

Take another look at those stylish Pinterest vignettes. What do they all have in common? Usually, they have at least three objects of varying shapes and heights arranged in a collection. Why three? Three is kind of the enchanted number…not just in interior design, but things we all grew up with… in stories like the three little pigs, in songs, like three blind mice. Three is the smallest number our brains can use to create a distinct pattern. With groupings of threes you can always find the center point and balance…after that, our lazy little brains have to work harder and will try to resist.

It's Good to be Odd

Although three may be magical, odd numbers in general work well too. When looking at items arranged in odd numbers, your eye is forced to move around more and this movement, creates a more stimulating visual experience. Groupings of odd numbered objects also seem less forced and a little more casual as opposed to symmetrical arrangements which can be more formal.

Add Your Own Ingredients

Find 3-5 objects of varying shapes, sizes and heights and arrange them. Again, it’s important that the shapes and heights vary, to make for a more interesting visual experience. I like to add a plant in the mix when styling a coffee table. It adds texture and life to the grouping. Books are also great to add a little height. A stack of books with an object on top usually reads as a single object. It's also nice to give the objects a defined place to live, and that's where a tray comes in handy. So grab a plant, a few books, a fun little tchotchke and maybe a candle, and you’re good to go.


Before you run around your home arranging everything in threes…remember that rules are also meant to be broken. You’ll find that symmetry will work well in some spaces or that a single item (which I guess technically is still an odd number) makes just the statement you want.

Need some help? Drop me a line! 

Live Colorfully,