The Rule of Three’s in Interior Design | JPID Studio

The rule of three’s has been long used by Interior Designers as a way to aesthetically create a space with clean balance and structure. It actually has a lot to do with how our brains work. Three is the distinct number that can be used to form a pattern in our mind. Also, when you see an odd number of settings versus an even set, your eye is forced to move around, which instinctively makes you take in more of the space.

This can be a highly effective tool when designing and styling a space, as it can transform a room that looks a bit off balance to feeling completely put together. It is also important to note that the rule doesn’t only apply to three, it can be utilized for further odd numbers (5, 7, 9, etc), depending on the size and space of the area you are designing.

The rule – or guideline, as we like to call it (because who really likes rules!?) – is easy to implement in a variety of ways.


In using this rule for accessorizing, the objects can be similar in color, but different shapes or sizes, and even textures as well. You can group three different objects together to create interesting vignettes, or group stacks of books in threes or two large books and one small accessory – to add a bit more dimension. This rule is a great way to accessorize bookshelves to spatially cover larger areas – as seen below.


Styling an ottoman or coffee table is a great way to experiment and play with the rule of threes. Because this space is typically smaller, you can create a lot of variance with three different sized objects, colors or textures, like with the coffee table image below, showing a crystal, art piece and light fixture to create a beautifully designed nightstand. 



A great place to see the rule of threes is in the living room. A sofa will usually have two side chairs to balance the space, or three throw pillows, or a hanging art piece or mirror above the sofa to balance the various sizes happening all at once.


The rule of three’s can also be used with various colors and textures to add dimension and depth to any room. Here you can see the circular pendant light in contrast with the black textured wallpaper and the wooden Asian stool beside it – this creates a gorgeous juxtaposition that is still harmonious and balanced.

There are many areas of design in which to try out the rule of threes –  lighting, art walls, pillows … the list goes on! Keep in mind, the rule of three’s is not a hardcore rule of design, it is meant to be a guideline from which to start from. The most important thing to remember is to enjoy the process, designing should be fun and creative, so experiment with what works best for you!