Three—that seems to be the magic number in designing interior spaces. The rule of three does not apply only to interior design but also in math, writing, photography, computer programming, aviation, etc for different reasons.

In interior design, there’s a side note though: other odd numbers could also work, it’s just that three seems to be the favorite. The rule of three is a guide to create an impactful display that is meant to be a point of interest in a space. Even-numbered groupings just are not eye-catching enough, it seems.

Here are some ways you can use the rule of three in your own interiors.

Pendant Lamps


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A post shared by Winnie Bastian (@designdobom)

This bathroom reminds me of a box of Chanel perfume with its light pink color and black trim. The black pendant lamp fits the space to a T. It has three bulbs in the same round form which echo the bath fixtures and the mirrors.

Pendant lamps are very much in style, and getting more popular. Six years ago, I had a set of 3 installed over the dining table, as well as another set of 3 over the kitchen bar.  A friend once asked, “Why do you have so many lights?” Answer: Because 1-2-3 is magic.

Accessorize in Threes

Instead of decorating your sofa with throw pillows that are the same, be bold and choose three that have different shapes, colors, and designs. Do this when you’re feeling the need to experiment and color outside the box. When you do this, remember the following:

  1. Color combination is important, not only for the three throw pillows, but for the colors found in the room.  If you’re not sure about the color combinations, read this post about color schemes.
  2. Mix patterns. The rule is to have one that is a dominant pattern or a solid color, like the orange pillow in the photo, followed by one with a medium pattern (the brown one), and a subtle one that has the same color background as the sofa.
  3. Mix sizes, even shapes.
  4. Mix textures, like rough and smooth.

Say It With Three Pots

Here’s another way to decorate with plants. Group 3 different plants in various shapes and sizes in one corner. Have them at different heights rather than having them at the same level to create interest and make the grouping more visually appealing.

Read about these 5 paint color ideas for your greenery.

Space Divider


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A post shared by MAISON&OBJET (@maisonetobjet)

Make room dividers more interesting like this one shared by Maison&Objet. Don’t just say it with a wall, make 3 open arches instead and use color to tie up the rooms together. Need help with color combinations? Visit the Boysen Color Trends website and find the color combination of your dreams. Boysen has come out with annual trends since 2015. Every year, there are 4 color palettes that contain 6 colors, so you’ve got so many curated palettes to choose from. Check out Be Bold of 2018 to get a similar paint color palette as the photo above.


Get 3 interesting objects in similar curvy shapes like the vases above and group them together on a table or shelf. Add leaves in interesting shapes to complete the look. Let the foliage speak loudly by keeping everything else (vases, furniture, and wall paint) in neutral colors.

Photo Gallery

See that photo gallery? Not in threes, but as mentioned, choose an odd number when making groupings. There is one below using the rule of three. As you can see, both look gorgeous.

If you’ve got more pictures that you’d like to put up on your walls, there are many other ways, of course.

Mirror, Mirror, Mirror on the Wall


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You can be practical and hang two oval mirrors on the wall, one in front of each sink. But for greater impact, you can also have 3 mirrors in amorphous shapes (a.k.a. blobs? ). You’re making a statement in this minimal space.

Those are just some of the ways you can use the rule of three in your home. Most of us know this instinctively. Look around your home and see if you’ve used the rule of three in your home. Do share your photos to

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Annie is the Managing Editor of Let it B | MyBoysen Blog. An unrepentant workaholic, she runs this blog and her own company Talking Lions ( She thrives on collaborating with people who are good at what they do, and working together with them to create something special. Annie learned interior styling while managing her own wholesale business in the Netherlands, importing high-end, handmade home furnishings to stock four outlets and a showroom in the country.

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