Is There a Decorating Rule of 3?

Q: I keep buying more and more ‘stuff’ to decorate my house (plants, knick knacks, vases, and more). They all look so great in the store, but I can’t seem to get the same look at home. Is there a rule of 3? Or, some other rule that can help me with all these accessories?

A: Three is a great number! It represents family, the trinity and things that belong together. For smaller arrangements, including flowers, three or any odd number is used to get a well-balanced arrangement on all sides. I’m only guessing what you have in your ‘stash’, but there is a routine we follow when ‘staging’ someone’s home:

Home Decor

Start by clearing a table and place all your items out at once. Match up ‘like items’ such as vases, colours or themes. Pick three vases that are approximately the same colour, but of different heights, and place them in a room that has similar colours. Then, organize another grouping of three; substituting one vase with any knick knack that fits into the colour, size, or theme you are working with.

Size and weight are important; heavy objects (or heavy, dark colours) can weigh the display to one side. Counter this with a 4th or 5th item on the weaker side.

It is not necessary to fill all these ’empty vessels’. Sometimes, they can look great by themselves and at other times, you may want to include a real or fake plant in one, or stones and coloured glass in another. One thing I love to do is find a complementary (or contrasting) colour in the form of a place mat, napkin or scarf to place under the display. This seems to anchor the whole group.

Your decorating needs can change from month to month and season to season, so keep your displays fresh and dust free! Have fun experimenting!