I’ve heard it quoted as gospel over and over by designers and clients alike. To be attractive, things have to be grouped in threes. I’m here to say “bologna”.
To those who follow conventional wisdom and live by the rule of odd numbers, I want to remind them that people are built around the number 2. Two eyes, hands, ears, legs, etc. We are naturally disposed to find pairs pleasing. An obvious example is candlesticks or candelabras - usually sold in pairs, one for each end of the table.
WORKING IN PAIRS
BE AN INDIVIDUAL
This tabletop trio again uses connective colors and stairstepping size from the small doll up to the height of the plant. Although the doll doesn’t match by color or style, it has emotional value and fits size-wise, so for now it’s part of this group.
The lesson I want you to take away from this article is to decorate appropriately to the style of the room, the size of the shelf, the scale of the pieces in the grouping. Don’t be a slave to conventional wisdom….be an individual. If you enjoy 2 items paired together, don’t force adding one more thing just to have the magic number three. Stop when it looks good.
As in most things decorating, there is no one absolute answer. The best rooms will likely have a combination of pairs, trios and larger groupings. Enjoy the freedom of letting the decor develop gradually until you’re satisfied with the result. When you look at the following room pictures, find the pairs or even numbers: lamps, pillows, sconces, ottomans, accessory groupings. Do these rooms feel more formal to you due to the use of even pairings? If that’s a look that appeals to you, you now know one of the main ingredients to achieve it. Go on, try it!