You have likely heard of the rule of thirds previously. It is common in photography and art, and can also be applied to interior decorating.

So what is that this strange rule of thirds, and what are the ways we can use it when decorating our home interiors? Let me explain.

Most interior designers will say the rule of thirds was enforced to combat this idea of excessive amount of symmetry, which is known to make a room look stale and clinical (though, everyone knows symmetry performs an enormous position in design, too). 

Essentially, there’s a stability to be discovered between symmetry and asymmetry. It could be you are going for a royal interior look, or a minimalist white style; either way, this rule can work.

Three colors looks best

There is a common theory in interior design that states when selecting room colours—60, 30, 10. 60% could be used as the primary room colour, 30% being the secondary colour, and 10% being the tertiary, or what they often say accent shade. 

This colours ratio can be used anywhere within the home. Let’s say the main bedroom; 60% of the walls could be painted a slightly off white, 30% could also be a daring bright yellow accent wall, and 10% could possibly be the olive coloured bed sheets and doona.

If such bright and daring colour mixtures are not your thing, perhaps try a simpler three shades of the same identical colour for an extra calming room design? 

Guess how many light types works well?


Yes, you can even apply the rule of thirds in terms of lighting. However, I’m not saying that every room must have three identical light fittings in it; it could mean that a room would look great with three different types of lighting.

Usually, a room ought to have one overhead light with a large fitting, a few lamps on aspect tables, after which accent lights resembling image lights, or monitor lighting, or underneath-cupboard lighting.

For example, your room could have one giant window for natural light, a large overhead light fitting for the main illumination, and then an ornate desk lamp for pin point lighting. 

It could mean three drop lights that match, or two drop lights and a lamp. Take your time to try a variety of lighting in the room.

You can apply the rule of thirds to minimalism too

Minimalist design encourages you to keep away from numerous trinkets and knick knacks, however it can still be used so as to add visible depth and curiosity to even probably the most minimalist of interiors. 

A modern interior design can embrace the rule of thirds by arranging furniture into odd numbered groups, or by simply putting three quality homewares objects on a side table, and the like.

There, you see? Odd numbers rule, even in minimalism design.

Consider using three fabrics

Just like three different wall colours, the same can apply to fabrics within the room. Whilst it may be tempting to only decide one material that you simply love and apply it to your curtains, pillows and so on; think this through, wouldn’t that end up looking really boring? 

When designing any room in your house, it’s best to decide on thirds materials that play up each other’s colours, patterns and textures. It could be two different types of cushion, and a throw rug on a single chair.

Just try mixing it up with texture, patterns and colour. 

You could go crazy with floral, plain and maybe stripes as a playful mix completely collectively and play up every others inexperienced and pink accents. When unsure ask a designer for help; they will supply quite a few material mixtures for any given room in your house.

Design room layouts using thirds

Arranging furnishings inside a room can be a huge pain. There’s seems to be way too many rules and guidelines in relation to furnishings placement. While you might be tempted to disregard a few of these guidelines, I suggest trying a few and seeing what works best in your specific situation, to ensure you end up with a room that has a good balance of features and necessities. 

Try the main living area; group your seating in one third of the room, an accent rug or small coffee table in the next third, and TV or bookshelves in the final third.

Perhaps, also find other room layout examples and take inspiration from them as well.

Rules are meant to be broken

Now that we’ve pushed the rule of thirds repeatedly at you, I am going to say you can also just totally disregard it too!

I don’t ever recommend running around your property, making everything fit within the rule of thirds in all places. Symmetry isn’t that dangerous, neither is breaking the principles. 

The rule of thirds is a suggestion that may be ignored, embraced or a combination, room by room. Essentially, the rule of thirds was originally put into place so people tried something other than boring uniformity in every room.. 

So don’t be scared to combine the rule of thirds with other interior design rules, and make a home that is comfortable for you and overall, enjoyable to be in.


I trust now that the rule of thirds just isn’t so mysterious anymore. It is an enjoyable approach so as to add depth and visible curiosity to your property. Spending time to improve your interiors is the same as dressing well when leaving the house; it’s all about improving the overall appearance. 

Play with this rule and don’t get too caught up with making sure every room embraces it. 

About the writer

James Styles is a lover of minimalist interior design, very clean artworks, and quality kitchen appliances. When not drooling over interior magazines, he can be found walking or trying out his latest vegetarian recipe.