When in doubt choose three.
Decorating isn’t a science, and it certainly isn’t something that should stress you out, but sometimes it’s helpful to have a few guidelines.
Using numbers as a guide is one of the simplest, but most effective ways to decorate. For some reason, odd numbers always create more interest than even (which in theory doesn’t make sense; we naturally assume that even numbers would be an easy way to make a balanced room). But, balance and symmetry are different than matching.
If you have a room that needs help, and you don’t know why, look at the numbers. Always start with three; visualize creating a triangle of repetition, the three points of the triangle should be scattered throughout the space. The idea is to keep the concept of three, vague, but present. The simple way to begin is by repeating three of something specific (eg. three lamps – in different shapes and styles). Another way is to be less literal, and use items that are different, but cohesive in some way. For example, a floor lamp, a hutch and some artwork, while all different, may carry the same visual weight.
In the photographs below are various ways that numbers have been used to decorate rooms.
In this first photograph,the purple theme is scattered around the room between the sofa, the chair and the lamp base.
A secondary color, pink, is also repeated. The rest of the room is fairly neutral, but care has still been taken to balance some small, darker elements around the room.
This next photograph shows an example of a room that, unfortunately, looks a little bland. It has a pair of purple sofas, with identical matching pillows.
It is just begging for help in that back, right hand corner. Yes, they have three tables, but they are almost identical, and have been placed at equal distances from each other (which exaggerates their sameness).
With just a little tweaking the room will look great.
This third picture has a single purple sofa as a focal point.
It is very deliberate; the room is composed as if it were a piece of art. The white and silver are the accessories.
It works because of it’s simple, but highly stylized planning (I am not sure if anyone really lives here, but it is beautiful to look at).
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