fbpx

Inspirations & Experiences

SJ DESIGN CONSULTANTS - NEW DELHI - Rule of Thirds in Interior Design
Architecture, Home style, Interior, Modern / June 5, 2024
Rule of Thirds in Interior Design

Following certain guidelines and design principles is a good way to curate the perfect home. The Rule of Thirds is one such device in interior design that helps create perfectly balanced and visually pleasing interiors. 

If you carefully observe, you will notice the Rule of Thirds everywhere- in architecture, photography, graphic design, fine art, sculptures, and decor. It is a compositional concept used to generate visual interest and glamour.

Let us explore this ideology of Rule of Third!

SJ DESIGN CONSULTANTS - NEW DELHI - Rule of Thirds in Interior Design

What is the Rule of Thirds?

The Rule of Thirds is a guideline that governs the placement of an object or element in the centre, left or right of a reference object or space or just a grid. It involves dividing a frame, view or even a room, into a three-by-three grid, just like the grid created on our phones when we click pictures. The grid created divides the space into three planes- centre, left and right- and provides a direction to spatial composition. 

As a general thumb rule, the intersecting points of the grid act as focal points for views and positioning elements of interest at these points can create a perfectly balanced outcome. For example, in a kitchen, the countertop often runs along the bottom horizontal grid line. Placing tall vertical elements at the intersections of the grid gives an illusion of a larger kitchen and makes it look balanced. The base of the upper cabinets are usually aligned with the upper horizontal line, adding to the balance of the kitchen. 

SJ DESIGN CONSULTANTS - NEW DELHI - Rule of Thirds in Interior Design

The Larger Concept of Scale and Proportion

The Rule of Thirds often hints to the larger concept of scale and proportion. Maintaining the proportion of elements in an interior setup helps to organise the interiors better. Scale directly points to the size of the object and whether it fits within the grid we created earlier. Too large, and it looks disproportionate, too small, it becomes invisible. 

The general practice followed is to place the larger objects like furniture in the centre of the frame with the smaller complementary elements on either side of the grid. This way each element gets attention without being overshadowed by another item. For example, in a bedroom, the bed usually occupies the centre of the wall or frame. The bed can be accompanied by one or two side tables, a wardrobe on one side and a window on the other side balancing each other. 

SJ DESIGN CONSULTANTS - NEW DELHI - Rule of Thirds in Interior Design

Having an eye for scale and proportion allows designers to seamlessly add accessories and finishing touches to a space. This allows the interiors to have a natural flow between all the elements and establishes a rhythm. It also allows for functionality, comfort and aesthetics to create a cohesive space.     

The Psychology Behind ‘3’

People generally move their eyes over a visual composition a certain way and their focus is usually divided between four points which happen to be the points of intersection in the three-by-three grid prescribed by the rule of thirds. We tend to look for certain patterns that look good and give a feeling of satisfaction when interacting with them. 

SJ DESIGN CONSULTANTS - NEW DELHI - Rule of Thirds in Interior Design

The human eye prefers odd numbers- groups of three to be specific. One seems too little, while five feels overwhelming, and more than five seems unimaginable. Groups of three in terms of furniture, or accessories, or interior design elements, add the right amount of visual depth required that makes a space look lively and interesting. Balancing is also a lot easier when it is to be done with three objects- we can employ repetition or experiment with emphasis.

Our brains like to quickly piece things together- with groups of three, it is easy to point the centre and the other two, creating a harmonious composition. Interiors designed employing the rule of thirds are generally more appealing and memorable because of this reason. 

SJ DESIGN CONSULTANTS - NEW DELHI - Rule of Thirds in Interior Design

Another way to look at this is when we see an odd number of things, our eyes tend to move around more, looking for the next element to make the number even, leading to a more interesting visual experience. With one, there is no balance, symmetry or visual interest, but three being the smallest number to form a distinguishable pattern, we can create a composition, engaging our eye with movement and pattern. 

How to use the Rule of Thirds in Your Home

The Rule of Thirds is a design principle which affects every space alike, dictating the layout, size and shape of objects, and even the colour, pattern and fabric designs in some instances.

Colour

The rule of thirds can be achieved using colour in a strategic manner- the main base shade occupies 60%, the secondary colour accounts for 30% and the accent colour utilises 10% of the space. Two tones generally makes a room feel flat, devoid of energy. A third accent colour adds a certain vibrancy to the space, making it feel more complete. 

Go bold and choose vibrant shades, but make sure to stick to the 60-30-10 proportion to make the space look cohesive. Alternatively, opt for three soft colours, preferably various shades of the same neutral colour. In any case, make sure to choose a soothing and pleasant main colour, a prominent yet subtle secondary colour and a stark accent colour for a well designed and glamorous space. 

SJ DESIGN CONSULTANTS - NEW DELHI - Rule of Thirds in Interior Design

Size and Shape of Objects

The rule of thirds also extends to the size and shape of the objects used in the interiors. This includes the height and width of the various elements used. Imagine a space with three vases of the same size vs all varying sizes. The same size vase scenario creates a pattern and thus harmony in the interior setting. On the other hand, the asymmetry of the different size vases creates a sense of emphasis directing the eye to focus on the largest or smallest vase depending on their arrangement. 

SJ DESIGN CONSULTANTS - NEW DELHI - Rule of Thirds in Interior Design

Textures and Fabrics

When designing interiors it is best to choose three complementing textures like wood, rattan and linen, or three complementing fabrics in terms of colour and pattern. Envision a living room with shades of dusty pink, beige and tan- a dusty pink leather sofa against a matte beige wall, with a tan jute carpet. 

SJ DESIGN CONSULTANTS - NEW DELHI - Rule of Thirds in Interior Design

The same goes for fabrics. Combining different fabrics with similar colours, textures and patterns is the best way to achieve a balanced aesthetic. Think of floral, damask and plaid.

SJ DESIGN CONSULTANTS - NEW DELHI - Rule of Thirds in Interior Design

Lighting following the Rule of Thirds

Here three does not refer to the number of lights in the room, but the number of different styles of lighting. The best way to layer your lighting is by opting for a generalised lighting scheme or ambient lighting, supplemented by task lighting for focussed activities and accent lighting to emphasise architectural features and decor elements.

Generally a room should have one overhead light, a few wall or table mounted lights and some accent lights like track lighting under cabinets or light radiating from behind a mirror or a false ceiling. A combination of these lights will create a balanced interior.

SJ DESIGN CONSULTANTS - NEW DELHI - Rule of Thirds in Interior Design

Furniture

Furniture pieces and layouts are the easiest when it comes to following the rule of thirds. Most interiors feature furniture arranged in sets of three, for example, a living room generally accommodates one large sofa and two chairs or recliners, and bedrooms generally feature a bed with two side tables. This kind of an arrangement makes a space more functional and maintains visual interest within the room. 

SJ DESIGN CONSULTANTS - NEW DELHI - Rule of Thirds in Interior Design

Generally interior design follows the rule of thirds quite religiously, but sometimes the rule can be bent. You can arrange five or nine items into a grouping system and still maintain visual interest. So there is no need to fret about the rule, just take the guidance of an interior designer and they will curate the best interiors to your taste and preference!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the significance of ‘three’?

  • Our eye automatically looks for odd numbers- groups of three to be specific. One seems too little, while five feels overwhelming, and more than five seems unimaginable. 
  • Groups of three interior design elements, add just the right amount of visual depth required that makes a space look lively and interesting. 
  • Balancing is key in such cases.

How do we maintain the Rule of Thirds in lighting?

  • In lighting, the rule of thirds does not mean three lights, it refers to the styles of lighting in a space.
  • The best way to follow the rule of thirds is by using layered lighting- ambient, task and accent.

What if I don’t have three of the same elements?

  • The Rule of Thirds does not dictate on all the elements being the same. Experiment with different elements and watch the magic happen!
  • For example, try a luxurious sofa with a sleek side table and a colourful ottoman.

Share on:

Related Posts
SJ DESIGN CONSULTANTS - NEW DELHI - Exploring Monochromatic Interiors: Abundance or Lack of Colour
July 17, 2024
Exploring Monochromatic Interiors: Abundance or Lack of Colour
SJ DESIGN CONSULTANTS - NEW DELHI - The Role of Artisanal Craftsmanship in Luxury Interior Design
July 8, 2024
The Role of Artisanal Craftsmanship in Luxury Interior Design
Leave A Comment

Need Help?