Look in nearly any magazine or peruse the aisles of home decor stores and you are likely to notice an underlying theme: numbers. Pairings and groupings are key design and styling techniques dominating the visual merchandising presentation of home decor. These same techniques can also be used to help enhance nearly any home.

The theory of numbers
Pairing more than one item or identical items in a group essentially provides the eye with visual reinforcement. The most successful techniques often involve the grouping of identical or similar items. This technique can be used in various applications including the use of artwork, small furniture pieces, florals and accessories.

The use of pairings or two identical or similar items together is one of the few instances in which it doesn’t overwhelm if used multiple times within the same space. The pairing of similar art pieces or two identical lamps on top of two identical end tables may create a cohesive and aesthetically pleasing furniture arrangement without being too overpowering. The result is an environment that doesn’t feel cluttered by too many singular pieces and feels more soothing by the pairing of items.

Odd number groupings
Often there is a theory that groupings should be executed in odd numbers, typically three or five. This visual merchandising technique relating to groupings is often especially successful in larger spaces. A series of three art pieces can make a powerful statement along a long empty wall. Similarly, a series of simple florals can create an elegant look. When experimenting with groupings, one tip is to either use items of a similar size and scale, or try items of varying heights to create interest.

By Cathy Hobbs, Tribune News Service (TNS). Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert with offices in New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C. Contact her at [email protected] or visit her website at cathyhobbs.com.