Visual Triangles: A Quick and Easy Home Decorating Tip for a Balanced Room to Relax You.

Updated: Feb 23, 2020

Are Grandma's candlesticks cluttering your shelf, or do they enhance the vase you bought on your anniversary trip?

Use Peaks and Valleys, also known as Visual Triangles, to give your home a sense of harmony and movement.


Peaks will add strength and a sense of purpose to your room.

Valleys provide pause or rest, and an opportunity to breathe.


Before explaining the simple concept of “Peaks and Valleys,”, I want to point out this method is different from an interior design term called the “Mountain Range,” which is a long, zig-zagging, or jagged arrangement of objects.


Creating a Mountain Range can make your room seem haphazard, cluttered, and off-balanced, like below.


MOUNTAIN RANGE = Notice how your eye movement is quick and scattered as it roams up and down, not having a resting spot to stop.

What is a Visual Triangle?

A Visual Triangle is simply the art of arranging you décor to create a triangle. This concept creates a proportionate and eye-pleasing grouping. The technique can be used in any part of your home, from styling mantels or shelves, to your credenza, coffee table, or dining room table centerpiece.


There are two types of Visual Triangles.

1. Symmetrical:

- Start with your tallest accessory (the peak), and then add lower items (the valley).

- To keep the triangle symmetrical place the tallest item in the center, adding an equal number of items on each side.


A Visual Triangle is formed by placing the tallest item in the middle.

- It is important to stagger the height of these items by avoiding similar-sized objects. When gathered items are the same size they appear boxy, lifeless, and lack visual interest.


To avoid mundane and redundancy, it is important to vary the height of accessories

Tip: If your items are similar in size you'll find a simple solution is to elevate them.

- Try placing one of the items on a stack of books, tiered boxes, or layered breadboards, like in photo below.


Book are an easy way to add height

- Remember a candlestick can hold more than a candle. See photo below!


Wider pillar candlesticks will support small ceramic birds, statues, even paperweights.

- Consider turning a vase or bowl upside down to act as a pedestal.


For small art and picture frames use easels to raise them up a notch

For interesting Visual Triangles in your home:

- You’ll want to nestle the items together to increase the visual weight of the arrangement.

- Also create layers by overlapping shapes, placing bigger objects toward the back and smaller ones in front. Doing this adds interest to your triangle.


Collections: An Exception to Visual Triangles.


Line up a collection, tallest in the middle.

- Collections are striking by themselves, you don’t have to get fancy with groupings or displays. Simply line them up!


- Above is an example of a credenza or mantel of how multiple visual triangles enhance your FOCAL POINT. Let your art be center-stage and anchor your grouping to form the visual triangle. Then, layer your other decorative accessories, remembering to stagger, yet nestle them to create multiple visual triangles.


2. Asymmetrical

If you want a bit more interest in your Visual Triangle place the tallest item off to one side instead in dead center. By adding a bit of asymmetry to your triangle, the eye will naturally linger there longer.


Asymmetrical Visual Triangle

An article about asymmetry by Fresh Home states: “There’s actually a psychological basis for ... the way our brains process information... In asymmetrical spaces, the patterns are less immediately obvious than symmetrical, so it takes our brains a bit longer to process them and ultimately makes them more interesting.” Click this link for the entire article: Why Asymmetry Is an Important Part of Interior Design


That's it!

You've just MASTERED Visual Triangles!

So go cluster a few items and de-clutter your home with confidence.


For more accessory placement tips, click here:

7 Tips for Artistic Bookshelves