All You Need To Know About 60 30 10 Color Rule

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Written By Stephane


Struggling to curate a balanced color scheme for your interior? Understandable! There exist more colors and shades than you’d know what to do with — and picking out just a handful that work together in coherence can be a challenge.

But what if we tell you there’s some underlying knowledge that can make the process a lot easier? There actually is — and we call it the 60-30-10 color rule. Keep reading to learn all about it!


What Is The 60-30-10 Color Rule?

The 60-30-10 rule is an interior design trick to get your color combinations to balance perfectly. It assigns percentages to the different colors you use, creating harmony and pulling the space together. It follows the classic interior design rule of three — this time around, we’re using three color families:

  • 60% of the primary color for your room. This anchors the space together and is seen on the largest space of the interior, the walls. You could also use it for other large pieces, such as the sofa or the area rug.

  • 30% is the secondary color of the space. This hue supports the main color while creating variation and depth. You can incorporate this color in the curtains, textiles (such as bedding), accent pieces of furniture, and perhaps even an accent wall!

  • The remaining 10% is the accent color. It is sprinkled into the space through comparatively smaller additions, such as soft furnishings (including cushions and throw pillows), artwork, lamps, and other decorative accessories.


How To Use The 60-30-10 Color Rule

The 60-30-10 rule is used by appropriately distributing the various colors across the room. Begin by assessing your space. What ambiance do you wish to create? A laid-back bedroom would pair well with a relaxed color palette of muted hues, whilst a more lively palette would liven up your dining room.

Next, choose the primary color. This will usually be a neutral shade or muted tone, so it can constitute 60% of the room without getting too overwhelming. Paint the walls with this hue — and use it for your sofa set or rug if you wish. You can also use it for the backsplash and cabinetry in the kitchen. 

Proceed by picking the secondary color. This should typically be bolder than the primary color and capable of providing contrast and creating visual interest. Generally, you’d aim to use this color half as much as the primary color. Add it through the bed linens, wood trim, and accent chairs. If it’s a hue you’d enjoy looking at in large portions, you may also consider creating an accent wall with it.

Finally, decide the accent shade. It provides the opportunity to go as bold as you wish; use the brightest shade of yellow, and you won’t find it overwhelming the ambiance. Use it in the cushions and artwork to add that much-needed burst of color.

Pro tip: You can also get inspiration from fabrics for your color choices. Fabric designers always put together the colors that work together coherently, so if you’re struggling to curate a color palette, you may consider pulling three colors you love from a piece of fabric. 


Fun Color Combinations Using The 60-30-10 Rule

With that being said, we’ve put together fun color combinations using the 60-30-10 rule. One of our top favorites is white as the primary color, mustard as the secondary color, and navy blue as the accent shade. 

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Set a neutral base by painting the walls white. Lay down a white rug — alternatively, choose a mustard one to begin incorporating the secondary color. Use mustard for a sofa and draperies. Complement these hues with navy blue accent chairs (and hints of the shade in the artwork).

In addition to the above, we’ve put together other famous color palettes of three. Skim through these, and you may find your next favorite color scheme!

Primary Color

Secondary Color

Accent Color

Lime

Apple green

White

Light blue

White

Teal

Beige

Chartreuse

Black

Gray

White

Pink


Using The 60-30-10 Color Rule With A Single Color

You heard that right; you can use the 60-30-10 color rule with a single color, too! Think different shades of the same color, lighter and darker variations. For example, light grey, dark grey, and black. Essentially, you will choose one dark shade of a color and dilute it with white to create lighter hues. So, you have one color but different variations.

Beyond the grey-black-white palette, you can use this concept for almost every color. Consider light pink, blush pink, and hot pink. So, even if you choose a single color for your interior, don’t forget the 60-30-10 color rule!


FAQs

How many colors should I use in a room (including the living room)?

Evidently, the 60-30-10 color rule recommends using three colors — or three different shades of the same color — for your interior. But remember, there’s always room to play around with the number and selection of colors; more on that below.

How many colors are too many in a room?

There’s no official limit to the number of colors to use in a room, but it is generally advised to use no more than 5 different colors. This helps create coherence in the space and prevents the ambiance from going overboard.

Can I play around with the 60-30-10 rule?

Of course, you can! In fact, we’d suggest considering it a guideline to have fun picking colors for your room instead of treating it as a precise formula you have to be accurate with. It’s just a blueprint to help you add cohesion and depth to a space using colors. Remember, the aim isn’t for things to be too matchy or uniform.

Can I break the 60-30-10 color rule?

Well, rules are meant to be broken! For example, you can do 60% of the primary color, 20% of the secondary color, 10% of one accent color, and a further 10% of another accent color. Sometimes, one accent shade just seems less — and a pair of two does the job. Feel free to play around with the palette to suit your needs.

If you love doing things your own way and have a good decorating eye in terms of color, feel free to form your own formula! This may be 40-20-10-10 or 75-15-10; anything that appeals to you.

What is the 80/20 rule in decorating?

The 80/20 rule states that 80% of your room should be unified by the same style and/or neutral colors, while the remaining 20% can be used to incorporate a pop of color.


Let’s Ace That Color Palette!

The 60-30-10 rule is all about creating a color palette that sits well in your interior and coherently blends in with the decor. Be sure to consider the practicalities while decorating your space; remember, a yellow lampshade is easier to change when you want to change the bold color, but switching up the kitchen backsplash isn’t as easy.

Ready to ace that color palette? We wish you good luck playing around with your favorite hues!

















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