Home decor can be an art that can make us feel confused, stuck or frustrated! But, there is a very simple and easy way to come up with a balanced color palette for your space. It’s the 60-30-10 Rule!
What is the 60-30-10 Rule?
It’s a classic decor rule that helps create a color palette for a space. It states that 60% of the room should be a dominant color, 30% should be the secondary color or texture and the last 10% should be an accent.
How to Use the 60-30-10 Rule?
The 60% is the overall color of the room, the background color if you will. When you look at the space you’ll say, it’s the “gray” room, or whatever color you choose.
The next number in this rule is your 30%. It will become the secondary color in your space and will support the main color, but be different enough to give the room interest. Think of it this way, you’ll be using half as much of this color as you did for your main color.
The fun percentage is your 10%; your accent color. It can be more bold or more subtle depending on what look you want. The 10% can be what gives the room character or keeps it that much more neutral, it’s really up to you.
If you haven’t yet read my post on the 5 Secret Elements to Interior Design; a complete guide on how to get the space you love using the things you love, then you should go do this now. Once you’ve read this, you’ll understand how to create balance while mixing styles/tones/textures. As you know, I recommend a neutral color palate that allows you to create a practical and curated space using pieces you love, but you can chose any colors you like using the 60-30-10 rule.
Specific Items/Examples for the 60-30-10 Rule:
- Accent Pieces
- Large “Foundation” Pieces
- Painted Furniture
- Side Chairs
- Smaller “Foundation” Pieces
- Throw Pillows/Pattterned Fabrics
- Decorative Accessories
*A big thanks to The Spruce for providing some great examples for this 60-30-10 Rule.
How to Choose Your 3 Colors
To choose the three colors for your space, a color scheme based on the color wheel is the simplest method. I would recommend any one of these 4 options:
Choose only ONE color and use lighter and darker variations of that color in your space. This works best with a neutral color such as gray, cream, white, or greige.
Select TWO colors opposite from each other on the color wheel. One will always end up being a “warm” color and the other will be a “cool” color giving you a nice balance.
Select THREE colors adjacent (next) to each other on the color wheel, having the middle color being the more dominant color. An example of this would be blue-green, green, and green-yellow; do you see how green is showing up in all three? Ahh, yes!
Similar to Complimentary (listed above) but you add in a third color. So you select a main color, find it’s complimentary color across from it on the color wheel, and add in one of the colors adjacent (next) to the complimentary color. An example might be, Blue as your dominant color, then orange as your complimentary color and red as the third color.
*For more information on the color wheel, head over the The Spruce to learn more.
Can I Break the 60-30-10 Rule?
Yes, if you’re feeling confident and rebellious, BUT know that you’re going to complicate things a little bit. You have three options with this:
- Score 110%
- Add a fourth color to the mix by doing something like 60-30-10-10. This will be done by adding a second accent color in your accessories such as throw pillows, vases on shelves, picture frames, etc.
- Go Completely Monochromatic
- Select ONE color and go wild and crazy from there by including several darker and lighter shades of that same color throughout your space. This can be done with wood tones as well. You may end up with an entirely gray room, but it will have dimension because of the variation of tones you use.
- Create Your Own Formula
- I always talk about Interior Styling and Home Decor being about how the space makes you feel. If you are feeling like you have an idea for colors, go with it! It may end up being something like 40-30-20-10 or 40-25-15-10-10 or even 75-15-10. Whatever the case, just make sure you hone in on your percentages, otherwise it may look wild and crazy!
Okay, that’s it! I know it may be confusing, but re-read this a few times, jot down some ideas and you’ll be on your way in no time! It is a very linear way to think about design, which sometimes can be so abstract. Just really stay on track and try to follow your percentages and you can’t go wrong!
Finally figure it out? Or need help? Please share your progress or questions with me by contacting me on my website or on Instagram. Can’t wait to hear from you!