Color Confidence: How to Use the 60-30-10 Rule

If you are nervous or unsure about adding color into your home, the 60-30-10 is a decorating rule that can help you put a color scheme together when planning your next room makeover.  It can be tough to determine if your decor is too busy or too boring. The 60% + 30% + 10% proportion is meant to give balance to the colors used in any space. This concept is incredibly simple to use. This rule states:

  • 60 percent of the room is a dominant color.
  • 30 percent of the room is a secondary color.
  • 10 percent of the room is an accent color.

What is the 60/30/10 ratio?

This mathematical ratio was discovered by 20th-century mathematicians, artists, and architects and is believed to be a universally aesthetically appealing proportion to the human eye.

The idea is that the secondary color supports the main color, but is different enough to set them apart and give the room interest. {image: Sarah Marshall}


Here’s How to Use the 60-30-10 Rule

60% is the main color for your room

60% of a room’s color is achieved through a dominant wall color. In a living room would be most of your walls, large accent pieces like area rugs, and perhaps a sofa. The idea is that the 60% color anchors the space and also serves as a backdrop for what comes next.

60% is the main color for your room.

30% is the secondary color

You’ll be using half as much of this color as your main color.  This 30% of color will come from draperies, accent chairs, textiles, lighting, etc. The idea is that the secondary color supports the main color, but is different enough to set them apart and give the room interest. The key is to vary the tones of this accent color to keep the room interesting.

30% is the secondary color.

10% is your accent color

This 10% can come from a variety of color families, patterns, and textures. Your accent color can be pulled from artwork in the room, or from a printed fabric on larger items. It can include throw pillows, bedding, lamps and lampshades, artwork, small area rugs, small pieces of furniture, such as an ottoman or bench, candles and other collectibles or touches of color in the window treatments. You want peoples’ eyes to move fluidly throughout the space, moving from object to object that has your bold 10% color.

With this 10%, you want to make sure you are placing items evenly throughout the room, but not overloading to move past the 10%.

Using Neutrals

When using neutral colors, your main, secondary, and accent colors, can be varying shades of the same color, rather than three separate colors. A neutral gray can be soothing as your 60% main color, a deep shade of the same gray is stunning as your 30% secondary color, and a pale shade of your gray lightens up the scheme as your 10% accent color.

All you need are a few designer tips to get your home looking beautiful and curated. If you follow this simple rule, you can create a room that is well balanced, aesthetically pleasing and a place where people feel comfortable and relaxed.

This article has 1 comment

  1. michelle lynn

    loving the coastal look of the bedroom with white/light blue/orange. where did you find the bedding and artwork?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *