Creating a beautifully designed and visually appealing interior space requires thoughtfulness and intention when selecting furnishings, accessories, colors, and textures. One helpful guideline interior designers often reference is the famous 60-30-10 rule. This simple formula provides a framework for pulling together a cohesive, polished look.
What Is the 60-30-10 Rule?
The 60-30-10 rule states that 60% of your space should be one dominant color or pattern, 30% should be a secondary color or pattern, and 10% should be accents. Following this formula allows you to create visual interest while maintaining a sense of order and preventing the space from feeling too busy or mismatching.
Putting the 60-30-20 Rule into Practice
1. Dominant Color (60%)
The dominant color serves as the foundation of your design and forms the backdrop for the entire space. This color should ideally be a neutral hue that sets the tone and evokes the desired ambiance.
Start by choosing a dominant color that will be featured on 60% of surfaces and fabrics. Classic choices include soft grays, warm beiges, or calming blues. For instance, painting the walls in a light beige creates a soothing atmosphere that complements various design styles.
2. Secondary Color (30%)
The secondary color complements the dominant shade and helps add depth and interest to the room.
Select a secondary color or pattern for 30% of the space. This should be a coordinating shade that complements the main color. Consider lighter and darker versions of the dominant color or analogous shades on the color wheel.
Florals, stripes, and geometric prints make excellent secondary accents. Use the secondary color/pattern on items like throw pillows, area rugs, and window treatments.
3. Accent Color (10%)
The final 10% of the scheme is reserved for the eye-catching details that make the space special.
The accent color is where you get to showcase your creativity and inject a pop of excitement into the room. Vibrant accent colors like yellow, red, or violet are ideal for accessories, art, flowers, and other pops of visual interest.
Pro Tips for Mastering the Rule
Apply the Rule to Open Floor Plans
The 60-30-10 formula applies beautifully to open floor plans. Paint the walls your dominant hue and repeat it on any built-in cabinetry, bookshelves, and kitchen islands. Use the secondary color in the living room accent chairs and kitchen stools. Add pops of the accent color with bright throw blankets, pillows and kitchen appliances.
When furnishing the room, arrange the largest elements like sofas, beds, and cabinetry in your dominant color. Use the secondary color/pattern on mid-sized items such as side chairs, ottomans and decorative objects. Add in the vibrant accents with the smallest accessories and details.
Incorporate Textures and Patterns
Incorporating different textures and patterns in your 60-30-10 color scheme can add depth and character to the room. Consider mixing materials like wood, metal, or textiles to create visual interest and a tactile experience.
Balance With Neutrals
While the 60-30-10 rule focuses on color, don't forget about the power of neutrals. White, beige, or gray can serve as transitional elements, helping to tie the three chosen colors together seamlessly.
Examples of 60-30-10 Perfection
Tranquil Living Room
Walls in a soft sage green (60%) create a calming ambiance. A luxurious cream-colored sectional (30%) provides comfort and sophistication, while bold coral accent pillows (10%) infuse energy into the space.
Crisp white cabinetry and subway tiles (60%) form the foundation, while a stylish navy blue island (30%) serves as a striking focal point. Golden pendant lights and accessories (10%) add a touch of glamor and luxury.
By following the 60-30-10 rule, you can achieve interior perfection with ease and confidence. This timeless guideline simplifies the color selection process, allowing you to create cohesive and visually pleasing spaces that reflect your personal style.
Embrace the rule, experiment with colors, and enjoy the journey of transforming your home into a haven of design excellence.