The 60-30-10 Rule: Master the Art of Decoration!

Adding color to your home can seem overwhelming, especially if you’re looking to try out a new color scheme or make a bold choice. But it doesn’t have to be that way. By following the 60-30-10 rule for decorating, you can confidently bring color into any space.

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What Is the 60-30-10 Rule?

The 60-30-10 rule is really simple. To achieve a balanced and well-designed look, you should have:

  • 60 percent of the room in one color (the dominant color),
  • 30 percent in a complementary color (the secondary color),
  • and 10 percent in an accent color.

If you take a look at the pictures of professionally-styled rooms in home decorating, you’ll notice that most of them follow this rule.

While it may not be an exact science, the 60-30-10 rule is helpful in achieving a balanced color scheme. It adds a sense of cohesion to your room and simplifies the process of selecting colors.

Once you grasp its basic principles, you’ll have the freedom to confidently experiment with the formula.

Stuck between two accent colors? Try out a 60-30-5-5 approach and see how it works.

What Is the 60-30-10 Rule?.
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Evaluating the Space for the 60-30-10 Rule

Before heading to the paint or home goods store, take a moment to consider the space you want to decorate following the 60-30-10 rule.

For example, a relaxing color palette works well in the bedroom, while a more vibrant approach can make the kitchen feel lively.

If you have an amazing view of the ocean from your living room window, it’s best not to distract from it with bright colors. Instead, let the view be the focal point by keeping a neutral and monochromatic color palette.

Also, remember to consider permanence.

Cost is another factor to keep in mind. If you can’t afford to buy a new sofa every time you get tired of the green one you currently have, it’s better to opt for more neutral colors for your dominant and secondary colors.

These are usually the ones that are more permanent and expensive to replace. Save bolder colors for accent pieces.

60-30-10 Rule: Select Your Preferred Colors

If you’re looking for color combinations that work well together, you can search for examples on Pinterest.

But what if you have a specific paint or furniture that you want to incorporate into your home decor? Or maybe you’re tired of the same old look that everyone has.

Well, you’re in luck! You can easily choose a color combination based on the 60-30-10 rule using a color wheel.

Woman with a color wheel to decorate with 60-30-10 rule.
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Let’s start with the monochromatic approach. To apply this method, simply select one color as your dominant color and use lighter and darker variations of it for your secondary and accent colors.

This approach works best with neutral colors like gray, cream, white, or greige. It’s perfect for the bathroom, bedroom, or any room with a stunning view.

The next color scheme is complementary. This involves selecting two colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel, like blue and orange.

One color will be warm, while the other will be cool, creating a balanced look in the room.

Since you’re working with only two colors, this style is a modified version of the 70-30 or 60-40 approach.

Lastly, we have the analogous color scheme. With this approach, you select three colors that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel.

The middle color becomes the dominant color, while the colors on each side become the secondary and accent colors.

For example, you could choose orange-yellow, yellow, and yellow-green. In this case, yellow would be the dominant color and the other two colors would serve as secondary and accent colors.

The color wheel can be your best friend in achieving the desired aesthetic in your home decor. Whether you’re looking to create a harmonious monochromatic look, a balanced complementary scheme, or a cohesive analogous style.

Using Colors: A Guide of 60-30-10 Rule

Once you have selected your colors, it is important to apply them strategically.

The dominant color should be used as the paint color for your walls, while the accent color can be used to add pops of color as throw pillows or pieces of art.

It is crucial to know where to use each color in order to achieve the right balance in your space.

Dominant color

Applying the 60-30-10 rule, you should have 60 percent of a room in your dominant color.

This means that most walls should be painted in this color, as well as large decorative elements like the sofa or area rugs.

However, it’s not necessary for each part of the rule to be the exact same hue. It’s perfectly fine for the walls to be a light gray and the area rug to be a slightly darker gray.

In fact, having this difference can actually add visual texture to the room.

Using Your Colors: A Guide.
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Secondary color

This color plays a supporting role, filling up half as much space as the dominant color.

You can use it for draperies, decorative walls, chairs, painted furniture, or a small rug.

In the kitchen, it works well for the color of the countertops.

In the bedroom, it’s a good choice for the color of the bed linens.

Accent color

The accent color really makes the room stand out.

You can incorporate it through artwork, throw pillows, lamps, small pieces of furniture such as an ottoman, candles, and small decorative items.

Typically, the accent color is a vibrant, complementary shade. But, it can also be black, dark brown, or a natural material like wood or metal.

Practically any color will do as long as it provides contrast and complements the dominant and secondary colors.

Defying the Norm

Now that you understand how the 60-30-10 rule works, you can customize it to suit your needs.

One common variation is to incorporate a second accent color. In this case, you would allocate:

  • 60 percent of your dominant color,
  • 30 percent of your secondary color,
  • and 5 percent each of your accent colors (60-30-5-5).

You can also experiment with different percentages of colors. The key is to achieve a harmonious color balance in the space.

For instance, a combination of 30-30-30-20 might work well with the right colors.

Alternatively, you might find that a ratio of 75-15-10 is more suitable.

It’s important to be open to adjusting the proportions and be willing to make a few attempts in order to achieve the desired look.

Defying the Norm.
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Starting Point Ideas for 60-30-10 Rule

Ready to apply the 60-30-10 rule, but not comfortable using a color wheel? No worries! These color combinations are timeless classics. Here are some options for you:

1. Dominant color: White; Secondary color: Gray; Accent color: Red

2. Dominant color: Gray; Secondary color: White; Accent color: Natural wood

3. Dominant color: Blue; Secondary color: White; Accent color: Red

4. Dominant color: Yellow; Secondary color: Green; Accent color: White

5. Dominant color: Brown; Secondary color: White; Accent color: Black

6. Dominant color: Greige; Secondary color: Light greige; Accent color: White

7. Dominant color: White; Secondary color: Natural wood; Accent color: Blue

8. Dominant color: Light blue; Secondary color: Cream; Accent color: Dark blue

9. Dominant color: Gray; Secondary color: White; Accent color: Pink

10. Dominant color: Yellow; Secondary color: Natural wood; Accent color: White

11. Dominant color: Beige; Secondary color: Brown; Accent color: Turquoise

Choose the combination that speaks to you and start transforming your space with confidence!

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