What You Should Know About the 60-30-10 Colour Rule

Color your Room with Confidence: The 60-30-10 Rule — Whitney Homes

When it comes to colour, getting it right can be tricky. Have you ever thought, “But, I loved this colour when I picked it out,” or “We just painted; why does this room still not look right?” If so, it might be because you didn’t follow the colour rules.

While there is a LOT to know about colour, there is one rule that even designers follow to help get the balance right. It’s called the 60-30-10 rule, and here’s what you need to know about how to get fabulous colour in your home.

What Is the 60-30-10 Colour Rule?

Simply put, the 60-30-10 rule is a guide to help ensure the right distribution of colour when decorating your home. What it means is that 60% of your space should be one colour, 30% of the space should be a secondary color and 10% should be an accent colour. But, before you can successfully apply this rule, you have to have a colour palette.

How to Select a Colour Palette for Your Home

It can be tough to choose a group of colours that work well together — and that you like enough to want to look at every day. Fortunately, the quickest and easiest way to choose a colour palette you love is to steal it!

Because your colour palette should start in the living room, go there and choose a pattern that you love. For example, some people like to use the largest pattern in the room, such as a rug, a piece of upholstered furniture or a large piece of art. However, it really can be any pattern that speaks to you. So, look to throw pillows, baskets or even book covers for inspiration if you’re stuck.

How to Use the 60-30-10 Rule

If you’re worried about how to accurately divide your space to achieve the right percentage of each colour, don’t be! The rule is a guideline to help you create balance. As such, you can eyeball it and feel fairly confident that you’ve got it right. In the meantime, here are some loose guidelines to help you apply the 60-30-10 rule in your home.

Dominant Colour = 60% (a little more than half the room):

  • Walls
  • Area rug
  • Sofa

Secondary Colour = 30% (about half of the dominant colour):

  • Curtains
  • Accent chairs
  • Painted furniture
  • Accent wall

Accent Colour = 10% (just enough to draw your eye around the room)

  • Throw pillows
  • Blankets
  • Lamps
  • Artwork
  • Decorative accessories

Remember, these are not hard and fast rules. Mix and match to create your own balanced palette.

How to Use the 60-30-10 Rule in Different Style Homes

Certain interior design styles have their own tried and true colour combinations. As an example, if you have a traditional home and want a colour scheme to match, choose a light neutral in the beige family for the walls. Then, pair that with a dark taupe, grey or brown as a secondary colour. Lastly, add a classic colour such as cranberry or forest green for accents.

On the other hand, modern homes are often more monochromatic with either dark grey or bright white walls and black, grey or greige secondary colours. In this style, accent colours are minimal or left out completely in favor of an abundance of texture.

Alternatively, a coastal home most often features a very light dominant colour, with grey or beige as a secondary colour, as well as plenty of blue accents.

Creating Flow with Colour

A great way to create flow and continuity throughout your home is through the use of consistent colours. But, rest assured, this doesn’t mean you have to use the exact same colour palette and distribution of colour in every room of your house.

For instance, the accent colour in your living room might be the dominant colour in your dining room and the secondary colour in your kitchen. You can also use darker and lighter versions of the same colour to maintain consistency and create flow from one room to the next.

If you have an open-concept home, keep in mind that using a single dominant colour in any areas that can be seen from the same vantage point will help create unity throughout your home.

Don’t Forget About Texture

If you follow the 60-30-10 rule and still feel like something is off in your room, you may be lacking texture. No matter how great your colours are, texture is what brings a room to life. Therefore, be sure to include a variety of smooth and rough surfaces to complement your newly balanced colour palette.

Now that you know what the 60-30-10 colour rule is all about, go ahead and experiment with it in your home. We’d love to hear how it worked out for you!

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