Adding colour to your interior can be fun — but it’s equally intimidating! With a diverse range of colours and shades out there, you can easily get stuck trying to choose the right number of hues and adding them in the right proportion.
If you’re in the same boat, the 60-30-10 colour rule can help you curate the perfect colour palette with confidence! This is our comprehensive guide on the 60-30-10 colour rule and how to incorporate it into your space.
What Is The 60-30-10 Colour Rule?
The 60-30-10 colour rule is an interior design trick that allows you to put together a colour scheme that works coherently and keeps the space looking pulled-together despite using different hues. It divides the colour palette into three distinct categories:
The primary colour — 60% of the room should be the primary (or dominant) colour. This is usually a light hue, such as beige, grey, or white.
The secondary colour — 30% of the room should be the secondary (or complementary) colour. This is used to create contrast whilst adding visual interest to the space.
The accent colour — The remaining 10% should be the accent colour. This is usually a bold hue incorporated to add a burst of colour.
An example palette would be white as the primary colour, navy blue as the secondary, and mustard yellow as the accent shade.
Primary: White, Secondary: Blue, Accent: Mustard Yellow
How To Incorporate The 60-30-10 Colour Rule Into Your Space
Incorporating the 60-30-10 colour rule may seem like a tedious task — but remember, this colour rule merely provides a general framework — you don’t need calculations; an estimate of the proportions will do just fine.
Analyse Your Space & Requirements
Start off by assessing your space and focusing on the feeling you wish to create. Adding colours to your bedroom? A relaxing palette with a slight pop of colour would be ideal for that private sanctuary. Looking to liven up your kitchen and dining area? Go for bolder hues.
Select Three Colours
The 60-30-10 rule follows a palette of three different colours (but hey, what if I want four? Hold up, you can — more on that in a minute). Choose colours based on the ambience you’re seeking.
Set The Base With The Primary Colour
Begin by incorporating the primary colour. Because this takes up 60% of the space, it makes sense to use it on the walls. The idea is to anchor the space with this colour and provide a solid base for the next two hues.
Create Interest With The Secondary Colour
An easy way to incorporate this 30% is by remembering that the secondary colour should be seen half as much as the primary one. It is typically used in the window treatments, textiles (such as bed linens and area rugs), and accent chairs. You can also consider incorporating it through an accent wall.
Add A Burst Of The Accent Colour
Finally, the remaining 10% of the room should use the accent shade. This colour helps add character to the space, and is typically added through the artwork, lamp shades, and throw pillows (here’s how to mix and match cushions if you’ve been struggling with the arrangement).
You can switch things up however you wish, though. If you want to add the accent colour through the draperies and rug — or use a few throw pillows as a part of the secondary hue — go for it!
Primary: White, Secondary: Grey, Accent: Orange
Credit: Elephant Stock
Primary: White, Secondary: Black, Accent: Navy Blue
Primary: Mint, Secondary: Yellow, Accent: White
Using The Colour Rule With A Single Colour
If you’re a neutral lover or someone who keeps their interiors monochromatic, you can still use the 60-30-10 colour rule! The only difference will be — you’re using a single colour, but with three different shades.
Pick your favourite colour and add amounts of white (or black) to it to create three different variations, and apply it across your space. For example, you may want to opt for a white base (60%) with a dark grey sofa set (30%) and light grey cabinetry (10%).
Primary: White, Secondary: Dark Grey, Accent: Light Grey
Additional Tips To Remember
If you’re struggling to choose three different colours that work cohesively, pull them from a piece of fabric. Fabric designers have already done the brainstorming to pick hues that work together well — and you’ll have a visual representation to make sure you’re choosing what you love!
Rules are meant to be broken, really. Play around with the 60-30-10 rule to create a formula that suits your taste. For example, if you want to add two accent colours instead of one, go for 60-30-5-5. You could also do something like 30-30-20-20; it’s all about creating a balance of colours in your interior, and of course, finding a palette that you love!
Primary: Light Grey, Secondary: Blush Pink, Accent: Green, Black, Gold
The 60-30-10 colour rule is an interior design trick to put together a coherent and stunning colour palette for your interior. Use the rule — or break it — to create a colour scheme that speaks to your personality. After all, the best interiors are those that reflect our true selves!
Need some help with defining your colour palette? You can book one of our Interior Design Gurus to help you with a Mood Board! They can look at your space over video chat and help curate a colour palette and interior design theme that suits your personality and lifestyle preferences.