You’ve decided to repaint your space. You’re excited about choosing colours yet you find yourself confused and frustrated. There are so many shades to pick from! How do you put together a balanced colour palette for your room? Consider the 60-30-10 rule. It’s simple to use and will help you balance the colours in any space. 

What is the 60-30-10- rule?

The 60-30-10 rule is a classic décor principle that helps you choose the best colour scheme for your space, enabling you to maintain the perfect balance of tones. It aids in selecting shades that flow together and work in harmony. The rule suggests that 60% of the room should be a dominant colour, 30% a secondary colour or texture and the last 10% an accent. 

How do I use the 60-30-10 rule?

The 60-30-10 rule is intended as a guideline to help you create perfect colour combinations. It makes choosing colour simple and helps achieve balance in decorating. Three colour families are used to add balance and depth to a room. It’s not a math formula but a guiding principle for having fun building off of a palette of three colours.

  1. Select a dominant colour (60%): There is more wall area in a room than any other design factor. Selecting a dominant colour for the walls acts as a foundation for your space. This shade is the overall or background colour, anchoring the room. It can also be used in large accent pieces like area rugs and furniture. Choose a hue you are drawn to or a shade that evokes the feeling you want in the space. 
  2. Select a secondary colour (30%): This hue is intended for contrast. It supports the main colour, but is different enough to give the room interest. Use the colour wheel to help you select this shade. Consider choosing a hue that is complementary to your dominant choice. This colour will be directly across the wheel and provides contrast to the 60%. If you like a uniform, monochromatic look, consider using colours that are directly next to each other on the wheel. The 30% hue can be used in furniture, curtains, area rugs, wood trim, draperies, accent chairs, bed linens, painted furniture or an accent wall. 
  3. Select an accent colour (10%): This shade is used to contrast and complement your décor scheme. It gives the room character. Pull this hue from artwork in the room or from a printed fabric on a large item. Incorporate it in patterns and textures. A few bold choices go a long way to adding depth and sparkle to a space. Throws, lampshades, decorative accessories, artwork and other small items are great for bringing the accent colour into the space. 

How to break the 60-30-10 rule:

If you want to think outside the box or you need more than three colours to express your personality, you’ll need to break the 60-30-10 rule. Once you have used and understood the principle, it’s easy to customize it for your space. Consider introducing more than one accent colour, an extra 5 elements (60-30-5-5). Try a mix of 30-30-30-20. It works with the right colours. Or, maybe 75-15-10. The key is to create a balance of colour in the room. Play with the proportions. Have fun!

Tips to get started:

If you’re interested in the 60-30-10 rule but you’re not comfortable using a colour wheel, these colour combinations are classic:

  • White/dominant colour, gray/secondary colour and red as the accent
  • Gray/dominant colour, white/ secondary colour and natural wood or fibre as the accent
  • Blue/dominant colour, white/secondary colour and red as the accent
  • Yellow/dominant colour, green/secondary colour and white as the accent
  • Brown/dominant colour, white/secondary colour and black as the accent
  • Greige/dominant colour, light greige /secondary colour and white as the accent
  • White/dominant colour, natural wood/secondary colour and blue as the accent
  • Light blue/dominant colour, cream/secondary colour and dark blue as the accent
  • Gray/dominant colour, white/secondary colour and pink as the accent
  • Yellow/dominant colour, natural wood/secondary colour and white as the accent
  • Beige/dominant colour, brown/secondary colour and turquoise as the accent

Been scrolling through Pinterest for hours looking for the perfect colour scheme for your space? Want to build a room that looks and feels cohesive and pulled together but not too matchy-matchy? It’s time to consider the foolproof 60-30-10 rule. Don’t be intimidated by adding colour to your home. Introduce a new palette or make a bold statement. Bring colour into your space with confidence, using the 60-30-10 rule for decorating.

Have a room you wish to update? Need help applying the 60-30-10 principle? Not great at coordinating colours?  Call the Calgary painting experts, Cal Res Coatings at (403) 835-4817. We’re a residential painting contractor that strives for quality, has an eye for detail and colour, and will not rest until your job is done to your satisfaction. Request a free quote today.

Quick Contact