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The 60 30 10 Color Rule: A Guide to Perfect Color Combinations

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Achieving a harmonious color palette in your home can be a challenge. But with the 60 30 10 color rule, it's easy! Discover how to apply this rule to your home.
A cover Image shows a three-color scheme and a painting brush.

Color is crucial in interior design, as it sets the mood and atmosphere of a space.

To achieve a balanced and pleasing color scheme, many designers follow the 60-30-10 color rule. In this ultimate guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of this rule, how it works, and practical tips for using it.

Whatever the space you’re redecorating, the 60 30 10 color rule will help you create stunning interiors that reflect your style.

Let’s dive in.

What is the 60-30-10 decorating rules?

Infographics shows the 60 30 10 color rule

The 60 30 10 color rule is a timeless rule of interior design that helps you choose a harmonious color scheme for your space.

The 60-30-10 rule suggests allocating 60% of the room’s color to a dominant color (The Primary Color), 30% to a secondary color, and 10% to an accent color. This ratio ensures your colors work well together and avoid overwhelming or dull color schemes. The 60 30 10 rule is based on principles of color theory & many designers from different fields embrace it.

Apply the 60 30 10 color rule to ensure that you have a harmonious color scheme in your design.

How to apply the 60-30-10 rule in your room?

Infographics shows what to use with each color:
• 60%: Big Furniture - Floors - Walls
• 30%: Curtains and Rugs - Small Furniture - Featured Walls 
•10%: Accessories - Cushions - Pictures

You can use the 60 30 10 color rule in any room by choosing colors as follows:

60% (Primary Color)

60% of the room will be primary color.

The primary color forms the foundation of your color scheme. It sets the overall mood and vibe of the space. Use it on the most visible parts of the room, like the walls, floors, and large pieces of furniture.

💡 Design Insight: The idea is to use 60% color to anchor the scene and serve as the background for the other elements. That’s why it is better to use a subtle color. You can also use two colors that go well together instead of just one. Just make sure they aren’t too loud and match well.

30% (Secondary Color)

30% of the room will be secondary colors.

The secondary color complements the primary color and adds depth to the design.

Use it to highlight the pieces you want to stand out, like feature walls, curtains, rugs, and small furniture. Experiment with different shades and tones to find the right balance.

💡 Design Insight: The idea is to have a secondary color that complements the primary color and adds interest, not steals the show. Make sure that the secondary color doesn’t clash with the primary colors.

10% (Accent Color)

10% of the room will be accent colors.

The accent color adds excitement and draws attention to specific areas or features in the room. It’s the smallest portion of the color scheme but makes a big impact.

Use it with small accents to spice things up,like throw pillows, artwork, or accessories. Choose an accent color that harmonizes with the dominant and secondary colors, adding a personal touch to the design.

💡 Design Insight: The idea behind accent colors is to add small amounts of bold colors to make the design more exciting.

5 Advanced Tactics to use the 60 30 10 Color Rule

The 60 30 10 color rule is an excellent starting point to define a room’s color scheme, but you can be as creative as you want.

1️⃣ Consider the +S (Black Detail)

+S stands for “one small black detail”

Adding a tiny black detail will make your color scheme stand out more and be more cohesive.

Think of it as the cherry on top; it helps you bring out the colors you picked and tie them together.

2️⃣ Use Different shades

Infographics shows how to use different shades. (3 Different shades of the same color as a primary color)

You don’t have to use the same shade of color.

For example, if your primary color is blue, you can also use teal and navy blue as primary colors because they are close to each other on the color wheel. Break the rules.

3️⃣ Go 110%

Infographics that shows  the 110% concept

You can turn your color scheme 110% instead of 100% — Why Not?

To put it another way, you can choose your primary color to be 60% and your secondary color to be 30%, but when it comes to accent colors, you can select two accent colors instead of just one.

4️⃣ Go Monochromatic

Color scheme using different shades of the same Colors

You don’t have to be a fan of vibrant color schemes to use the 90 30 10 color rule. You can apply the rule on muted or monochromatic interiors — How?

A monochromatic interior is an interior that uses only one color and its different shades as a color scheme

So Instead of using three different colors as your primary, secondary, and accent colors, you can use different shades of one color to create a monochromatic color scheme. 

For example, you can use the neutral color gray as the calming 60% primary color, a deep shade of the same gray as the stunning 30% secondary color, and a pale tone of the same gray as the brightening 10% accent color.

💡Design Insight: A neutral, monochromatic color scheme creates an admirably relaxing atmosphere.

5️⃣ Go Creative: Break the 60-30-10 Rule

Infographics that shows the go creative concept

Decorating rules can guide you when choosing colors and arranging your space. But what if you want more freedom and creativity?

Now is the time to get creative and create your formula — Sky is the limit

For example, if your intuition as a designer tells you that the 30-30-20-20 would make better sense for the space you are designing, then why not? Go with it.

💡 Design Insight: The key to break the 60 30 10 color rule is to pay close attention to how the colors in your room work together. When you know how these color ratios affect how you see things, you can go against the grain and find a balance you like.


1️⃣ Learn How to achieve Stunning Color Schemes

If you want to learn more about how I create my color schemes for my interior project, check out my blog post, where I reveal my 5 secrets to achieve stunning color schemes.

My 5 Secrets To Achieve Stunning Color Schemes

2️⃣ Color Palate Generator

A great source of inspiration for creating my color scheme is Color Hunt.

I love browsing this site and discovering new combinations of colors

3️⃣ Jotun Colors Matching

Tech made it easier to create color schemes.

One of my favorite tools is Jotun 128, which is a thoughtful color scheme generator for interior design.


Whether you are a seasoned interior designer or a DIY novice, the 60 30 10 color rule is a helpful tool to use as a guide when choosing a balanced color scheme for your home.

Picture of Bahaa Aydi

Bahaa Aydi

I'm Bahaa, a Licensed architect specialized in Interior design & Archviz • Sharing my design days with you to help you design better space