What Is the 60-30-10 Rule in Interior Design?

Whether you’re moving into your new house or just finished renovations on your guest room, one fact remains the same:

You have to decorate.

Although this can be an exciting time, the choices are no less daunting. Interior Design is no joke, and although many try designing with their own hands, rarely does the dream become reality. After all, you either have an eye for interior design or you don’t.

Thankfully, interior designers are here to guide you each and every step of the way. They can work together with you to bring your vision into reality. But in order to start a discussion about color schemes and textures, you need to know a bit of the language first.

And when it comes to interior design, the 60-30-10 rule is everything.

The 60-30-10 Rule

What exactly is this rule? You hear so much about it from the internet and your friends who also just had their incredible homes decorated. It’s incredibly simple, with only a little math involved.

The 60-30-10 rule is a breakdown of how much of each color, texture, or pattern you need in your chosen room. You need 60% of your main color, 30% or your secondary color, and 10% of your accent color!

How do you know how much each color will take up in your room? An interior designer can help you designate which areas or furniture you’ll need to achieve this golden rule. In general, it’s fairly easy to remember.

60% of your main color will include walls, large furniture (like a sofa or bed), rugs, cabinets, or tiles. This should be the main color you see when you take a cursory glance around the room.

30% secondary color refers to accent chairs, bedding, curtains, accent walls, and painted doors. The entire point of the secondary color is to create contrast with the main color to brighten up the space and diversify what you’re looking at.

Finally, the 10% accent color is all about the accessories. This can be throw pillows, art, candles, and anything else that’s small and good for a quick look. The entire idea is to have a small pop of color or metal against the two more visible colors.

If that still sounds like a lot of gauging and eyeing, that’s because it is. Interior design, although simple in theory, is fairly complicated in practice. It’s not enough to know which colors work, but which pieces as well.

This simple breakdown can help guide your discussions with your interior designer, and make your home decorated in the way you envision.

The 110% Rule

If the 60-30-10 rule seems overly strict and you want to add more color and variety, there are alternatives that can meet your needs. The 110% rule is one such deviation.

If tried without a professional interior designer, this method might lean towards more cluttered than elegant and bright. But utilized correctly, it can have a strong impact on your interior design.

In order to fulfill the 110% rule, you would follow the steps of our old friend, the 60-30-10 rule, however when you reach the final 10% accent, you switch it up.

Instead of 10% of one color, you split the difference and do 5% of one accent and 5% of another color. This way your room won’t be overwhelmed, but you’ll still have the colors you’re looking for.

But if an abundance of color isn’t your style, there’s one more interior design trick that you can ask your designer about.

Monochromatic Alternative

Rather than pulling from complimentary colors and textures, if you want the more peaceful and soothing look you can ask for a monochromatic color scheme.

I know what you’re thinking: what can possibly be interesting about having everything the same exact color?

As a professional interior designer, let me tell you a secret. Monochromatic can be the best way to design. You still follow the 60-30-10 rule, but rather than have all the colors be unrelated, you use varying shades of the same color.

These colors can run the gamut from neutral or dark to pale or light. The combinations are subtle and welcoming, although can be hard to match without a professional eye.

How Do You Choose?

When you’re talking to your interior designer, having this baseline is going to be a great jumping off point for you. Your interior designer won’t have to explain the concept and you two can take off running.

60-30-10 might be the name of the game in general, and although it might be tempting to try it on your own, unless you have a trained eye, you might fall before you fly.

Talk to your interior designer about your thoughts on these options, and what can suit the look of your home best.

How will you decide to put your home’s best foot forward?