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Using the 60-30-10 Rule in Interior Design

May 24, 2012 IADT Seattle 0 Comments

Interior Design 60-30-10When beginning to envision the new design of an interior space, professionals and homeowners alike often rely on the 60-30-10 rule of choosing colors. Simply put, this rule recommends that:

  • 60% of the room should be a dominant color
  • 30% of the room should be a secondary color
  • 10% of the room should be an accent color

This ratio can be achieved by painting the walls the dominant color, choosing upholstery or furniture in the secondary color, and using the accent color in accessories or linens. However, each room is unique, serving a different purpose, so you may find many different ways to utilize the 60-30-10 rule in your space.

Using a color wheel to choose your palette is highly important. You can find color wheels online, in an art store, or possibly in the paint section of your local home improvement store. Each color has a multitude of shade and depth options that could complement or conflict with other colors you are considering. For example, you may want your dominant color to be yellow and the secondary color to be green. If you aren't careful to test your shade choices together, you may end up with two colors that have completely different undertones or casts. A paint or home improvement store will have paint swatches and sample color combinations you can also take with you to consider in your space. You should never choose a color before seeing what it looks like in the room.

Once you choose your three colors, you can experiment with the percentages to help decide on your best combination. Let's say you've chosen navy, grey, and khaki as your three colors by using a color wheel and testing them in your room. If you paint the walls grey (60%), choose navy furniture (30%), and highlight with khaki accents (10%) you'll have a completely different look than if you paint the walls khaki (60%), choose grey furniture (30%), and navy accents (10%). Each of these combinations will give the room a different feel and create a different atmosphere.

Decorating with color shouldn't be feared, and taking risks with your design is a great way to express your preferences and personality. No color is permanent, so experiment to find out what you like and what combination is best!

Learn more about interior design principles by enrolling in an interior design degree program near you.

This article is presented by IADT-Seattle. Contact us today if you’re interested in developing marketable knowledge and career-relevant skills with an industry-current degree program from IADT-Seattle.

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