What’s the 60-30-10 Rule in Painting?

60-30-10 Rule in Painting

A cornerstone of home decorating, the 60-30-10 rule refers to how colors are distributed through a space. Easy to use, this rule helps to create balance in your space. Before you start your next decorating or painting project, check out these tips.

Looking at the 60-30-10 Rule

Essentially, this rule means that 60% of your space is one color, 30% is another color, and 10% is an accent color. The 60% color anchors the space and acts like a backdrop. Generally, this is the color you paint the walls, but furnishings, rugs, drapes, and other items may also sport this color.

The 30% color is your secondary color. You want roughly half as much of this color as you have of the 60% color. Depending where you put your anchor color, this color may be on furniture, rugs, and drapes, and it may even be painted on an accent wall. Finally, your 10% color is the finishing accent. It appears on throw pillows, accent chairs, and possibly the painted trim around your room.

Choosing Your Colors

To narrow in on the best colors for your 60-30-10 scheme, you may want to start with some upholstery or a curtain you like. If that has three colors, you’re headed in the right direction. Alternatively, you can start with one color and use the color wheel to generate more options. Choosing colors next to each other creates a smooth coordinated look, while colors opposite each other on the color wheel pop when paired together.

Playing with Different Shades

Rather than choosing three different colors, consider a monochromatic look and choose three different shades of the same color. Your base color may be a deep shade of blue, the secondary color may be a bit lighter, and finally, a pale blue accent really lightens the space. Or, you can take that pattern in reverse and embrace the lightest shade for your anchor paint color and add dark accents for warmth.

You can also play with shade variances in other ways. For instance, some people choose a static tone for their base color and accent color, but then, they use varying shades of the secondary color.

Adding Two Tens

Rules are made to be broken. Can’t narrow down all the colors in the world to three? Then, you may want to have a bit of fun and mix in two 10’s. In other words, choose your base and secondary colors and then pick two accent colors. For instance, if your base color is light blue and your secondary color is cream, you may want to let green and orange accents add a burst of color.

If you’ve identified a handful of colors and you’re not sure where you want the paint, a painting contractor can help you narrow in on the best options for your room. Similarly, if you have the furniture in place but aren’t sure which direction to go with the paint, a contractor can also guide you in the right direction.

Pulling in Wood and Metallic Accents

These three portions don’t just have to apply to colors. You may also want to include wood or metallic accents. Imagine a room anchored in off white with natural wood tones as the secondary color, and then shades of blue to provide a nautical accent. Or, think of a light gray base, a neutral secondary color, and metallics for the accents.

At Cape Cod Painting, we know how challenging it can be to choose colors, but we also know how rewarding a beautiful room is. When you’re ready to paint, contact us. We can help you with every aspect of the process from choosing paint to doing light repairs to applying the paint. We’ve been painting interiors and exteriors since 1985. For a free estimate, contact us today.


Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked*