The 60-30-10 Color rule

Shutters Installation Bethesda MD

If you’re nervous about adding color into your home, consider the 60-30-10 rule. It’s a classic design rule, used in everything from marketing to floral arrangements, that guides you towards balance and depth. This rule is second nature to us as interior decorators, but we want to give you some insider tips here on the Couvrant Interior Window Fashions blog. Read on to learn how you can use the 60-30-10 rule in your own home.

How To Use The 60-30-10 Rule

Don’t let the numbers paralyze you, it’s more of a guideline that allows you to build off of a cohesive color palette. Here’s how it works:

  • Decorate, or paint, 60% of your room with the dominant color
  • Decorate, or paint, 30% of your room with the secondary color
  • Use the remaining color, your accent color, in 10% of the space


It’s a pretty basic idea, but challenging to enact. Especially when you move past wall colors and into other elements of design, like window coverings, wall hangings, furniture, and light fixtures. Ideally, you should incorporate this rule in every element within the room. Each piece informs the others and works together when creating a mood or feeling in the room.

You can think of each color as a way of grouping items in the room. Larger items, like walls rugs, sofas, or foundational pieces should be in your dominant color. Your secondary color can be slightly smaller items, like curtains, end tables, or side chairs. And your accent color should appear in small pieces that provide a surprising burst of color, like throw pillows, blankets, decorative accessories, lamps, or artwork.

Choosing A Color Palette

Picking a color palette is key to making the 60-30-10 rule work. If you’ve picked colors that clash, it doesn’t matter how well you use them, they’ll make the room feel chaotic. Home are built over time. You find a couch you love one year, a carpet you can’t pass up another year. When an interior designer has full range of a room, they can create a cohesive look that creates a particular mood and allows one room to flow into the next. There’s nothing quite like color to do this hard design work.

Couvrant Interior Window Fashions knows that the days matchy-matchy color schemes are own. But this leaves homeowners wondering: how do I pick a variety of colors that still work together? When following the 60-30-10 rule, you’ll choose a three color palette, a dominant color (60%), secondary shade (30%), and accent color (10%). Here are some of our favorite combinations:

  • Dark blue as the dominant color, brown as the secondary color, and a cream accent. The bold dominant color creates a strong, striking look to an office or bedroom
  • White as the dominant color, gray as the secondary color, and red as the accent. The classic combination of white and gray gives a calming, clean feel to the room. The red accent, depending on how bright you go, keep the room from being boring.
  • Yellow as the dominant color, green as the primary color, and white as the accent. Whenever you go for a bright color as your dominant shade (instead of a neutral) you’re risking creating an overwhelming, harsh room. This combination all depends on what yellow and green you choose. We suggest a bright, buttery yellow paired with a darker green. It’s perfect for a sunroom filled with plants.
  • Green as the dominant color, gray as the secondary shade, and red for the accent. Bright red accents — whether as a wall, a light fixture, pillows, or rug — are very popular right now. Again, this is a risky palette, you don’t want a room that feels like a Christmas card. Pick a light green and bold red.
  • Blue as the dominant color, green as the secondary color, and yellow for the accent. Baby blue-gray walls are a classic choice, and give a serene, comfortable feel to a large living room or dining room. Pairing it with green instead of a neutral, like cream or gray, is what makes this combination surprising. Yellow accents tie the room together.


You will feel more comfortable choosing a fresh color scheme when you have a thoughtful interior designer on your side. Couvrant Interior Window Fashions is happy to come to your home for a free consultation to discuss your ideas and offer suggestions!

How To Break The 60-30-10 Rule

The 60-30-10 rule is a foundational rule of design. But if you’re feeling confident and rebellious, you’re welcome to break it. Just know that the more colors you choose, the more complicated your design is going to get. Adding a second accent color is the safest way to break the rule. Or you can go entirely monochromatic and pick just one color and incorporate lighter and darker shades of it. We suggest a more neutral color, but if you’re wanting an entirely blue room you should go for it! Lastly, you can go really wild and create your own formula. Does 40-30-20-10 sound good? How about 80-20-10? Whatever you do, be consistent and have a plan. And you can always bring your ideas — no matter how wild — to Couvrant Interior Window Fashions and we’ll let you know what we think!

Couvrant Interior Window Fashions

The right window treatment can transform a room. Couvrant Interior Window Fashions offers a wide range of window coverings for any type of window or door. We provide free consultations and a flat installation fee. We’re committed to finding the perfect window covering to match your style and vision for your home. Contact us today to get started.

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