Designers employ the 60-30-10 rule in both residential and commercial settings, because it is extremely effective at creating a unified, attractive space.

Either the client or the designer chooses three colors. The color chosen as the dominant color takes up 60 percent of the space and is usually the main wall color. The secondary color makes up 30 percent of the room, and is often the color of upholstery. The final 10 percent comes from the accent color, applied as the name suggests, for accent pieces, such as vases and artwork.

Color Wheel and Basic Colors

You probably learned about the color wheel in school and then promptly forgot it once you handed in your test paper. When working with color and design, though, the color wheel is essential.

Numerous websites offer digital color wheels, including ours! The color wheel makes selecting your three colors simple. You decide the type of paint scheme you want, and then use the color wheel to choose your exact shades. The 60-30-10 Rule requires three colors.

Every color wheel has, at a minimum, 12 distinct colors. Most include far more than 12, as they offer numerous gradations of a single color. For example, the “slice” of yellow in a color wheel takes you from a shade with just a hint of yellow to a deep golden color.

The primary colors are red, blue, and yellow. You cannot create these colors by mixing other colors together. The secondary colors are orange, purple, and green, and are created by mixing together two primary colors. Tertiary colors are the six shades created mixing primary and secondary colors.

The four color schemes that work best for the 60-30-10 Rule are analogous, split-complimentary, monochromatic, and triadic.

Analogous Color Schemes

Analogous paint schemes use shades next to each other on the color wheel. A common arrangement is two primary colors with a secondary color, such as red, yellow, and orange. You can also use neutral colors, such as black, white, and gray.

With an analogous color scheme, the most vibrant shade is typically your 10 percent accent color.

Split-Complimentary Color Schemes

Split-Complementary paint schemes use a base color and then two colors adjacent to that base color’s complementary color. This is a muted form of the bold complementary color scheme, and works well to balance a room.

Typically, designers make the base shade the dominant color of the room, but use a muted shade rather than a saturated color.

Monochromatic Color Schemes

Monochromatic paint schemes use three shades of the same color. This typically includes a saturated shade as the accent color, with more muted shades serving as the dominant and secondary colors.

Triadic Color Schemes

Triadic paint schemes use three colors equally spaced apart on the color wheel, such as the three primary or three secondary colors. This creates one of the bolder color schemes and is found most often in children’s bedrooms or play areas. With its high energy, it may also be effective in a space where you want employees to be alert and productive.

If you use this color scheme, make sure surrounding spaces use calmer, more neutral color schemes.

Color Temperature

Many people describe colors as either warm or cool, and this description also determines a color’s placement on the color wheel.

Warm colors include reds, oranges, and yellows. Designers use these shades when they want to convey a sense of life in a space. Cool colors include blues, purples, and most greens. Designers employ cool colors to create a feeling of calm relaxation in a space.

Designers consider a number of things when choosing between cool and warm colors, including room size. Cool colors in a large room often make the room feel cold and uninviting. Warm colors in a small room make the room feel claustrophobic and closed-off.

Flexibility with 60-30-10

You don’t have to choose three colors and stick to their exact shades for every facet of your room. You can employ variations in shading and still remain faithful to 60-30-10 (except, perhaps, with a monochromatic color scheme). Not every wall has to be painted with the dominant color, and the dominant color may find its way onto other items in the room.

You may also apply the 60-30-10 Rule to the outside of your building, with the dominant color on the sides of the house, the secondary color for shutters and trim, and doors painted in the accent color.

If you’re ready to paint your home or office, contact our team today.