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How to use the 60-30-10 rule to colour match your interiors

27th April 2021

OK, so perhaps the Sixty Thirty Ten rule doesn’t roll off the tongue terribly well. I’ll give you that. But while it might not be the snappiest of names, depending on who you ask, there’s no denying how useful it can be in interior design. Note that it’s not just the professionals I’m talking about here; it’s really handy for working out your own colour scheme at home, too. And if you’re one of the many homeowners thinking of switching up their colour scheme for Spring (perhaps with the use of new removable loose sofa covers), then here’s how that rule could be helpful for you.

What is the 60-30-10 rule?

Essentially, the 60-30-10 rule works by dividing your colour scheme into different percentages of colour usage, helping to give you a rough guide as to how much of a colour to use, and where. Let’s cover it sequentially.

The main colour – 60%

As the figure suggests, the main colour you choose should be used in just over half of your room design. There aren’t too many hard and fast rules for what elements of the room you should consider using it for, but it’s a good idea to think about using it for any of the following: your walls, your floors, and perhaps a furniture piece, such as for your chair or sofa covers.

Alternatively, or even in addition, you could also use it for your rugs, curtains, or draperies. Just don’t forget that you might find it tricky to do them all while still keeping the main colour saturation of the room below the 60% rule. The idea is not to overwhelm the space, but rather have the colour anchor the space, serving as a backdrop for the other two colours.

The secondary colour – 30%

Once you’ve chosen your main colour, most of what’s left will fall to your secondary colour. Now, it’s no accident that it’s supposed to be as close as possible to half of your main colour saturation. That’s to ensure that it’s not competing with your 60% colour, but rather contrasting and complementing. The idea is to create depth and visual interest, so it’s a good choice for a couple of key pieces in your interiors, like draperies, or accent chairs, or small coffee tables. If you’d like, you could even go for an accent wall – although if it’s a family home, that one might require a bit of discussion beforehand, as it’s a very bold choice!

The accent colour – 10%

And now we reach the accent colour. This should be a third of the secondary colour, and a sixth of the main colour. I recognise that it can sometimes be tricky to quantify your interiors with quite that level of mathematical precision though, so honestly, feel free to trust your instincts. When it’s a bit much, you’ll normally know.

The idea with the accent colour is to draw you deeper into the room design, so it’s one that’s best suited for the smaller, tertiary elements of the room. That includes decorative throw blankets, cushions or pillows, and wall art. Those are just a few ideas for where to start – you might well end up with one or two of your own!

That should give you a decent idea of how the principle works in general. As for how it works in your interiors, that’s really up to you. If you need some ideas for colours to kick off with, it can help to look up some common colour combinations, many of which are specifically designed to complement or contrast with each other. Yellow and purple is a good example of one such pairing (with accent colours of white or brown), while orange and blue is another (black or white would be good accent colours for those).

In case you’re wondering, your sofa covers are likely to fall into the remit of either a primary or secondary colour, so if you’re thinking about a change, you’re in exactly the right place! We take care to provide a comprehensive range of sofa covers, chair covers and more in a wide variety of colours here at Cover My Furniture, so that you’ll always be able to find plenty of options to suit you.

If you’re having trouble making a decision, or you’re looking for something in particular, don’t hesitate to let one of us know. You can get in touch using the contact form on our website, or through our Facebook or Instagram. We’re always happy to hear from you!

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