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The Interior Designer 60-30-10 Rule

Updated: Dec 31, 2023

A simple design rule to create stunning interiors in any room

Sometimes the choice of colours, schemes and designs can be overwhelming. Where do you start? Well, starting with the 60-30-10 rule is a great way to create a stunning interior scheme, without the stress and worry of trying to get it right.

So what is the 60-30-10 rule?

Very simply put, it means you choose 3 colours, and 60% of one, 30% of another 10% as an accent colour. A lot of interior designers will apply this rule in their own designs.

So lets break this down...


This is your main colour and will feature on your walls, furniture and large accessories such as rugs. This colour should feature in around 60% of the room and when walking into the room it should be obvious that this is the main colour.

Typically, this is a neutral colour or one that is more muted. This is because it will work well with most other colours and will act as a back-drop to them.


This is the secondary colour and will feature in around 30% of the room. So think about accent walls or chairs, curtains, bed linen and even large wall art.

This colour will be bolder or contrasting to the main colour, and you can afford to go bolder as you will be using half as much colour this time.


This is the part you can really have fun with. Depending on how you want the room to look, you can choose to go bolder and add in a bright or contrasting accent colour or pattern. Or you can keep the design more neutral by adding in an accent texture or pattern. When looking for a 10% accent, think of cushions, throws, small accessories and wall art.

“Colour should be fun and not something that should be feared.”

When using the 60-30-10 rule, don't be afraid of the different colour scheme options. This rule can be applied to any colour scheme. And if you're unsure, looking at a colour wheel is a great place to start.

So what are the main colour schemes?


This scheme focuses on using colours opposite of each other on the colour wheel. So think blue and orange.


This scheme focuses on one colour and uses it in varying tints, tones and shades. Similar to colour drenching but you don't have to use the same shade on everything.


This scheme focuses on using colours that sit next to each other on the colour wheel. So think blue, green and yellow.

This is just a simple way to think about colour and schemes. I will be delving more into colour theory, the colour wheel and colour schemes in the coming weeks. So don't forget to subscribe to the blog to be notified on new posts.

And of course, rules are made to be broken. So if you're feeling adventurous then why not make up your own rule - how about 40-30-20? Or what about 110% - adding in a 4th accent colour (60-30-10-10)?

Colour should be fun and not something that should be feared. So have a play around with the colour wheel and hopefully these tips will help you feel confident about picking a colour scheme which will work for you.

Until next week...

Kerry x

How can working with an Interior Designer at Hinton House Interiors help you?

Still struggling with design decisions? Maybe, you just need a quick room refresh? Or, perhaps you just don't have the time to take it all on?

Hinton House Interiors is here to help. We offer a full design service, including design project management, design and colour consultations and virtual e-design, services can be found here.

Don't forget to subscribe to our mailing list (on the home page) to get the latest updates.

Residential Interior Designer based in #Southampton, #Hampshire, also covering the UK.

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