The 60-30-10 rule in interior designing helps us greatly in deciding the color scheme and it’s distribution. Top Interior designers in Delhi, NCR generally use the 60-30-10 rule to designate a percentage of the overall color scheme – this implies that one color is 60%, the second is 30% while the third is 10%.

60%+30%+10% = 100%which makes it a complete block or a room.


For example

let us consider a pizza slized into 5 equal pieces – if we think the whole of the pizza pie as 100% then each of the 5 slices would join up to make 100% and every single slice is 100÷5 = 20% of the whole pizza. This means each slice contributes 20% of the whole pizza.

Now, if each slice contains different colored food items as toppings, for example black olives, green capsicum, red meat, white onions, grey mushrooms, then this essentially makes the pizza of 5 equal prominent colors.

pizza slices with different toppings
  A pie with varied color toppings

5 equal prominent colors and toppings may make our pizza appetising to taste but shall look too diverse to our vision. Since the pizza is not using the 60-30-10 rule, it appears a bit gaudish to us.

Fibonacci Numbers and the Golden Ratio

In nature, the golden ratio of 1.618 derived using the fibonacci numbers is considered ideal for all things beautiful. This ratio is basically derived by a division between two consecutive fibonacci numbers. Since we know the resulting fibonacci number, we can easily derive any third number when given a single number in all things related to design and make it more appealing.

The golden ratio is a division between two numbers and similar to this golden ratio a ratio between three parameters that is close enough to the golden ratio and gives out a more appealing look to architecture, room colors etc is the 60-30-10 rule which utilises three parameters.

In interior designing, designers have used this rule as a thumb rule to not only design color schemes but also to decorate furniture, curtains and other interior decor elements. In order to get the best bedroom interior designs and layouts or best ideas for a living room and even best washroom designs this rule serves as the gold standard.

Even in graphic designing while designing a logo, the 60-30-10 rule helps to differentiate the logo styles and parameters in proportion to 60%-30%-10% of the overall logo image.

Using the above example of a pizza where different equal colors were too diverse and unappealing to our eyes, if we were to divide the pizza into 5 slices only, but put three different color toppings over the whole pizza slice the pizza would become less diverse and more appealing to our view.

You can read more about fiboncci number in Wikipedia.

You can read more about golden ratio maths and how it links to beauty in nature here.


The 60-30-10 Rule

The 60-30-10 rule states that to get a more balanced and visually appealing look a decor element for example the color should be spread across a given space/ room in the ratio of 60%, 30% and 10%.

Continuing on in the above example, if 60% of the sliced pie that is 3 slices are topped with green capsicum, 30% of the pie that is one and a half slices are topped with say red meat and the remaining half slice that is 10% of the whole pie is covered with white onions then the whole of the pizza pie shall become visually more attractive to perceive.

The 60-30-10 Rule Elements

The 60-30-10 rule when used in color combinations, has three different elements –

Primary Color

The 60-30-10 rule states that objects shall look more beautiful when one color is the more prominent one and takes up 60% of the space. This is called a primary color.

image of an outfacing room
  White – Primary Color

Secondary Color

The secondary color is a color that is second to the primary color in prominence and supports the primary color by taking up 30% of the space.

image of a room with black as accent color
  Brown – Secondary Color

Accent Color

The accent color is a color that is used to highlight the space/ objects and is used sparingly taking up just 10% of the available space.

image of accent wall
  Accent color – Yellow

Using the 60-30-10 Rule

Using this rule, one can hope to achieve better color combinations while choosing their color palette from a color wheel. Best interior designers in NCR, noida have been utilising this rule as the benchmark for their color wheel picks.

Let us take a room as an example – In a given room, to achieve a more aesthetically attractive look, the primary color can be the color of the walls, the secondary can be the color of the furniture and the accent color can be a statue highlight or a designer wall.

Let us try and use the 60-30-10 rule in decorating a space say a given room. We can easily notice that when a room has only large furnitures taking up almost 90% of the space then that space feels congested and over emphasised to us.

To overcome this, the furniture should ideally take up 60% of the space and 20% can be your curtains or rugs while the accent can be your standing marble divisons.

image of a room not using 60-30-10 rule
  Furniture taking 90% of space is undesirable
image of a room with bed using 60-30-10 rule
  A 60-30-10 rule layout

We can apply similar patterns of rule in wall panelling, washroom defining to get best placed and projected interior designs in a washroom, good garden designs, better room decor and so on.

What if we need to use more than 3 colors?

We can use different ideations of this rule cleverly so as not to appear too gaudish. For example if one has decided on four colors for their room, then using this rule, the fourth color can be a similar color in a slightly different tone to the primary or the secondary color. for example red and pink, blue and purple, blue and grey and so on.

In such a scenario, to achieve an equally appealing look, one has to maintain the overall ratio. Let us suppose, we use a darker tone of the primary color, say we use black for the primary color of grey.

Suppose we use 20% of black. When we use 20% of alternate tone black, then we can cleverly shrink the primary grey from 60% to 40% so that the overall primary color and it’s alternate tone take up 60% in total only (40% + 20% = 60%).

I hope if you were wondering how to decide the best color combinations for your bedroom, best color schemes for your children’s room or the overall color scheme of your house, this article proved to be worth your while.

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One Comment on “60-30-10 Rule in Interior Designing

  1. i really like your content your content is too good i like this and you provide very valuable information

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