I don't know who it was or when it happened, but years ago somebody came up with formulas for working successfully with interior colors. Now widely used, the formulas vary according to the number of colors in the room.
|A 90/10% Blue and Yellow Plan|
Percentages for Two Color PlansMajor Color Minor Color
How To Make a Two Color Plan WorkIf your plan is based on close percentages like 60/40%, there should be relatively little contrast in the minor color to avoid conflict or a jarring impression. With high percentages such as the 90/10% example in this picture, you can use stronger contrast in the minor color to add a spark.
Percentages for Three Color PlansMajor Color Minor Color Accent Color
80% 15% 5%
70% 25% 5%
70% 20% 10%
60% 30% 10%
How to Make a Three Color Plan Work
With a three color plan, two of the colors must work together to create harmony in one of the following ways:
- same coolness or warmth
- same intensity (brightness or dullness)
- same value (lightness or darkness)
- by strongly sharing a common ingredient (neighbors on the color wheel, such as red and orange)
The Only Percentage to Avoid
Avoid a 50/50 color plan which creates tension because there's no winner. For any color plan to work, one color must dominate.
The Rule of (at least) ThreeWhen you pick a color, try to use it at least three times in the room. For example, if you have a sofa fabric with multiple colors, pick one to use in a cushion fabric, in a ceramic piece, and in another item, such as art or in the drapery fabric. It is this repetition of color that creates rhythm and harmony in your color plan.
|The Rule of Three in a Olive, Brown and Beige Plan|
Color Percentages - The Bottom Line
While the concept of color percentages is helpful, it can be difficult to calculate them in the real world, especially since many of us use prints with multiple colors. I say, don't bother! I consider some so-called "design rules" a starting point only. Instead of worrying too much about achieving perfect color percentages in your designs, choose a color to be dominant, one to be secondary and, if you have a three+ color plan, a couple (or more) to play supporting roles.