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60-30-10 Rule: How Premium Wood Fits Into This Golden Rule for Color Palettes

60 30 10 Design Rule Swatch Featuring Thermally Modified Woods Collection VG Hemlock Shiplap

It’s not as if Milissa Morgan-Ching uses a calculator to figure out exactly how much of each color she should use. Yet, many of her home designs follow the time-honored 60-30-10 rule:

That’s 60% of a space in one color, 30% in another and 10% as an accent. It’s a golden rule of thumb that validates Morgan-Ching’s natural eye.


“What I do just inherently is lean toward picking three colors,” said the woman behind Milissa Morgan Design. “Most people are drawn to images that follow this principle.


“The three colors are definitely a great foundation to build off of.”

60 30 10 Design Rule Swatch Featuring Native Woods Alpine Shiplap


Take a look at the front porch of Morgan-Ching’s own home outside Seattle,   Wash., for example. Creams on the wall and ceiling make up the dominant color for the space while gray trim and the  floor provide a secondary color – leaving the black as a stand-out accent.


Morgan-Ching used a similar color  palette for her back porch. In both cases, the dominant creams keep the space light, bright and inviting – even on those frequent rainy days in the Pacific Northwest.


“I find myself gravitating toward my 60% being the lighter color, but I love doing designs where my 60% is a dark, moody color (such as a dark green, rich burgundy or even a charcoal black),” she said. “For someone that lives in sunny California or Arizona, using a deeper color for that 60% can make a lot of sense because it’s so bright and light outside.


“What I usually do is take whatever my dominant 60% is and make a contrasting color my 10%.”


Take a look at these other examples of the 60-30-10 rule:

Inside her home, Morgan-Ching used another UFP-Edge wood product to follow the 60-30-10 rule.  On the wall of her son’s bedroom, for example, she installed our Rustic Collection charcoal shiplap as a main color to contrast with the white trim and custom-built bed. She used the same boards on a wall of her husband’s home office, too, as a secondary color to go with the dominant white and the gray accents in that room.

60 30 10 Design Rule Swatch Featuring Thermally Modified Woods Collection Lost Trail Shiplap

Another great option, especially for home exteriors, is Thermally Modified Wood Collection cladding. The home pictured   at right near Akron, Ohio presents an eye-catching assortment of color by   using the premium wood boards in the Lost Trail stain and installed vertically.

Thermally Modified Wood Collection and Native Woods shiplap come prepainted   in a variety of on-trend  colors and feature a tongue-and-groove profile with end matching for fast installation and little waste.

“The products are so user friendly,” Morgan-Ching said. “I have friends who come over and see my house and say, ‘It’s so amazing. Who did you have come in to do the work?’ And I get to say, ‘No, we did the work ourselves!’”

Check out our free downloadable 60-30-10 Design Color Rule Guide for more information and examples. 


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