Improve an Off-Balance Living Room

Improve an Off-Balance Living Room
In interior decorating, the Golden Mean and the 60-30-10...Rule can give you clues on how to improve an off-balance living room.

Basic Guidelines of the 60-30-10...Rule

  • The room as a whole
    • Approximately 60% of the room is filled with furniture, windows, plants, both on the floor and extending up the walls toward the ceiling. But there's still enough "empty" space to allow the room to "breathe"
  • Furniture Placement
    • Furniture grouping uses approximately 60% of the floor space and is pulled away from the walls
  • Color
    • 60% of the room is in your predominant color
    • 30% of the furnishings are in your first accent color
    • 10% are in your second accent color
    • 5% are in your third accent color
    • Continue to reduce when adding additional color accents

  • Accessories
    • Accessories spiral down from tall to small giving your eye a smooth arc of interesting things to look at

Let's apply these guidelines to a real situation.

Living Room Before

Living Room After

Applying the 60-30-10 Rule

  • Room as a Whole
    Book shelf, ottoman and lots of little extras were removed to leave an inviting seating area that takes up no more than 60% of the room

  • Furniture Placement
    Arranging furniture so that the biggest piece, the sofa, is on the biggest wall helps all the other pieces fall into place

  • Color
    Color is good in this room. The neutral pallet is subtle and consistent. The black accents provide some contrast, a few muted greens and reds add interest and a small punch of yellow give it life

  • Accessories
    In the Before picture, your eye had to travel in a zig-zag around the room to take in everything. Now the transition between the heights of the artwork, lamps and windows is gentler. The coffee table arrangement follows the same principles incorporating objects that are tall, medium and low

Not all rooms have to be neutral (unless you're staging to sell your home). If you like more color, you can still apply the 60-30-10...Rule.

Start with your predominant color at 60%. Add a secondary color at 30% and a third at 10%. Be sure to make one of them a neutral (black. brown, white, tan, gray).

The Golden Mean and the 60-30-10 Rule with Color on the Walls
A room with lots of color that follows the 60-3-10...Rule

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Interior Decorating and the Golden Mean