You don’t need a degree in interior design to make your home pop– just an understanding of how to work with color. Knowing how to strategically combine and contrast colors in your everyday living space can help you achieve a variety of effects, whether you’re looking for a monochrome, minimalistic vibe or a colorful, maximalist one. Below are a few tips to consider when planning your decor.

The 60-30-10 Rule

Love to Know describes the 60/30/20 rule as a means of divvying up color usage in interior design: your main color should take precedence over the others, taking up about 60% of the room. The secondary color takes up about half of that scheme, and the accent color even less. The purpose of these colors is to create contrast– none should distract from one another, with the accent color creating the most contrast with the main and secondary hues. Even if that accent is only 10% of a room’s design, it should still stand out and “pop”. Of course, this isn’t a rule that needs to be followed to an absolute tee to be effective; creating a general theme following this rule will still net you a cohesive overall feel. You also don’t have to follow this exact ratio if you’re looking for a more unconventional color palette, as is the case in a lot of maximalist designs; there are some arguments to be made for breaking the rules, as writer Catherine Rasgaitis argues.

Complimentary Colors

Chances are, you’ve heard of complementary colors– they’re a popular choice for school and team colors, for instance, given their high contrast. They’re colors that are opposite one another on the color wheel, a primary component of color theory. If you’re following the 60-30-10 rule of having three colors in your overall scheme, then you can use color theory to add a third color into the mix, helping to ease the contrast and create a greater sense of cohesiveness. Along with complimentary colors, there’s also the complete opposite: analogous colors, or groups of colors that are next to one another on the color wheel. Typically, these groupings consist of three colors, although you can expand this number to include more like hues. Using analogous colors will create a palette that isn’t as highly contrasting, but also not quite monochromatic, allowing for both some variety and consistency.

Breaking the Rules

As was mentioned earlier, breaking the rules of interior design and even color theory itself can net interesting and compelling results. Decor Aid recommends following your heart when it comes to crafting the perfect visual space, and if it means throwing the rules out the window and painting a small space with dark colors or mismatching wood finishes, then so be it. As the saying often goes, it helps to know the rules before you break them, but at the end of the day, the perfect room is the one that makes you happy.