Color Me Impressed

Color Me Impressed


Sellers who don’t want to be singing the blues typically avoid painting their bathroom blue prior to listing their home. But new research reveals that that may be a mistake: in fact, residences with bathrooms painted light periwinkle or another light hue of blue sold for $5,440 more than anticipated, on average.

That’s one of several fascinating findings of a study by Zillow that suggests certain shades of paint may help hike your sales price. Other revelations: light gray walls may reap a sales price surplus of $5,400; go for “greige” (a color blend of beige and light gray) on your exterior and you may get $3,496 more than comparable homes with tan stucco or medium brown paint; a slate gray- or dark navy blue-painted front door can add $1,514 to your sales price; and plain white bathrooms sold for $4,035 less, on average, than similar homes.

Kerrie Kelly, Zillow home design expert and founder of Kerrie Kelly Design Lab in Sacramento, says the key takeaway from the aforementioned study is that homebuyers are gravitating more toward cooler, brighter colors than they had in the past.

“In almost all the rooms analyzed in our report, cooler tones of gray and blue performed very well, whereas warmer colors like yellow did not,” Kelly says. “We think this is because cooler colors evoke light and can make a space feel larger. We also learned that having some type of color on walls other than white was better than no color at all.”

The pros agree that adding a fresh coat of paint to the walls inside and outside your home is smart prior to listing.

“Painting is one of the most affordable facelifts you can give your home. Fresh paint gives the look and feel of a new home, no matter the age of the property,” says Jen Teague, Realtor with Keller Williams in Waxahachie, Texas. “If your paint is over five years old and you’re ready to sell, it’s time for a fresh coat.”

Fresh, natural-looking wall colors blend well across design styles and help prospective buyers picture themselves occupying the space.

“They also look great in listing photos and videos,” Kelly says. “Upgrading a home’s walls, particularly, from plain white, may also signal that the space is well cared for or that you have an eye for design that may translate to other areas within your home for sale.”

Dawn D. Totty, owner of Dawn D. Totty Designs in Chattanooga, Tenn., says lighter, softer neutrals are the way to go today.

“It’s always risky to work with colors that may only appeal to a select few,” Totty says. “Pigments that could be a concern for buyers are pinks and bright colors like aquas and greens.”

Add terracotta, orange and off-white to that undesirable list, too, says Ray Wheeler, owner of The Paint Manager, a painting service in Clermont, Fla.

“For the kitchen, I’d avoid yellows and lean toward light blues or gray, or green accents to complement wood cabinets,” Wheeler suggests. “Living rooms are wonderful in blues, brown accents, mint green or light grays. Stick to warm neutrals, pale greens, sky blue or blue-gray for your bathrooms, and in bedrooms consider light yellow, earthy green or tans.”

When it comes to your exterior, “a good formula to follow is warm neutral body, pale color trim, and deep-toned accent door,” Wheeler says.

Kelly notes that it’s important to select the right sheen of paint, as well.

“For bathrooms and kitchens, you want something that can withstand the humidity, hairspray and wear-and-tear, so a semi-gloss might be a good choice. And matte finishes are great for low-traffic areas like a living room or bedroom,” Kelly says.

When it comes to trim, aim for an all white satin for older trim that may have minimal wear and semi-gloss for new trim or trim in good condition, Totty says.

“For ceilings, opt for white eggshell or satin,” Totty says. “I never use a flat finish on the ceiling unless it shows signs of age and cannot be perfected.”

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