Paint Color to Sell Your Home - It isn't White!! Portland Home Stager Shares Paint Color Tips

For decades, the conventional wisdom when getting ready to sell your house was to paint all the walls back to white. But that is SO yesterday!  White .... the color of snow & ice ... does absolutely nothing to warm up a house. It doesn't highlight architectural features and it doesn't enhance the colors of your wood, granite or other finishes. To sell your property today, you need to use soft warm decorator colors that are current. That way they not only look beautiful in the home, but will go with the existing furnishings of your prospective buyers and remind them of the beautiful new furnishings and colors they have been eyeing at the stores in anticipation of their new home.

devine olive devine mocha devine reflection devine cocoa devine birch

A professional paint color consultation by an Accredited Staging Professional will help you paint out the colors that turn buyers off and select ones that appeal to them.

Accent Walls:    Do you know which walls should be accented? Where should the accent color start and stop? An accent wall can create or enhance a focal point or it can highlight architectural interest. It might be the wall with the fireplace, built in shelving, or the wall that soars up two stories. Selecting the wrong wall for your accent can pull focus away from important features of your house or even make a room feel unbalanced, which most people sense as a vague feeling of discomfort in the room, even if they can't put their finger on why it feels that way.

Red Walls:    I'm afraid that the news here is you need to paint those out! Although many people like to paint dining rooms red, and I see them all the time, red walls stop most buyers in their tracks. Any broker will tell you ... well, they'll tell you if they aren't afraid of losing your listing by offending you ... that they get negative feedback when showing properties that have bold red walls of any shade. Red is a tough sell. Why leave something in your home that has the potential to turn off so many people? A good stager can mitigate some of that impact through the use of art and accessories ... but doing both the painting and the staging will give you the most attractive results.
    The same goes for any bright, bold or "too deep" colors. If the color names "sunny yellow" "hunter green" "peach" "federal blue" "maroon" or "burgundy" can be used to describe any of your rooms, then a paint color consultation is in your future.
    Don't take it personally, and don't fool yourself, into thinking the colors can stay because guests in your home over the years "always say they love my: bright yellow kitchen, red dining room, hunter green family room, _________________ "(fill in the blank with your personal boldly colored room). The problem here is that when guests come over they aren't thinking of living in your house! And I too, would have to paint out my own accent walls if I put my house on the market. It has nothing to do with having good or bad taste. It's all about wide appeal.

The "Right" Colors: 
   If I could tell you here the exact colors to use, I would do it ... but it isn't that simple. When I choose paint colors for a property going on the market, I look at the wood tones in floors, doors & moldings, and also consider any finishes such as granite colors, fireplace stones, carpeting, tiles, amount of light and exterior house colors as well. The colors of the house should flow from the outside to the inside and the colors in all rooms should work well enough together (not change radically) so that as you walk through the property, you always feel you are in the same house.
    Colors that are soft and a little "smoky" or "creamy" work better than very pure colors. Think of colors like toast - caramel - taupe - sage & muted water colors.

Finishes:     The right finish - satin - eggshell - flat - will make a difference too. In general flat, or matte finishes are very forgiving if your walls are not in perfect condition. They also look the most "true" to color because they don't reflect a lot of light. Satin or eggshell finish paints have a little more of a sheen to them. They show imperfections in the walls so you need to prep your walls more carefully. They are very good for kitchen & baths where the walls may need to be cleaned more often. Use semi-gloss for moldings. High Gloss paint is generally best for painting cabinetry.

Sustainable:        Remember to select paints that are "Green" --- no I don't mean the color! There's just no excuse not to use paints with zero or low VOC's. They are readily available and only run about $5 mor per gallon than the ones with the nasty chemicals. Your prospective buyers will be happy that they don't smell your new paint, and most of them will consider it a positive point about your property. Devine Color and Yolo Colorhouse are two locally produced, eco-friendly paint lines and I recommend them both! The paint color samples at the top of this post are from Devine Color. Both brands are sold at Powell Paint Center in Portland.

If you are in the Portland area and are getting ready to sell, call for your professional paint color consultation! Or, if you just want to freshen up your home, then a paint color consultation can help you select the right colors for your personal taste and style.

Call today at 503.816.4394

View our portfolio at Pangaea Interior Design.

Pangaea Interior Design is a full service design firm offering:

  • Paint Color Selection
  • Home Staging
  • Space Planning
  • Window Treatments
  • Re-Design
  • Durable Finishes Selection
  • Custom Furniture Design



Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Mark Alexandria 12/20/2009 10:51 PM
  2. Rita Minion 12/21/2009 09:12 PM
  3. Dr. Stacey-Ann Baugh 12/22/2009 12:35 PM
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Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

This is a great post to help us educate sellers.  It's always helpful to have backup information at our ready!  Thanks!

Aug 30, 2009 11:30 AM #12
Laurie Calhoun
Gloria Home Staging, Inc. - Winter Springs, FL
Seminole County FL Home Stager

This is a beautifully, tactfully written post! I especially like this part: "The problem here is that when guests come over they aren't thinking of living in your house!" So well put! Guests may enjoy an evening in your lime green family room, but they wouldn't want to live there! I'm putting that one in my memory bank to use when needed. Thanks!

Aug 30, 2009 01:59 PM #13
John Novak
Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace - Las Vegas, NV
Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate

The depth of your explanation really shows your expertise, and I like how you 'soften' your suggestions along the way. Very well written post!

Aug 30, 2009 02:07 PM #14
Pangaea Interior Design Kitchen & Bath Design, Remodeling
Portland Oregon - Portland, OR

Cathy - I like "smokey" too ... or "muted". Grayed down always sounds drab, doesn't it?

Sharon - Thanks! Glad it is helpful.

Laurie - I have come up with that explanation from personal experience. I have to laugh that you mentioned "lime green". My friends actually call it "Pangaea Green"! I will confess to having what I actually call "Acid Green" accent walls in my own home. I also have a Giant 30" x 30" black & white photo of my husband making a funny face in my entryway on one of those acid green walls. Have I mentioned we have a sense of humor? People absolutely love my place when they see it. But I know perfectly well that NONE of them would choose these colors in their own home.

Just for fun ... here's a photo of my acid green entryway wall with my husband's portrait & friends of ours trying to make the same face. This is probably a mistake! I may never get another design or staging job in my life after people see this. But it gets people laughing as soon as they walk in the door. I think that's a good thing.

So, whaddya think? If my house goes on the market, shall I repaint that wall and change the art? LMAO

Acid green wall & Miles' Portrait

Aug 30, 2009 02:20 PM #15
Laurie Calhoun
Gloria Home Staging, Inc. - Winter Springs, FL
Seminole County FL Home Stager

Pangaea, that's too funny that I hit the nail on the head with lime green! I just picked one of the least likely colors I could think of for a family room. But I guess it takes all kinds to make a world, and you make the world a very colorful place! I love the photo of your husband -- what a fun way to welcome people to your home! (But it comes down as soon as the home goes on the market...)

Aug 30, 2009 02:28 PM #16
Pangaea Interior Design Kitchen & Bath Design, Remodeling
Portland Oregon - Portland, OR

Laurie - I think "least likely" would describe a lot of the things I come up with. LOL Here's a little shot of the family room ... the "Pangaea green" is actually in the kitchen, but it's there. So now you see I really mean it when I tell clients I'd have to change a lot of things too.

My family room with acid green & red accents.

Aug 30, 2009 02:37 PM #17
Terrylynn Fisher
Dudum Real Estate Group - - Walnut Creek, CA
HAFA Certified, EcoBroker, CRS, CSP Realtor, Etc.

Color 101...great blog post.  And a reminder that another eye is always helpful when getting your home ready to sell.  And your point is well taken, you'd even have to paint if you were putting your home on the market, most of us would have to even if we don't have Acid Green...heheheh. 

Aug 30, 2009 03:51 PM #18
Kym Hough
www.Staged-to-Sell - Danville, CA
Staged to Sell East Bay - Danville, CA

Good blog...I had a client paint her entire inside of the home ultra white. I walked in and needed sun glasses. We did some accent walls and it helped a lot!

Aug 30, 2009 06:29 PM #19
Donna Dazzo
Designed to Appeal, LLC - Manhattan, NY
Home Stager in the Hamptons & New York

Great post!  I can't tell you how many times a homeowner proudly tells me before I've gotten there that they've just finished painting their walls white in anticipation of selling!!  I have to diplomatically tell them that white is actually NOT a good choice in that it's stark and cold and there are so many neutral colors that could have been used that would warm up the space, without overwhelming it or detracting from the space. 

And recently, I went to do a vacant staging estimate on a studio apartment, and the homeowner had painted one wall a "sunny yellow", aka, a BRIGHT yellow.  He, too, thought that was a good thing.  He thought it would brighten up the space, which didn't get a lot of natural sunlight.  Once again, I had to explain that more muted colors, as you said above, would have been more appropriate and appealing to a broad range of buyers.

yellow studio

Aug 31, 2009 12:33 PM #20
Pangaea Interior Design Kitchen & Bath Design, Remodeling
Portland Oregon - Portland, OR

Terilynn - thanks. Yes, very few of us are exempt.

Kym & Donna - Sounds like sunglasses are something we should all carry on us when we go check out homes. Donna, your client is right --- technically speaking --- it is very bright in there. :0)


Aug 31, 2009 12:41 PM #21
Michele Hess
Simply Staged Inc. - Rockford, IL
Home Stager Rockford - Simply Staged Inc

Although it may be hard to hear, it is great advice for home sellers Pangaea!  By the way, love the green in your home for living - how fun!!

Aug 31, 2009 10:40 PM #22

I love your green wall!  I have a rhubarb wall in my entry which looks fabulous, and of course it will have to be re-painted if we ever list our home.

Great post and I fully agree with your recommendations.  A client has just painted over their yellow walls and replaced it with Old Montreal - a lovely colour which works in a variety of lighting conditions.  They liked the yellow, however I pointed out it would be a difficult colour to work with seller's furnishings.

Sep 01, 2009 07:17 AM #23
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Pangaea- I bookmarked this one!  Very educational for consumers and fellow stagers.  I think it's refreshing and important to let our Sellers know that we're just like they are in that, were we to sell our homes, we'd have to make the same changes they're making.  BTW I love your Pangaea green wall with the photo!!!

Sep 05, 2009 04:54 AM #24
Pangaea Interior Design Kitchen & Bath Design, Remodeling
Portland Oregon - Portland, OR

Sharon - Rhubarb sounds like a great color. I love dramatic entryway accent walls --- for living!

Michele & Kathy - Thank you. See what I mean? You both love my green wall ... but it would be another story entirely if you were thinking of living at my house. So, I guess neither one of you are planning on moving in with me?

Sep 05, 2009 05:55 AM #25
Kimberly Uksik
Independent - Pickering, ON
Home Stager - Durham, Toronto, On.

Pangaea ~ Great post and advice.  I love the color swatches you provided

Sep 15, 2009 12:45 AM #26
Sheila Kennedy
J29 Project - Rochester, NY

Pangaea I love this post.  You nailed it right on the head.  I have two staging challenges currently and they both have to do with color.  One home is too dark and one is bright white.  People just aren't sure they want to paint yet.  I think I will show this post to both of them so they know I am not crazy!

Sep 25, 2009 02:50 PM #27
Roy Giordano
RE/MAX Central, Marlboro, Manalapan, Freehold, Old Bridge NJ - Marlboro, NJ
Top Agent Marlboro NJ, Marlboro/Manalapan Homes

Hi Pangaea,

Great post - lots of great tips. I think it's time to add some color in my own house.

Thanks for posting


Nov 18, 2009 02:53 PM #28
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Funny story about red dining rooms.  As an agent when I got ready to sell my own home I repainted the dining room wall to a nice pleasing beige.  The new buyer was a lovely and couldn't wait to invite me over to see what she had done to the house (it was also the house I grew up in.)

She had painted the dining room walls red...the exact same color that I had so carefully primed and repainted.  I couldn't help but laugh.

Dec 20, 2009 11:24 PM #29
Pangaea Interior Design Kitchen & Bath Design, Remodeling
Portland Oregon - Portland, OR

Sheila - I hope the post convinces your clients.

Cindy - That's a great story! Just don't tell it to any of the clients you're trying to convince to paint more neutral tones before selling. :0)

Dec 21, 2009 02:25 AM #30
Rita Minion
O'Brien Realty - Solomons, MD


Thank you for this wonderful post!  Very well written and informative.  Happy Holidays!



Dec 21, 2009 09:10 PM #31
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