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Color Commentary: What’s the Best Hue for Selling?

First impressions are key for buyers. Try these tips for selecting new color choices that'll help seal the deal, and get you to the closing table quickly.
You may love a bold hue, but a buyer may not. Find out what colors help sell homes.

Since Goethe published Theory of Colours back in the early 1800s, color theorists have expounded on the psychological impact that certain hues have on us. And with good reason: study after study proves that we equate color with emotion.

“Color evokes an emotional response in us all — whether we know it or not,” says Maria Killam, a color expert, decorator, and author of White is Complicated: A Decorators’ Guide to Choosing the Right White. “And the colors we choose for our homes are a public representation of how we see ourselves.”

This can become problematic, however, when you want to sell your home and not every potential buyer loves that teal trim as much as you do.

So what’s a seller to do — short of repainting every room beige?

Try these tips for selecting new color choices that will have you headed toward a closing date in no time.

Start outside

While interiors are important, the exterior is the first thing buyers will see (especially if they’re just driving by your home).

“Be sure your front door, mailbox post, porch, or deck are freshly painted or stained — if the outside of your house looks weather-beaten or if there’s any sign of mold growing on the clapboards, paint the exterior too,” says Bessie Zevgaras, a broker sales associate for Coldwell Banker in Fort Lee, NJ.

When choosing an exterior hue, use your neighborhood as your guide. If you live among a sea of gray and taupe facades, red probably isn’t your best bet.

While it’s tempting to want to choose a color that will make your home stand out from the pack, it’s also important to consider how it will measure up against nearby properties.

Make it monochromatic

Stick to a single all-over neutral in your main rooms, but it’s OK to expand beyond cream or taupe.

Try a warm gray like Sherwin-Williams 7029 “Agreeable Grey” or, if you have a lot of earth tones in your décor, Sherwin-Williams 6148 “Wool Skein,” says Killam.

“It’s easier for buyers to visualize their furniture in your house if they are not influenced by a lot of busy, dark colors.”

Plus, light, neutral colors “look smashing in online photographs, which is the first place people check when searching for homes,” adds Zevgaras.

Rely on white in the kitchen

“White cabinets are the best and most timeless color for kitchens,” says Killam. “It’s much harder to know when a kitchen was installed if it’s white, which is great for resale.”

Unsure which blanc to buy? Go for a classic: Benjamin Moore OC-117 “Simply White” is an excellent choice.

Paint your bedroom blue

“There’s something calming and relaxing about blue bedrooms, and they look great with white bedding if you don’t want to commit to a new duvet cover,” says Killam.

If you’re ready to take the plunge, two winning shades are Sherwin-Williams 6204 “Sea Salt” or 6232 “Misty.”

Keep your bathrooms bright

If they’re white or cream, leave them, but if the bathrooms in your home are already a fun color, there’s no need to repaint — this is the one place that people expect (and forgive) a little personality.

Just be sure to avoid the contrast wall (painting one wall a dark color) in any room, advises Killam, which can make a space feel small.

What colors do you think are the best in a for-sale home? Share in the comments.