Home Selling Therapy

Home Selling Tip: Color can help sell your houseOne of the fastest ways to make a big difference in your home is to add strategic color to your walls and decor. It’s the perfect weekend home selling therapy because you are in control, and within hours you can make an attractive change to your environment that can subtly influence home buyers.

Everyone has heard the dream of “settling down in a house with a white picket fence.” Notice, no one ever says they want a house with a purple picket fence. Then there’s the dream of living in a little yellow farmhouse. Again, no one dreams of living in a little beige farmhouse. Yes, color is that important and that psychologically powerful.

I once painted one wall in my family room nine times, trying to find the perfect color that would complement a grey granite fireplace, a giant Navajo rug, and three bright southwest yellow walls. By the time I finished the nine coats, including multiple layers of primer in between, I think the room was a foot smaller — but it looked glorious. The “copper penny orange” I finally found tied the room together and brought it to vivid life.

The big thing is to not be afraid of paint. Even though repainting is kind of a pain, (okay, it’s a big pain) finding the right color is worth it. However, I do offer one other critically important painting tip: Paint barefoot. You can detect even the smallest drop of paint on your foot, but if you paint while wearing shoes or socks, you’re in danger of tracking that perfect color all over your house.

Now, let’s talk about the psychology of color and how you can use it when staging a house for sale:

YELLOW – Yellow is known to have a very strong psychological impact. It lifts the spirits and is recognized as the color of optimism. Yellow can brighten any room, from a family room, kitchen or study, to dreary basement rooms that get little light. If you don’t want to go whole hog and paint an entire room yellow, you can add sunny gold accents in the form of mirrors, picture frames, lamps, artwork or a tall vase full of sunflowers.

GREEN – Quiet, neutral shades of green are reassuring, comforting colors that makes people feel balanced. This makes sense to me – it’s our nature. We evolved in a green world. In studies done on treatments for Seasonal Affective Disorder, people exposed to soft shades of green showed improved moods. Green is also recommended for those enduring frequent cold weather. If you want to impart a “green mood” whithout painting, add some soft, leafy plants to your house.

RED – Obviously red grabs attention, and it has been scientifically proven to raise a person’s pulse, energy level and to improve cognitive performance. In the book, A Thousand Days in Venice, the author, Marlena De Blasi painted her dining room a bright shade of red. Although she was warned, “It’s gonna make the space feel smaller” she countered, “Yes, the space will be warm and inviting.” And as often as we’re told to keep wall colors neutral, sometimes a shock of color will make a buyer positively remember your home above all others.

But, you don’t have to paint a room red to get that bold affect. You can use accents in the form of furniture, curtains, pillows, or place a vase of screaming red or orange flowers right where you want to attract a home buyer’s eyes.

BLUE - The wrong shade of blue can come off as cold and institutional. But a soft blue can make a bedroom into a calming retreat from a chaotic world, and a blue with grey undertones can look sophisticated in a bathroom. Blue is also known as a good thinking color, which makes it work well in a room where you plan on performing rocket science calculations or doing your taxes.

WHITE – Although white looks neat and clean, it can also look stark and untouchable. It’s also hard to unify a room with white walls. All the objects seem to be floating in their own spaces… a couch here, a lamp and picture frame there. Small spaces, however, often look better with lighter colors, so a smart trade-off is to use one of the many shades of white with a tint of a second color, such as yellow, pink or even violet. White is also a great trim color for any room, and it will always be the perfect color for a picket fence.

For hundreds of other home selling tips and advice for overcoming home selling frustration, read Home Seller’s Blues and How To Beat Them. Available in print or as an ebook from Amazon.com, or at http://www.homesellersblues.com.

Did you enjoy this post? Why not leave a comment below and continue the conversation, or subscribe to my feed and get articles like this delivered automatically to your feed reader.


These days there so many options for paint samples that you shouldn’t have to paint one wall nine times like Gale did. You can get small packets of paint to try on your walls and it is worth trying out paint! As Gale discovered, what a color may look like under fluorescent lights in a paint store can be completely different in the muted shades of an office with dim light. Ok I’ll confess, I painted my entire office twice for this very reason. Try patches of paint on each wall as the color will look different in different places.

There are great tools out there now for the not so professional painte too. Things like little rollers with wheels to go around door frames and other trim that will make your paint job look like you paid top dollar. If you’re going to do it yourself it should look like a pro did it.

When selling your home, remember you want it to appeal to the broadest group of potential buyers…so if it doesn’t look rich and lovely with your paint color or you’ve got eclectic taste that may not appeal to all…consider painting out super bright or wild colors with something more neutral prior to listing your home.

Happy Painting!

I’m a big fan of all the painting tools available today. I’ve noticed some paint lines even carry super-size sheets of sample colors so you can get a better idea of how it will look on your wall. But the bottom line still is how the room looks and feels when you walk into it after it’s fully painted. One of the nine colors I tried out when painting my accent wall was a mossy green. It looked pretty good… but something still wasn’t right. It took a day to realize the problem was that it made the room look less cheery and energetic. So, I went back to the drawing board again until I found the copper penny orange color that gave the room the oomph I was looking for. I was definitely being a perfectionist in my quest for the right color, because the green would have worked fine — but the orange turned out to be exactly what I was looking for. So the bottom line is, if you have the time and inclination to find that perfect color, go for it. Don’t be afraid to experiment a little.

When it is time to sell your home, there are things you must know about the home selling process that will help you get through the process easily. The first thing you must do, especially if you haven’t sold a home before is to hire a realtor to represent your interests. He or she will walk you through the home selling process and will contact the people who need to be contacted. Sometimes you will receive an offer for your home that is less than the price you have already set. In such cases, you need to decide if this is an offer you want to take or if you want to make a counter offer. Eventually, you and the buyer will agree on a price. You fill out some more paperwork and your house is officially sold, with a closing date set several weeks to a month or so past the date the house was sold.

Very good breakdown of paint colors when trying to sell. As a former realtor, that was a common complaint when showing most potential buyers a home. They didn’t want to have to come in and paint.

Take the approach that builders that, go neutral all throughout the home. It appeals to most people. With the market that we are in, it is necessary to get as many buyers through the door as possible.

Thank you for your comment. For many home buyers, they take a “what you see is what you get” approach, and if a home’s paint job is unattractive, they won’t look beyond it and imagine what it might look like painted another color. That’s why it’s so important for home sellers to choose attractive colors when their house is on the market.

Leave a comment