When painting your home for resale,
choosing the right colors can make a huge difference in your
paycheck at closing. For instance, did you know that the
exterior color of houses selling most quickly is a certain
shade of yellow, but that choosing the wrong shade of yellow
can kill a sale?
You'll find many brochures in paint
stores, showing various combinations of exterior paint colors.
But most people don't realize that most of those combinations
actually include three colors, and not just two. Limiting your
exterior paint scheme to just two colors also limits your
For a fast sale, think fun colors
and go for a third, or even a fourth, exterior color. Think
"Disneyland Main Street," where every shop is painted in
glorious multi-colors. Adding more colors will also add
definition to the various architectural details of your home.
Use gloss or semi-gloss paint on wood trim.
The Psychology of Exterior
When choosing exterior colors, take
the sales price of your home into account. Certain colors,
especially muted, complex shades, attract wealthy or
highly-educated buyers, whereas buyers with less income or
less education generally prefer simpler colors. A complex
color contains tints of gray or brown, and usually requires
more than one word to describe, such as "sage green," as
opposed to "green."
On the other hand, simple colors are
straightforward and pure. Generally, houses in the lower price
range sell faster and for higher prices when painted in simple
colors like yellow or tan, accented by white, blue, or green
The Psychology of Interior
Using colored, rather than bland,
white walls will increase your profit potential. Lynette
Jennings tested the perception of room size and color, and
discovered that a room painted white appeared only appeared
larger to a few people when compared to an identical room
painted in color – and the perceived difference was only about
six inches! Most people also look better when surrounded by
color, and feel happier, and since buyers pick houses that
make them feel happy, that knowledge can put dollars in your
pocket at closing!
Entryways should bring the exterior
colors into the house. Repeating shades of the exterior
throughout your home will make the entire home seem to be in
harmony. Living and family rooms painted in a slightly lighter
shade of the exterior color will ensure that you've picked a
color your buyers like, because if they didn't like your
exterior colors, they wouldn't have bothered to look inside.
If they loved the exterior colors, they'll love the interior,
When choosing interior colors,
consider the use of each room. For instance, kitchen and
dining areas that are painted in “food colors,” such as coffee
browns, celery greens, and scrambled egg yellows, feel
Since, deeper shades of color imply
intimacy and serenity, I like to paint master bedrooms a
medium shade of green or blue for warm selling seasons, and
rouge red for cooler weather. Other bedrooms can be painted in
creamy tones of green, blue, or a pale shell pink. (See the
chapter on the Psychology of Color in my book "Joy to the
Home: Secrets of Interior Design Psychology" for further
Always consider your selling season
(the time of year you'll be marketing your home) and climate
when choosing colors. Estimate the amount of time you'll need
to get your home ready for sale, and then add on extra days
for unexpected delays. Use cool colors, such as blues, greens,
and grays, to sell during spring and summer, and warm colors,
such as yellows, reds, and maroons, when selling in the fall
My husband and I usually use lighter
colors when painting the exteriors of our investment
dollhouses, because it makes them appear larger. On the other
hand, our cabin in the woods looks richer when painted a
darker color. When we decided to have it painted, I considered
the usual cabin colors of dark brown and barn red, but fell in
love with Olympic’s gorgeous "Gooseberry" plum color.
When getting ready to paint your
house, look at the colors of neighboring houses and choose
colors that harmonize, yet stand out from the crowd. Colors
that clash badly with other houses will detract from the
At the beginning of the article, I
told you that homes with yellow exteriors sell the quickest.
But which shade of yellow sells best? First, the yellows to
avoid: yellows with green undertones look sickly to most
buyers, and yellows with orange undertones give buyers an
impression of cheapness.
The best-selling yellow exterior
color is actually a pale, sunny yellow, especially when
complimented with one or more carefully-chosen accent colors.
For instance, a semi-gloss white trim will give your home a
clean and fresh look, and adding a third color, such as green,
can make your home even more attractive to prospective
Colors affect human beings in many
ways, and by using the principles of Color Psychology, you can
make your home stand out from the competition, sell more
quickly, and at a higher price.
(c) Copyright 2004, Jeanette J.
Fisher. All rights reserved.
Professor Jeanette Fisher,
author of Doghouse to Dollhouse for
Dollars, Joy to the Home, and other
books teaches Real Estate Investing
and Design Psychology.