10 Paint Colors to Help Sell Your Home

Paint samples and roller
Choosing the right shade of paint can actually help you sell your home. See more real estate pictures.

First impressions are everything when selling your home. A buyer may ask questions about house maintenance, the condition of your appliances or the quality of your neighborhood and schools, but these factors pale in comparison to the feeling a buyer gets the first time he or she steps into your home. If you want to sell your house in a short amount of time and with minimum hassle, it's critical that the decor is up-to-date and attractive.

You can think of your home's color palette as an important backdrop; it sets the stage for the furnishings and decorations that give rooms their unique feel. Picking the right paint is a topic that causes frustration for many. Paint is relatively simple to apply or change, but the wrong color inside or out can turn a buyer off from the entire house. To prevent this, many real estate professionals recommend painting your home in neutral colors.


If you're still living in the home you're selling, though, does that mean you're stuck inside a bland, beige nightmare? Not necessarily. Remember, the term "neutral colors" doesn't limit you to shades of white and beige. With a little pre-planning and a sense for the effect color has on the human mind, you can use browns, greens and even bolder colors to highlight your home.

And don't forget about the exterior of your home: Painting the exterior can also help attract potential buyers, but be careful. While no one would think twice about painting a house in Florida peach or turquoise, chances are these colors would turn off potential buyers in a suburban Boston neighborhood.

Read on to learn about 10 colors that may put visitors in the buying frame of mind.

10: White Exterior

white house
You can't go wrong with white. In fact, a real estate survey found that nearly 40 percent of buyers questioned liked a house with a white exterior.

Sellers need all the help they can get in today's housing market. If the outside of your house looks weather-beaten or if there's any sign of mold growing on the lower clapboards, then you should paint the exterior. Think about it: The first thing a potential buyer sees is the color of the house. And in real estate, first impressions are everything.

In picking a color, keep in mind the character of a neighborhood. If all the houses on the street are beige and tan, don't paint your house pink. Common sense, right? Not for many people. The color should also reflect the landscape. Consider the shrubs and trees when shopping for a color.


You can't go wrong with white. White is one of the safest, and most popular colors, to paint the exterior. According to one survey, nearly 40 percent of those questioned liked white. For one thing, white can make your house look larger. White also soaks up the light in a shady yard, and is also clean-looking. One of the nice things about white is that you can paint the trim with a color that makes the entire house pop [source: Burns]. Remember too, white isn't just white; it comes in many hues.

Moreover, when choosing an exterior color, don't overlook the roof. A new roof is a major selling point. For one thing, no one wants to replace a roof -- a pricy proposition -- when they buy a house. A roof can also make a statement with color. While the most popular colors for a roof are blacks and grays, there are also reds, and greens and tans. If you're going to replace your roof prior to selling, an interesting color that complements the exterior could catch a would-be seller's eye in the right setting.

9: Beige Exterior

Yes, beige is a safe, neutral, light color to paint the exterior of a home. According to one survey, beige, along with tan and brown, is the second most popular exterior color behind white [source: Waller and Oliver]. A beige house is conservative and can blend in well with wooded or landscaped areas. Although you might think beige is dull and boring, it will take on some of the attributes of the trim color, especially greens.

However, beige might not work on all types of homes. When picking an exterior color, remember to consider the type of house. Muted colors -- i.e. beige -- might not work on a Victorian home, where bolder hues would make the interesting architectural details pop [source: Vila].


8: Earth Tones

earth tones
Earth tones like oranges, browns and blues evoke a natural and inviting ambiance that is appealing to buyers.

When it comes to interior colors, Earth tones, including shades of brown, green, blue, orange, and some reds and tans depict the colors in nature, and they're warm and inviting colors for living rooms and dining rooms. Because they're flat and muted, they're soothing and relaxing and work well with most colors and tones. Earth tones also complement rooms with a lot of wood, stone, metal or glass [source: Artsparx.com].

Coffee, in all of its shades and textures, is a popular Earth tone that is a great match for stained hardwood floors, wicker furniture and rattan. Coffee is also a rugged color that can be accented with forest greens, muted reds and touches of white [source: Accent Realty]. And dark colors, such as espresso, are wonderful to warm up small rooms.


7: Neutral Colors

Neutral colors sound like a big snooze, right? Sure they do. But the point is to sell your house, not style it for a spread in "Martha Stewart Living." Everyone, from real estate agents to decorators, recommend painting the interior of your house in neutral colors. Why is that? For one thing, a new home buyer always sees dollar signs. They don't want to buy a house and then have to spend additional money to fix it up or paint it. Moreover, some people have very strong reactions to bright colors. Neutrals will keep the "yuck" factor to a minimum.

Neutral colors, such as creams, also make a home look smashing in online photographs, which is the first place people check when searching for a house to buy. However, like everything else, there are exceptions to the rule. Unlike dining rooms or living rooms, bathrooms can be painted in more fun and whimsical colors [source: AZ Central]. And, don't make the mistake of painting the entire interior of your house white. You might think that white is a neutral color. It's not. White is a bright, and bright is not always beautiful [source: Gulliksen].


6: Gray

gray paint
The right shade of gray combined with bright accessories can make a space look sophisticated and modern.

Gray shades have gained in popularity over the last few years as go-to choices for decorators wanting to add chic, urban sophistication to their rooms. When combined with furniture and trim in light, neutral shades, a dark gray accent can become a bold focal point. In addition, the right decor and gray wall combination can work well with a handful of bright, colorful accents, such as a shiny green lamp or metallic red chair.

But this bold style isn't for everyone, and it can come across as imposing if a buyer isn't expecting it. The key to using gray effectively when selling your home is to pair the right shade with your home's overall feel. If you're selling a trendy urban loft, for example, you may be able to use a dark gray to enhance the effect of sleek, modern furnishings. The same color would look completely out of place in a traditional home with conservative furnishings. In that case, you could use a light gray to bring a feeling of coolness to a bedroom (since many grays border on shades of blue, their calming effects can be similar) [source: Demesne].


5: Orange and Red

If you're going to use oranges and reds, then for the love of money, make sure the hues are soft and appealing. Oranges and reds work especially well in the kitchen, which is the feel-good room of the house. These colors make people think about food. They also help to create a festive, vibrant atmosphere [source: Gulliksen].

If you'd like to grab a buyer's attention, then yellow is another great color for the kitchen, especially if there's a lot of sunlight streaming through the windows. Like red and orange, yellow reminds people of food. It also has a clean and airy summerlike feeling. Yellow can be combined with red or green accents on chairs and small appliances, which also helps create a playful mood [source: Arieff].


4: Blue

Bedroom with light blue walls
Light shades of blue can have a soothing effect and are perfect in a bedroom.

Some rooms of a house are reserved for reflection, quiet contemplation and rest. Every home has a bedroom, study or child's room where the decor should create a cool, soothing environment. To bring about the best in these rooms of your house, consider using a shade of blue to enhance the mood.

Blue, especially in its lighter shades, has a strong soothing effect on many people. It brings to mind images of clear, still days or the vast, meditative expanse of sky over the seashore. Blue walls in a room that gets a lot of natural light can take visitors back to a favorite beach or ski trip, and this pleasant experience can affect their impression of the entire room.


Dark blue can provide a regal, sophisticated feel when used as an accent wall color, but use caution when trying that effect in a home you're selling. A deep blue can turn off some visitors as being too dark and ominous. For the home sale, stick with lighter blues, and use them to tone down overly bright rooms with a soothing, cooling effect [source: Demesne].

3: Yellow

An all-white room, or one painted in a light beige or brown, may come off feeling cold and flat; those tones reflect plenty of natural light, but their lack of color can create a feeling of emptiness. To remedy this problem, consider using a shade of yellow to bring a welcome level of warmth to the room.

Yellow evokes images of sunlight, summer and clear, bright days when paired with white trim. When used with darker accents, such as stained cabinetry, the color can radiate the warmth of a kitchen full of home-baked breads and cookies. Which mood you want to create depends on your home's design. Imagine the house as a stage: Would one of these colors fit better in the theatrical scene you would most like to create?


As with many bright colors, there is such a thing as too much yellow when preparing your home for sale. Stay away from glaring chromatic yellows, which may bring a sense of frantic intensity -- rather than happy warmth -- to your visitors' minds [source: Demesne].

2: Brown

Living room with light brown walls
Dark furniture can bring extra warmth to a room with light brown walls.

If there's one surefire range of colors on this list, it's brown. After all, the beige that real estate professionals love falls on the lighter end of this range. But don't write off brown as boring: By playing with the full range of browns in your decorating, you can be both safe and visually exciting as you prepare your home for sale [source: Furniture & Design Ideas].

Brown, in its lightest shades, can provide subtle warmth and fix the problem of glare that often comes with an all-white room. As shades darken into sandy hues, brown becomes an effective color to bring a rich glow to a room. At its darkest shades, brown can be a comforting, cozy accent that keeps a room from feeling too large.


Truly dark shades of brown should be saved for accents, such as a striking sofa or bookcase. Too much dark brown can give a room a cave-like feeling -- just think about the dreary, wood-paneled dens from the 1970s and '80s. Some homeowners like this effect, but for selling, you're much safer using a light brown as your main color and accents of darker hues to draw the eye into the space.

1: Green

As far as colors go, green sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. Too dark, and it seems blue or brown. Too light, and it might seem yellow. But in the middle of these extremes lies a versatile color that can help bring out the best in several design scenarios [source: Better Homes and Gardens].

Much like yellow, green in its lighter shades can bring a cheery, country coziness to a room with white trim. Pairing a green accent wall and decor items with a room that's mostly white can create a playful atmosphere that's perfect for a children's room. In its deeper shades, green is an excellent complement to natural-finished cabinetry; the combinations of wood stain and green hues are nearly endless. If you choose the right colors, your cabinets will glow with radiant warmth that invites visitors into a kitchen or cozy sitting room [source: Demesne].

Deep green can be extremely elegant, but it's best used sparingly in a house for sale. A dark green accent can add warmth to a tile backsplash, but too much deep green has the same dark, den-like effect as too much dark brown in a room. If a space could work with a darker green accent, consider a hue that has some blue in it: Blue-green shades can have a calming effect similar to shades of purer blue [source: Demesne].

For more information on real estate and selling your home, check out the links on the next page.

Paint Colors Sell House FAQ

What house colors sell best?
White is one of the safest and most popular colors to paint the exterior of your house. White is clean-looking and can actually make your house look larger.
Does paint color matter when selling a house?
A buyer's first impression is everything when you're trying to sell your home. Paint color influences the feeling a buyer will get the first time they step inside, so it's best to choose colors that appeal to the masses.
What color kitchen sells a house?
Many design professionals believe that warm gray or classic white tones are the best choice for a kitchen if you're looking to sell your home. These colors are inviting, but also give a sense of cleanliness and style.
What is the best interior paint color for selling a house?
Everyone, from real estate agents to decorators, recommends painting the interior of your house in neutral colors like whites, grays, and creams. You can have a bit more fun with color in a bathroom where a color like blue will still appeal to buyers.
What is the color of the year for 2021?
Pantone chose a neutral gray called "Ultimate Gray" and a vibrant yellow named "Illuminating" as its colors of the year for 2021. Benjamin Moore, a popular paint brand, announced that "Aegean Teal" — a soft, soothing blue-green — is its 2021 color of the year.
What interior color is the worst to paint a house?
Anything too bright can repel buyers, but as a general rule, avoid painting walls in shades of oranges or reds. If a paint color is going to be difficult to cover when it's time to repaint, you may be better off not choosing that color to begin with.

Lots More Information

Related Articles

  • Accent Realty. "Coffee Colors Throughout the Home." Oct. 18, 2010. (Jan. 13, 2012). http://www.accentrealtyltd.com/tag/paint-colors-to-sell-your-home/
  • Arieff, Irwin. "Bold-Color Kitchen Makeover." This Old House. (Jan. 13, 2012). http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,20314260_20693439,00.html
  • Artsparx.com. "Creating Color Schemes." (Jan. 12, 2012). www.artsparx.com/colorsforinteriors.asp
  • Better Homes and Gardens. "What's the Magic Color for Selling Your House?" (Feb. 19, 2011) http://www.bhgrealestate.com/Live/Make-Over/Color/What-s-the-Magic-Color-for-Selling-Your-House-.html
  • Burns, Jo. "The Best-Selling Exterior House Colors." San Francisco Chronicle. (Jan. 11, 2012). http://homeguides.sfgate.com/best-selling-exterior-house-colors-3180.html
  • Demesne. "Choosing Interior Color." 2010. (Feb. 20, 2011) http://www.demesne.info/Improve-Your-Home/Choosing-Interior-Color.htm
  • Furniture & Design Ideas. "Interior Paint Colors." July 25, 2009. (Feb. 20, 2011)http://www.furnitureanddesignideas.com/how-to-diy-furniture/interior-paint-colors/
  • Gillette, J. Michael. "Theatrical Design and Production." Third Edition. Mayfield Publishing Company. 1987.
  • Gulliksen, Josie. "Interior Paint Colors That Help Sell Your House." AOL Real Estate. July 15, 2010. http://realestate.aol.com/blog/2010/07/15/sell-your-home-with-these-paint-colors/
  • Kenderdine, Anne. "Neutral paint colors help homes sell faster." AZCentral.com. May 20, 2009. (Feb. 12, 2011) http://www.azcentral.com/style/hfe/decor/articles/2009/05/20/20090520neutrals.html
  • Vila, Bob and Howard, Hugh. "How to Select a Paint Color." Bob Vila.com. (Jan. 12, 2012). http://www.bobvila.com/articles/367-how-to-select-a-paint-color/pages/1
  • Waller, Ed and Oliver, Budda. "Tips for Choosing Exterior Paint Colors." House Paint Color Schemes. (Jan. 12, 2012). http://www.housepaintcolorschemes.com/howto/exterior-paint-colors-tips