What is color psychology -- and can it help you sell your home?

Using Color Psychology

Painting your house white is the safest course to take if you are looking for a fast sale when you house goes on the market.
Painting your house white is the safest course to take if you are looking for a fast sale when you house goes on the market.
Kevin Cooley/Taxi/Getty Images

Color psychology can definitely be a factor in home sales, both inside and outside the home. If you have a house to sell, one of the best courses of action you can take is to apply a fresh coat of paint -- and do it before the house hits the market. This highly recommended step, however, comes with some important caveats, which we'll discuss below.

Let's focus on the exterior of the house first. It doesn't matter how much you love orange or purple -- don't paint your house those colors. When you're trying to sell a house, the most important aspect to consider is what a buyer will be looking for, so appealing to the widest pool of potential buyers should be your goal.

White is definitely the safest bet, but there's also the look of your neighborhood to consider. It's a good idea to chose colors that will blend well with the general color scheme of your neighbors' houses. One poorly painted house can ruin the value of homes up and down the street. Here's a rundown of popular potential colors for your house's new look:

  • White
  • Gray
  • Blue
  • Tan/Brown
  • Cream
  • Beige
  • Green
  • Yellow
  • Red

While some organic colors do creep into the bottom of the list, the muted neutral hues at the top are the most strongly recommended. This is for a couple of reasons. They can convey the message that your house is bright, clean and spacious. Light, neutral shades also help the house appear new and fresh. Finally, light colors are less likely to fade over time.

When it comes to the trim, shutters and doors, it's another story. Sticking with the colors listed above is still a safe bet, but you have more freedom to decide. Also, if you can't paint the entire exterior of your house, this is where you should concentrate your efforts. The front door in particular is key -- a warm, welcoming color can make a very favorable impression on possible buyers. Bright blues and reds work well.

When choosing secondary colors, keep a close watch on the way the colors interact -- it can make or break a house-painting scheme. If you don't have much of an eye for this sort of thing, consider hiring a color consultant to help you make some good matches.

Now let's step inside for a moment and consider how color psychology can stack the deck in your favor on the interior of your home. The same elements are important here -- light, neutral colors make rooms look bright and spacious, and off-white is the top choice. With a primer, it can cover any dirt, stains and out of style color schemes you might be looking to conceal.

If you can't paint all the interior areas of your home, focus on the first room buyers will enter, any problem areas and smaller rooms, which could benefit from a size-enhancing coat of paint.

Last but not least, if you've put in the time and money to have your house painted, let people know about it. Any ads, flyers or listings should mention when the new paint job took place, as well as the quality of paint used. For more information on colors and curb appeal, follow the links below.


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