Ugly paint jobs are a distracting klaxon for homebuyers. That’s not to say that Day-Glo orange bedrooms, purple kitchens, and dark brown bathrooms are homely, but they aren’t pretty either. Fair or not, buyers remember things that stick in their minds, and those bright colors will leave an indelible mark on the mind.
Like in nature, where bright, garish colors warn animals to stay away, a flawed color palette in a home warns buyers to keep a wide berth. It’s not an overstatement to say that your home’s palette can determine whether you make the sale or not.
As you prepare to sell your home, we want to make choosing the best paint easier for you, so we selected colors that you should consider. These colors are from HomeLight’s Top Agent Insights Reports and other reputable sources.
What you’re trying to do is you’re trying to open your house up to more buyers. You want to appeal to as many buyers as possible. The more buyers interested in your home, the more likely you will get top of the market range.
- Janet Anderson Real Estate AgentCloseJanet Anderson Real Estate Agent at Keller Williams Realty Currently accepting new clients
- Years of Experience 17
- Transactions 274
- Average Price Point $477k
- Single Family Homes 250
Rules of thumb: Painting before you sell
Before we jump into the best paint colors for selling a house, let’s talk about some general rules you should follow as you select paint colors.
99% of the time, choose one neutral color
As a seller, you can’t go wrong with a neutral color.
Neutral colors jumpstart the imagination and inspiration of your potential buyer, which allows them to imagine your home with their furniture and style. In HomeLight’s Top Agent Insights Report for Q1 2020, 98% of top agents surveyed agreed that neutral color schemes are the most popular with buyers.
But what color is the undisputed heavyweight champ? It’s white.
Janet Anderson, a top real estate agent who sells properties 27% faster than average in Tracy, California, explains “white is very popular” because it provides your buyers with a blank canvas with which to work.
Additionally, Fixr, a home improvement resource company, surveyed 64 interior design experts and found that 81% prefer whites and creams as the best colors when preparing a house to sell. Greens make an appearance on their trend list as well.
The versatility of neutral colors (primarily white) appeals to the broadest swath of buyers and suits an enormous range of interior design palettes and styles.
Commit to an undertone
Each paint color has an underlying, subdued, or muted tone called an undertone. The undertone may be cool, warm, or neutral.
Cool shades are slightly blue, green, or violet, and produce a calm feeling. That’s why blue is a good bedroom color. Warm undertones have a subtle red, orange, or yellow base and generate a cheery, inviting atmosphere. They also accentuate the effects of natural light. Finally, neutral undertones balance between cool and warm shades.
For expert guidance on how to use undertones, top real estate agent Pamella Knapp offers advice from her experience of selling homes 66% quicker than the average agent in Kalamazoo, Michigan, “What we usually say is if your floors have any kind of brown or blonde-like tone to them, you want to do a beige color. If you have any sort of a cool color or more of a yellow-y, gray tone on the floors, we encourage people on the walls to do a really, really light gray.”
Follow neighborhood trends
Look to your neighbors for inspiration. While you may love your magenta exterior paint and purple accents, no one wants to buy the bruise-colored house in the neighborhood.
The nail that sticks out indeed gets hammered down, and in the case of your house, that could mean no one will buy it. “What you’re trying to do is you’re trying to open your house up to more buyers. You want to appeal to as many buyers as possible. The more buyers interested in your home, the more likely you will get top of the market range,” Anderson explains.
Your home might sell, but if it is discordantly colored, you may not get your full asking price.
Best paint colors for selling a house by room (interior)
Painting your home is among the easiest and most cost-efficient ways to increase your home’s value and provide a high return on investment (ROI). Anderson advises sellers to put their best foot forward to secure buyers, who are likely looking at multiple properties. One way to make your house stand out is to apply a fresh coat of paint.
HomeLight’s Top Agent Insights Report for New Year 2022 explains that, on average, “fresh paint adds an estimated $7,571 in resale value for a 152% ROI. Here is a list of things to remember when you decide to paint.
Keep it consistent
When you select paint colors for the interior, Anderson champions the efficacy of neutral colors. Choose one neutral paint color for the primary living areas, including:
- Living room
- Family room
- Dining room
In general, you should use neutral colors, contrast, and the contrast between light and dark when you match your walls to your flooring.
You can add floor lamps and brighter bulbs to brighten darker rooms. “Most people don’t want their house super, super-bright on the day-to-day, but when you go to sell, it’s really wise to get much brighter bulbs if you feel that your house is a bit dark. Those small things can make a really big impact,” Knapp shares.
Common areas: Living room, dining room, and hallways
When in doubt, write it out. Anderson notes that although grays and greens make appearances – whites and off whites remain popular.
Choose a beige or greige if white, gray, or green don’t match your home’s flooring, trim, or architectural style.
Best white paints
- Intense White by Benjamin Moore: This off-white is versatile enough to be used on all interior walls. The gray undertones make it an excellent and elegant pick for your home.
- Pure White by Sherwin-Williams: The popularity of this color comes from its neutral undertones and ability to brighten rooms.
- Strong White by Farrow & Ball: This gray-based white works in modern and traditional homes.
Best gray paints
- Agreeable Gray by Sherwin-Williams: Grays are still popular for interior walls. In HomeLight’s Top Agent Insights for Q1 2020, 79% of top agents reported that buyers prefer gray. While its popularity may be waning, gray is still a safe, neutral color to use.
- Abalone by Benjamin Moore: A light, neutral gray, Abalone pairs well with a wide range of interior colors and wood stains.
- Silverpointe by Sherwin-Williams: Silverpoint combines silver and gray to create a cool shade that gives a room a sleek appearance.
Best beige paints
- Accessible Beige by Sherwin Williams: This high-quality paint’s gray undertone helps it resist UV damage, fading, and does not appear yellow in the sun.
- Stone Hearth by Benjamin Moore: Part of their Classic Color Collection, this beige is neutral with shades of gray and is functional in any room.
Other paint options
- Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore: With a light reflectance value (LRV) of 55.51, this light gray and beige combination makes your walls project serenity.
- Alpaca by Sherwin-Williams: The color is a cool greige and is part of Sherwin-Williams’ Top 50 Colors product line.
Paint your kitchen walls the same shade as the other common areas. Add color dimensions with different shades for cabinets and the island. Knapp explains that white cabinets are always a safe bet.
“White is universal. People love white. If you’re going to tackle painting the cabinets on your own, it’s tough. So I encourage you not to do that unless you’re skilled.”
To make your kitchen pop with color, paint your kitchen island navy blue or gray. An accent-colored island gives your kitchen a trendy look without a huge commitment. In the grand scheme of things, an island is much easier to repaint than cabinets.
Best white paint colors for the cabinets
- White Dove by Benjamin Moore: This soft white paint excels on cabinets with its slight gray undertone.
- Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore: If your kitchen benefits from lots of natural light, this paint might be your best option. The bluish-gray shade creates just the right hue to make your cabinets pop.
- Alabaster by Sherwin-Williams: Alabaster is Sherwin-Williams’ answer to White Dove. It is similar but has a slightly warmer shade.
Best island accent colors
- Cyberspace by Sherwin-Williams: A deep navy blue and gray works well with white cabinets and countertops.
- Gauntlet Gray by Sherwin-Williams: If you want to adopt a more neutral color for your island, Gauntlet Gray may work for you. The upside is that this neutral tone will most likely appeal to more buyers. Be sure to match the undertone in the gray to your countertops and cabinets for best results.
You have options with your powder room. As a seller, you can choose to use the same color from other common areas or bring in a new color for added flair.
Wallpaper is even making a comeback; Fixr’s survey of 64 industry influencers and experts augur that wallpaper will be a popular way to incorporate new colors, and 88% of those experts believe that the powder room is the best place for wallpaper.
If wallpaper feels too permanent for you, never fear! The same report indicates that warm neutrals, shades of gray, and soft, warm colors trail only white in popularity for interior paints.
Best paint colors for accent powder rooms
- Sweater Weather by Sherwin-Williams: This paint color balances warmth and relaxation, making it incredibly adaptable to your needs.
- Kendall Charcoal by Benjamin Moore: To get the most out of this darker gray, you need to pair it with white accents, cabinets, and trim.
- October Mist by Benjamin Moore: This paint color is Benjamin Moore’s color of the year and is slated to be a popular addition for pandemic weary people who yearn to be in nature. You can tap into that longing with your nifty accented powder room.
The Pew Research center conducted a study of work habits and found that 59% of people work from home all or most of the time. That means millions of people are still teleworking. All those people need a workplace, so there is a corresponding demand for inventory with home offices.
Anderson advises painting home offices white, just like other interior rooms. Home offices significantly benefit from white because it’s “just such a great clean color.”
Primary and secondary bedrooms
Knapp recommends that you paint bedrooms the same neutral color as the common areas.
“I will say that in bedrooms, people are typically the most forgiving because in bedrooms typically people are going to want to coordinate with their bedding as opposed to the main rooms or family room.”
That means white is probably the best color (remember the blank canvas appeal), but other colors might help you sell. Communication is vital, so take the time to chat with your real estate agent about your bedroom color before making significant decisions.
Best paint colors for selling a house (exterior)
You’ve followed this guide or taken advice from a top agent, and your home is simply radiant and almost ready for market. Now is the time for you to increase your home’s curb appeal.
Top agents estimate that for every $3,467 you invest results in a yield of $11,718 in resale value. That’s a whopping 238% ROI.
Anderson recommends keeping your outside paint cohesive with your color scheme and neighborhood.
“Whatever paint you choose to paint, you really want to kind of match the roofline. Light colors are really in right now.”
Best light exterior paint colors
- Creamy by Sherwin-Williams: This paint color exudes warmth and welcomes people. Paint your exterior this soft off-white to entice potential buyers.
- October Mist by Benjamin Moore: This is the second appearance of Benjamin Moore’s color of the year, and for a good reason. This lighter green makes your home look both modern and clean.
- Evergreen Fog by Sherwin-Williams: The greens trend continues with Sherwin-Williams’ 2022 color of the year as it is versatile, neutral, and complements a wide range of colors.
New trend of earthy colors springing up
While white and off-white continue to be the best color to paint your home’s interior and exterior, adding a splash of the increasingly popular greens may help you seal the deal.
As mentioned, earthy green color schemes may be trending. 55% of Fixr’s surveyed experts believe that people will use textiles (pillows, bedding, curtains) to incorporate the trending color. Suppose you don’t want to commit to painting an entire room or exterior a shade of green. In that case, you may be able to take advantage of the verdant trend with clever planning and staging of the textiles in your home.
How many paint colors should I use inside and outside the home?
Don’t go crazy with the number of colors you incorporate into your color scheme. It bears repeating that white and off-whites are the overwhelming choices for sellers.
Andersons advises a simple approach, “you should keep a base coat, and if you want an accent wall, that’s up to you, but it’s not necessary. You don’t know what colors your buyer will really want.”
Seal the sale with fresh paint where it counts
Keep it crisp, neutral, and welcoming, and you can’t go wrong with these best paint colors for selling a house.
A top agent can guide you with colors and other preparations to get the most return out of your investment. Use HomeLight’s Top Agent Match Tool to connect you with a local agent who can provide you expert advice on all the best paint colors for selling a house in your market.
Header Image Source: (Мария Травина / Unsplash)
- "Paint Color Undertones," The Spruce (September 2019)
- "Color of the Year 2022 Report: Inspired by Nature, Influenced by New Beginnings," Fixr (October 2021)
- "The 4 Best Paint Colours for Kitchen Islands or Lower Cabinets," Kylie M. Interiors (August 2021)
- "Match Wall Tones with your Wood Floors," FerMa Flooring (December 2018)