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Neutral But Never Boring: Your Top 9 Home Staging Paint Colors

At HomeLight, our vision is a world where every real estate transaction is simple, certain, and satisfying. Therefore, we promote strict editorial integrity in each of our posts.

The ‘70s brought us avocado-colored kitchen appliances. The ‘90s we’ll remember as the decade of frilly, patterned furniture. And in the early 2000s, bright-red dining rooms and dramatic accent walls took the nation by storm.

Like so many fleeting trends, the once en vogue bold paint is now a checkmark on the “cons” list for today’s homebuyers, and a colossal home staging faux pas. Expertly arranged furniture and decorative accents do nothing to sell your home when staged against the “Heartthrob” shade you picked out in ‘03.

If you’ve got any walls outside the neutral zone viewable from the entryway, grab a paintbrush and a few gallons of Sherwin Williams, friend. Times have changed.

“When you’re selling your home, it’s comparable to if you’re cooking chili for 1,000 people,” says Christie Cannon, an agent who has done 1,358 real estate deals over 21 years in her Frisco, TX market.

“You don’t want it too spicy, and you don’t want it too bland. You want to make it a neutral palette with just enough flavor to it that it’s going to appease the masses.”

But the variety of paint swatches at the hardware store are enough to make anyone’s head spin. So we narrowed down your color selection with the help of real estate experts and experienced design professionals.

Sit back, relax, and get ready to immerse yourself into the neutral (but never boring) world of the best home staging paint colors.

Which rooms should you paint for home staging?

There’s a lot of steps in the process of selling your home, and home staging is just one of them. You’re on a time constraint to get this house sold, not redecorating on a rainy day.

So keep it simple with prioritization. Focus your energies on spaces immediately visible from that doorway: the dining room, living room, kitchen, and any of the main living spaces.

“We’ve seen it time and again, where we have a seller who has the red dining room, and it’s right when you walk in the house,” says Cannon. “It’s beautiful, it’s been beautiful, but it doesn’t cost that much to either DIY or have someone come in and paint the room, and it can actually net you more or sell your house faster than if you leave it.”

Don’t worry as much about the media rooms, secondary bedrooms, or kids’ game room upstairs decorated with crazy paint years back.

Most importantly, buyers should walk in and immediately see a “very nice appeasing palette,” that piques their interest, Cannon says. Tone down the bonus and secondary rooms as well, but those spaces are allowed to have a little more character than the command center of the home.

Narrow down your color palette to beiges, whites, and grays

In HomeLight’s 2016 Top Agent Insights Survey, all of the top agents we spoke to agree: put a fresh coat of paint on those walls before showings start.

The 100+ agents surveyed also weighed in on their color recommendations for this occasion, with 78% saying beige is their top choice, followed by white (around 30%) and to a lesser extent, gray (15%).


In a sense, gray is today’s 2000s red dining room (trendier than ever!), but HomeLight previously explored how the color gray is linked to sadness and negativity. It’s still a popular look, and can work in some contexts, such as the rustic farmhouse style. But when you play with gray, stick to the warmer tones closer to the “greige” family (gray and beige mixed).

Plus, be sure to talk to your agent about which neutral route is best for your home and local market. Then explore these gorgeous shades to find your home’s perfect match.

A beige room that is being staged while selling.
Source: (ian dooley/ Unsplash)

Brilliant Beiges

Boring? Bland? Not beige! In fact, when you find the right beige for your space, it adds just the right mix of earthiness and warmth to create that cozy feeling buyers love. Think champagne on a Sunday, a latte in your hands, or beach sand beneath your toes.

Here our some of our top picks in the beige family:

Barcelona Beige, Sherwin Williams
This beige shade maxes out on the warmth scale without any sickly yellow undertones. Use it in southern facing rooms that get lots of natural rays to show off this color to buyers in its best “light.”

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Farrow Ball, Skimming Stone
Dubbed a “stony off-white,” this beige hue is a go-to color for soothing spaces, such as a quiet reading room or bedroom.

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Donald Kaufman, DKC-62
This color may remind you of a soft gray putty, but its golden undertones catch the light and radiate warmth.

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Where beige works best:
Shades of beige are great for entryways and bedrooms since they make these spaces feel inviting and comfortable. They also help to add warmth to large areas, so don’t count them out with your modern, open floor plan in the living room or kitchen.

A white room that is staged in a home.
Source: (Felix/ Rawpixel)

Luminous Whites

Believe it or not, white comes in many shades, so there’s plenty of variation to make buyers happy. It helps spaces feel larger and creates a cheery atmosphere as long as the shade isn’t too stark. Remember, hospital rooms are all white, too, and you’re not exactly going for hospital chic.

Sherwin Williams, Spatial White
A clean, modern white with a hint of gray allows this shade to blend seamlessly with more eclectic décor.

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Behr, Snow Fall
This color has all you need to keep your space neutral without making it feel as cold as the name may imply.

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Benjamin Moore, Simply White 
A clean, crisp white that manages not to feel sterile, making it a great all-around color choice.

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Where white works best:
White can work almost anywhere since it never looks dated and you can dress it up with other accent colors. Try it in bathrooms and kitchens for the most success.

A room that has been painted gray while staging a home.
Source: (Pai9/ Shutterstock)

Go-to “Greiges”

According Lynne Pearce, an interior designer for 15 years, gray tones make rooms feel restful and elegant, and help to create intimacy in even large, open spaces.

Rockport Gray, Benjamin Moore
“Greige,” a mix of gray and beige, is all the rage in home interior circles. On the darker side of the beige family, Rockport Gray can achieve a more dramatic, elegant look for a formal space without stepping out of neutral territory.

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Sherwin Williams, Agreeable Gray
Agreeable gray puts the warm in gray, and who can argue with that? Incredibly versatile for any room that needs a neutral makeover.

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Benjamin Moore, Classic Gray
You’ll stay safely out of the blue and purple undertone zone with Classic Gray, which is warm, neutral, and a close friend of beige.

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Where gray works best:
These colors work on large surface areas so use them liberally in the living room, foyer, or family room.

Room that is painted white while staging a home.
Source: (Philipp Berndt/ Unsplash)

Selecting your home staging paint finish

Now that you have the perfect color selected, you must find the perfect finish!

The finish you ultimately choose will change the perception of the color to the naked eye, impact the durability of the paint, and hide (or highlight!) any imperfections in the wall itself. As a rule of thumb, the higher the paint sheen—the more durable, and less glossy, a paint will be.

  • Kitchen
    Easy-to-clean paint is a must in this room where suds and water are flying, so it’s best to go with a semi-gloss or high gloss finish.
  • Family Rooms
    These high-traffic rooms where kids play and furniture gets moved around needs walls that are easily cleaned, so use a satin finish.
  • Dining Room
    This low-traffic area needs smooth, clean walls—an eggshell finish will do the trick.
  • Bedrooms
    Low traffic areas such as this will benefit from matte or flat finishes.
  • Bathrooms
    These rooms see a lot of moisture and traffic, so use a semi-gloss finish.

The home staging paint colors you choose have a direct impact on how your house shows to buyers. Make sure you’re putting your best paintbrush forward by choosing the right tones.

With thousands of variations in the beige, white, and gray family alone, you can’t make the excuse that neutral is boring! Save that bold dining room red you love for the throw pillows, and you’ll come to find your house is ready for its big market debut.

Article Image Source: (Rawpixel)