This also holds true when selling, for sellers are marketing a product for sale. It’s not about what you like or want, but what the buyer wants, likes and needs.
The classic approach when marketing a home for sale is to stick with neutral colors on the walls and woodwork. The theory is twofold: First, buyers will have an easier time visualizing how they might make a prospective property their own; and second, white and off-white tints tend to make spaces look larger, and in real estate, square footage sells.
Maximizing every square inch of the rooms in a home is important, but it’s not paramount. A small bedroom, for example, can’t really be made to look larger, but it can be made to look cozy, warm and inviting with the use of the right colors.
Colors are best used when they help accent the positive in a space and distract from flaws. Nearly every room has its strong points and weak points. Figuring out what the flaws are and planning an appropriate color scheme makes a big difference in how comfortable and at ease a room makes one feel.
How mouldings and wall colors work together is a good example of this point. Woodwork and beautiful mouldings are a strong selling point in most markets. But if they’re painted the same color as the walls or are in a very similar shade, they’ll blend in with the walls. If you want to call attention to the woodwork, painting the walls a
strikingly different color has the effect of calling attention to the mouldings. On the other hand, that blending of woodwork and walls may be just what you want if mouldings are very basic or spare. The similar tones cause the eye to blend them together, hopefully leading prospective buyers to overlook these features.
An important aspect in color use is how it can be used to create a "cool" or "warm" sense. The use of these tones in the right places can have a great impact. Cool colors include blues, grays, soft green and lavender. Warm colors are red, yellow, gold and orange. The former evoke feelings of expansiveness, while the latter feel enveloping.
Thus, cool colors can be used to make a small room look a little larger; warm shades help make a large, cavernous room – think any place with a cathedral ceiling – feel much cozier. Bright reds and yellows make good choices for finished basements, where they help make these naturally cool spaces feel warmer. Attics tend to be warm places, so cool blues, greens or grays will help to counteract the higher temperatures.
Bad color choices, on the other hand, can be distracting. Wall colors that are too bright and overpowering tend to "hog" all of the attention. Prospective buyers may become too focused on how they might correct the color, thus missing a strong point in the room, such as high ceilings or a well laid-out pantry.
You may love a "commitment" color, but when selling, realize that it may lessen your chances of selling your home quickly, or at a good price. If friends and family joke about breaking out their sunglasses when they arrive for a visit, you probably need to consider a more subdued shade when selling the home. More subtly, you may want to re-paint in a more commonly appreciated color if no one’s ever complimented it or asked where you bought the paint.
A personal story that involves carpet color will help illustrate the point. When I purchased my current home, the wall-to-wall carpeting was a medium blue – a color I could not have lived with for long. If I hadn’t been able to afford replacement carpeting before moving in, I probably would have continued my home search elsewhere. Even though the property was among the most reasonably priced offerings in a highly desirable town at the time, it had been on the market for months. I’m convinced it didn’t sell immediately because of a dingy and dated color.
Walls and woodwork are the best places for color creativity since paint is relatively inexpensive to change. Replacing carpeting or hardwood flooring is costly, though, so color choices for these features should be approached conservatively.
When it comes time to sell, remember the tag line of a well known TV reality series: "It’s nothing personal – it’s just business." In this case, it’s the business of selling your home and receiving the greatest return on your investment, and not your
emotional attachment to the home.
©2005 Linda Merrill, Chameleon Interiors