Using color psychology to sell your house

When painting your home for resale, choosing the right colors can make a big difference in your paycheck at closing. For example, did you know that the exterior color of the fastest-selling homes is a certain shade of yellow, but choosing the wrong shade of yellow can ruin a sale?

You’ll find many brochures at paint stores showing various exterior paint color combinations. But most people don’t realize that most of those combinations actually include three colors, not just two. Limiting your exterior paint scheme to just two colors also limits your earning potential.

For a quick sale, think fun colors and opt for a third or even fourth exterior color. Think of “Disneyland Main Street,” where every store is painted in glorious multicolored colors. Adding more colors will also add definition to the various architectural details in your home. Use gloss or semi-gloss paint on wood trim.

The psychology of exterior colors

When choosing exterior colors, consider the selling price of your home. Certain colors, especially muted and complex hues, appeal to wealthy or highly educated buyers, while buyers with less income or less education generally prefer simpler colors. A complex color contains shades of gray or brown and usually requires more than one word to describe it, such as “sage green” rather than “green.”

On the other hand, simple colors are simple and pure. Homes in the lower price range generally sell faster and for higher prices when painted simple colors like yellow or tan, accented with white, blue or green trim.

The psychology of interior colors

Using colored, rather than bland white walls will increase your earning potential. Lynette Jennings tested room size and color perception and found that a room painted white appeared larger to a few people compared to an identical room painted colored, and the perceived difference was only six inches! Most people also look better when surrounded by color and feel happier, and since buyers choose homes that make them feel happy, that knowledge can put dollars in your pocket at closing!

Entryways should bring the exterior colors into the house. Repeating the exterior tones throughout your home will make the entire house appear to be in harmony. Living rooms and family rooms painted a slightly lighter shade of the exterior color will ensure that you’ve chosen a color that your buyers like, because if they didn’t like your exterior colors, they wouldn’t have bothered to look inside. If you loved the exterior colors, you’ll love the interior too.

When choosing interior colors, consider the use of each room. For example, kitchen and dining areas that are painted “food colors” like brown, celery greens, and scrambled egg yellows feel natural.

Since deeper color tones imply intimacy and serenity, I like to paint master bedrooms a medium shade of green or blue for hot selling seasons, and reddish red for cooler weather. Other bedrooms can be painted in creamy shades of green, blue or pale pink. (See the chapter on the psychology of color in my book “The Joy of Home: Secrets of the Psychology of Interior Design” for more information.)

sale season

Always keep in mind the selling season (the time of year you’ll be selling your home) and the weather when choosing colors. Estimate the amount of time you’ll need to prepare your home for sale, then add extra days for unexpected delays. Use cool colors like blues, greens and grays when selling in the spring and summer, and warm colors like yellows, reds and maroons when selling in the fall and winter.

color intensity

My husband and I generally use lighter colors when painting the exteriors of our investment dollhouses, because it makes them appear larger. On the other hand, our cabin in the woods looks richer when painted a darker color. When we decided to paint it, I considered the usual cabin colors of dark brown and barn red, but fell in love with Olympic’s beautiful plum “Gooseberry.”

When preparing to paint your house, look at the colors of neighboring houses and choose colors that harmonize, but stand out from the crowd. Colors that clash poorly with other houses will detract from the overall neighborhood.

At the beginning of the article, I told you that houses with yellow exteriors sell faster. But what shade of yellow sells best? First, the yellows to avoid: Yellows with green undertones look sickly to most shoppers, and yellows with orange undertones give shoppers an impression of low cost.

The best-selling yellow exterior color is actually a pale, sunny yellow, especially when complemented by one or more carefully chosen accent colors. For example, semi-gloss white trim will give your home a clean, fresh look, and adding a third color, like green, can make your home even more attractive to prospective buyers.

Colors affect humans in many ways and by using the principles of color psychology you can make your home stand out from the competition, sell faster and at a higher price.

(c) Copyright 2014, Jeanette J. Fisher. All rights reserved.

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