Color Psychology: Using Shades to Sell
We all know that certain things sell homes. Location and price are obvious. Equally important is structural integrity, as are features including kitchens, bathrooms and adequate living spaces.
But in an inventory-rich market, sometimes the difference in those factors between multiple homes is negligible. If a two homes on the same block, probably constructed by the same builder and maintained by owners of a similar type, are for sale, something has to put one of them over the top. That’s where the more subtle parts of our profession – like color psychology – come into play.
Your first “sell” to a prospective buyer is the imagery you put online with the listing, and even though our tools for creating a dazzling online presence – wide-angle photos, virtual tours and 3-D experiences for example – are more plentiful than ever, it’s often the colors we use that makes the photos stand out, no matter how-high quality they are.
Then there’s the showing, when the home’s aesthetics really come into play.
To that end, we’ve found some of the colors that could help make your home stand out from the crowd, and the type of buyer who may respond to them.
There’s not a happier hue on the color wheel. Yellow is typically associated with happiness and, more directly, with sunlight. That makes it the ideal color for places that may not receive a lot of natural light, like a shady study, hallway or bedroom.Lots of people don’t particularly like yellow, according to Realtor.com, which means it should be used strategically and subtly; softer hues like butter creams and soft yellows are often the way to go. If someone wants bright yellows they’ll bring their own accessories (though some cheery yellow daffodils are never a bad idea, particularly in kitchens that may have a lot of white or black surfaces).
Gray is considered a neutral, but it’s trickier than that; the difference between a light gray and a dark slate can be quite different, as can a potential buyer’s reaction to it. Connecting spaces like hallways and foyers are good places for gray paint, while its neutral qualities can play well with brighter pops of blue or yellow when it comes to accessories.
The key is choosing a gray with the right base color. For example, Colson noted, a beige-based gray will create warmth, while a blue-based shade will have more of a cooling, icy effect.
Similarly, brown is a neutral with a large range of possibilities. It can be useful in certain places and a no-no in others, and runs the risk of clashing with wood furniture and trims that could possibly turn off potential buyers.
Realtor.com warns designers away from using reds and oranges when wooing prospective buyers. Those colors are associated with action and intensity, and can make buyers feel anxious. That being said, RealEstateAgentU.com recommends red – think burgundy or black cherry – for a dining area, as it can increase stimulation and there for conversation… and appetites.
If you’re trying to sell a home in a hurry, white is the safest bet on the board, both internally and externally. It’s clean, easy, refreshing, and easy to accessorize with accessories and trims of all colors. Best of all, white helps a potential buyer see the possibilities of a space – it’s easy to say “well, we could paint this room X color” when it’s a sparkling fresh white. Not the case when a room is painted navy or even a darker beige or ochre. It’s also wise to make sure the exterior of your home fits, at least partially, with the rest of the homes in your neighborhood. Chances are white is going to work. Howstuffworks.com has a nice case for white, while ranking some other popular options from the crayon box.
Blue is a solid choice for a bedroom, as it is typically associated with tranquility and water – which most people find relaxing (there’s a reason many blue hues have names associated with the ocean, after all). But it doesn’t have to be all about the boudoir.
“Separated dining rooms are the perfect place to try out a deep navy or dark gray, because they are supposed to feel cozy and inviting instead of open and expansive.”
Blue’s many shades – ranging from near-black navy selections to bright teals that are nearly green – are also perfect for additional trappings like pillows and window treatments, particularly in bright places with white walls and a lot of light.
Green is soothing, and an effective choice for living areas and bedrooms, and – for those of you with a thumb of this color – plants can be an attractive way to make a sunroom or living space really pop on the cheap. The soothing green is versatile, as well. From Realtor.com:
That vibe makes green a perfect complement to almost any room in your house. For example, paler greens like seafoam or sage have a calming effect best suited to bathrooms, while darker, earthy shades of green such as moss or evergreen create a sense of quiet and peace–perfect for a cozy den space.