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What Colors to Paint Interior Walls When Selling a Home?

Updated January 17, 2018

Everyone has personal style and colour preferences, but selling a house is not the time to showcase them. Potential buyers imagine themselves living in a house, and your tastes may conflict. Since the buyer will likely repaint the house once she moves in, choose colours with broad appeal or historical authenticity in mind.

Welcoming Colors

Although vibrant tones are usually not wise for selling a house, the right colour can make it more welcoming to potential buyers. Soft, pale yellows add tasteful colour without being an assault on the senses. Creams with a hint of rose or peach complement many other colours without being noticeably pink. Paint kitchens with colours found in food, such as creamy cafe au lait brown or celery green, suggests real estate professor Jeanette Fisher for Own Florida Waterfront. Slightly darker shades are appropriate for bedrooms, but dark brown or Burgundy can appear dreary. Soft colour brings life to the house without overpowering it.

Neutral Colors

If you can't decide or are pressed for time, neutrals are safe. Light khaki is a real estate classic. Linen beige, taupe and tan are also good choices. Soft white paint on woodwork universally complements any wall colour, but pure white often looks sterile. Most paint stores carry premixed antique white paint that saves money over specially tinted paint. Varying shades of neutral colours throughout the home add interest. For example, a foyer painted the colour of fresh cream gives a clean first impression. As a potential buyer moves throughout the home, darker or lighter neutrals complement each other without standing in stark contrast with the foyer. Remember that colours are not always true in a store. Take paint chips into sunlight and compare against a plain white object to identify warm or cool tones. This helps you stay within the same colour family for each shade you choose.

Historical Colors

Buyers in the market for historical homes are usually more interested in authenticity than a neutral palette. Preparing a historical home to sell may require additional work, but it can produce a high return on your investment, explains Bob Vila. Discover original paint colours by scraping or sanding layers of old paint; wear a face mask to protect against lead. Add a drop of mineral oil to sanded paint to reveal its true colour, suggests Historic Media. If your home's original colours have been removed, choose others that are appropriate for its style and age. Victorians may have brilliant white, jewel red, green or purple tones hiding under a century of old paint. Craftsman architecture may have once boasted avocado green, gold or garnet red walls. Coastal New England homes may harbour secret shades of sage green, slate grey, pale wheat or mushroom brown. If woodwork has never been painted, now is not the time to start. Clean it or hire a professional refinisher. Restoring your historical home to authentic colours for its age and style will increase its value and preserve a little history for future generations.

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About the Author

Carole Oldroyd, a writer based in East Tennessee, has authored numerous DIY home improvement, Human Resources, HR and Law articles. In addition to holding a degree in paralegal studies, she has more than 10 years of experience renovating newer homes and restoring historic property.