Open concept dining room with big windows and beige walls

Home Staging Tips: The Best Paint Colors for Selling a House

Preparing to put your home on the market? Updating interior paint colors is an excellent way to ensure your house has broad appeal for prospective buyers. Plus, if you’re staging a home on a budget, painting can be an affordable option to increase your home’s resale value. Discover the best paint colors for selling a house with advice from professional home staging experts below!

Avoid Bold Paint Colors

Contemporary living room with white walls and blue accent decor. Photo by Instagram user @debuthomes
Photo via @debuthomes

Dark bathroom walls or bright bedroom paint colors might be right for you, but they might not be right for the people interested in buying your home. That’s why professional home stagers recommend leaving experimental wall colors for your new place and sticking to neutral tones in the home you’re selling.

According to Emile L’Eplattenier, a real estate marketer and former New York City real estate agent, you don’t want trendy or loud colors to stop potential buyers from seeing themselves living in your home. “This can be very difficult with bright, vivid, or very dark colors. Worse, dark or vibrant colors can distract from how large (or cozy) a space might be,” he said.

Stick to Light, Airy Neutrals

Modern living room with light, airy neutral paint color. Photo by Instagram user @sarahshireed
Photo via @sarahshireed

Especially if you’re trying to sell a home that’s tight on square footage, you don’t want dark walls. Because darker colors can make a room feel smaller and more crowded, L’Eplattenier recommends using lighter colors in your house to help the space feel open and more timeless. “While dark grays are very trendy this year, as a general rule, I would avoid them unless it’s for an accent wall,” he added.

The best neutral paint colors for staging a home are light grays, beiges, and whites. Not only do these light neutrals stand the test of time, but they reflect light well and can make rooms feel larger.

Freshen Up the Front Door

Bright yellow front door on farmhouse. Photo by Instagram user @littleestudio
Photo via @littleestudio

One of the top home staging tips from professional designers is to make a statement with the front door. For sellers putting their homes on the market in the spring or summer months, Dee Schlotter with PPG Paints has a unique tip—match the front door to the garden! “If the flowerbeds are ripe with roses, consider painting the front door red to reinforce the hue,” she suggested. “If you have sunflowers in bloom, choose a yellow pigment to bring out the sunny shade.”

Schlotter also says the dual impact of the colors will give the doorway a welcoming feel and add to the home’s curb appeal. Selling in a different season? It’s still important to catch the eyes of prospective home buyers with an exciting front door color—just be sure it’s not too loud or zany!

Don’t Underestimate the Entryway

Spacious, white luxury entryway. Photo by Instagram user @peopleonthemove
Photo via @peopleonthemove

Wondering which rooms you should paint for home staging? While you might be able to leave kids rooms and your home office the color they currently are, the entryway is an area that shouldn’t be left to chance. The feeling potential buyers get when they first walk into your home could make or break a sale.

Add a fresh coat of paint to the entryway to breathe new life into the area and cover up any nicks and scratches you’ve acquired over the years. If your house has an open floor plan, be sure to repaint the living room, kitchen, and any other rooms visitors can immediately see when they walk in as well.

Use White Sparingly

Laundry room with white and pink hues. Photo by Instagram user @thejacobsteam
Photo via @thejacobsteam

As one of the most popular paint colors, white might seem like the easy choice for all of your home staging needs. But even though this color is perfect for certain rooms, an all-white house can come across as too stark or hospital-like, which makes it feel less welcoming for prospective buyers.

Edgar Marroquin, a designer and stager at ABQ Home Staging in Albuquerque, likes neutral colors when staging homes, but he usually avoids colors in the off-white family. “I think white is often boring,” he said. “But there are exceptions. A white bathroom or laundry room feels clean.”

Don’t Forget About Ceilings

Dining room with neutral walls and light blue ceiling. Photo by Instagram user @vchomeandesign
Photo via @vchomeandesign

When choosing home staging paint colors, remember to plan for ceilings, too! Not only can painting the ceiling cover up any uneven lines you made while painting the walls, but it also adds some depth. A ceiling color that’s slightly darker than the wall color can make the room feel more intimate and cozy, while a slightly lighter ceiling color can make the room feel taller and more open.

Marroquin does caution against using white paint on ceilings. “If possible, I recommend painting the ceiling of a room the same color as the walls—but make it a few shades lighter,” he explained.

Invite Warmth into the Bedroom

Bedroom with greige wall paint color. Photo by Instagram user @diyplaybook
Photo via @diyplaybook

What’s the best paint color for staging a bedroom? Any shade that creates a soft, cozy atmosphere that’s ideal for sleeping! Think about when you’ve stayed at a hotel. The rooms are usually painted with some hue of creamy beige, light gray, or soft blue. That’s because they want to create a restful environment for their customers—and you should consider the same when staging your home for potential buyers!

“Bedrooms should be inviting and comfortable spaces,” stated Nicola Croughan, an interior designer at Blinds Direct. “Opt for a neutral that creates this type of ambiance, such as a warm gray or soft cream.”

Give the Kitchen a Small Pop of Color

White contemporary kitchen with light blue cabinets. Photo by Instagram user @coolminedecor
Photo via @coolminedecor

Good kitchen wall colors for home staging are those that bring a smile to your face, according to Sara McLean, a color expert and blogger for Dunn-Edwards. “Soft, buttery yellows with slight brown undertones are popular, happy colors,” she said. “Olive and sage greens make kitchens feel fresh.”

Another way you can incorporate these colors and freshen up your kitchen is to paint the cabinets and cupboards instead of the walls. And if you had already planned to refinish your cabinets for home staging, going this route combines that task into one!

When in Doubt, Look at Your Floors

Contemporary living room with beige walls and hardwood floors. Photo by Instagram user @fdc_imports
Photo via @fdc_imports

Not sure what paint colors to use? Let your floors inspire your home staging ideas. “For hardwood floors, a warm beige or linen shade will brighten the tone of the room,” said Schlotter. “If the floors are carpeted, consider a cooler neutral with blue or green undertones to highlight the sophistication of the space.”

You can also opt for “greige.” This popular tone combines beige and gray into one of the best neutral paint colors for practically any room. It’s versatile, inviting, and matches most home design styles and trends, making it an easy choice for anyone on the fence about paint colors!

Always Test Before Painting

White wall with gray paint color patches. Photo by Instagram user @hospitalityandhome
Photo via @hospitalityandhome

After picking out paint colors for home staging, test them all first with a patch on the wall. Paints that you look at when you’re at the store rarely look the same once they’re on the wall, so it’s crucial to make sure you have the right shade. Plus, testing allows you to see the color in both natural and artificial light.

“Live with the samples for at least a full day to see them in all light sources,” McLean suggested. She also recommends painting a patch near permanent structures like fireplaces, flooring, or cabinetry to get an idea of whether the paint complements the parts of your home that aren’t easy to change.

Choose a Gloss Level

White modern bathroom with high gloss level on walls. Photo by Instagram user @thehemmingwayhouse
Photo via @thehemmingwayhouse

Once you’ve chosen your home staging paint colors and tested them, the final step is to choose a gloss level. “Flat, velvet, or eggshell are good choices for interior walls, while higher sheen looks pretty on trim and in kitchens and bathrooms,” McLean explained.

McLean says it’s also smart to consider how messy each room gets because higher gloss levels are easier to clean, so they’re better for high-traffic areas. Kitchens, bathrooms, and living rooms tend to see a lot more activity, so opting for higher gloss finishes here could save you (or future owners) from repainting again soon.

Looking for more tips that can help you sell your home? Check out these guides:

Infographic with advice from home staging professionals on home paint colors

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