When you’re preparing your home for sale, a fresh coat of paint can make a $50,000 difference in your sale price. (No, seriously.)
I’ve already shared my own tips about which colors you should paint your walls to give potential buyers the best impression. But there’s another wild card to consider in the color game: which colors are “on-trend” in the public eye? By incorporating these colors into your staging, you’ll subconsciously convince prospective buyers that your home is truly a modern wonder — and one they should make an offer on before someone else does.
But wait, I know what you’re thinking: “Eileen, I don’t want to paint my home tangerine or pomegranate or neon green just because CNN says it’s popular.” I hear you, and I agree. No one wants to walk into a room whose tones feel oppressive or overwhelming.
Luckily, 2016 marks a change in color trends that’s worth paying attention to, because it could have a big effect on your home’s sale price.
Let’s take a look at 2016’s new colors of the year, and then I’ll show you three ways you can make these colors (or any other trendy picks) enhance the staging of your home for buyers without going overboard.
Pantone’s new colors for 2016 are a subdued duo (a “subduo,” maybe?) of pastel hues: Rose Quartz (a pale pink) and Serenity (a pale blue). If this feels a little election-y to you, you may be right. Pantone’s color experts base their annual choices partly on what’s fueling the global color conversation, and our American election cycle is definitely part of that influence. But instead of two loud colors that shout at each other, Pantone has opted for two mellow variations that peacefully coexist. Optimistic, isn’t it?
(Speaking of peacefully coexisting, here are some tips for making sure you and your spouse or partner are on the same page when you’re planning to downsize your home.)
Meanwhile, the Benjamin Moore color of the year for 2016 is “Simply White.” Notice a pattern? This year’s popular colors are all muted and relaxing. As a result, real estate agents are now advising their sellers to paint their homes in neutrals: pastel, whimsical, dreamy… nothing with too much personality, nothing in “jewel tones,” nothing too yellow (the shade of the ‘90s).
This movement to pastels is a BIG change.
For years, sellers have been told that grey, grey and grey are the colors to use. Dark grey, light grey. But grey. It’s what Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware and West Elm and all the other catalogues showed as the only way to approach design and color. Maybe with a little white thrown in for accent. And maybe a little blue could work, as long as it was a greyish blue. But nothing warm; everything was supposed to be neutral and “cool.”
People who’ve lived in their homes for a long time had difficulty adjusting to this truism, and they resisted repainting their rooms grey. But guess what: it worked!
Millennials and even Gen X buyers believed what the catalogues commanded. And homes that were grey, white, neutral and “crisp” sold more quickly and for more money, because buyers walked in and realized they didn’t have to do much work moving in. The sale price of these homes far outweighed the cost of painting.
So what does it mean when the powers that be, who’ve been recommending grey neutrals for years, are suddenly recommending softer pastel tones? I think it shows us that people are looking for a calming effect on their stressful lives, and a respite from the stress of the news cycle. And if your home appears to offer them that feeling, they’ll be far more inclined to fall in love at first sight.
Now, how can you make use of these trends to make sure your home’s soothing serenity stands out to a buyer?
Light Walls, Pastel Accents
Since blue and pink are often seen as gendered colors, they’re not the best choice for painting your walls before selling. If you do, it may be hard for some buyers to picture your pink room as their future den.
Instead, paint your walls a true neutral (white, grey, beige), and use pastel accents in the details. Pillows, upholstered chairs, artwork — colors that pop but are still subtle and soft. This provides your room with a cozy dose of personality while remaining on trend.
Half and Half
Who says you have to paint the entire room the same color?
If you have a chair rail or other dividing line that breaks up a room into halves, consider painting the walls one color and the molding accents another. In fact, adding a chair rail and wainscoting to a room can make it feel noticeably more upscale. If you’re hoping to attract buyers who want a more elegant vibe, this is one aesthetic change that could pay off big.
Use Trim to Make Rooms Feel Larger or Smaller
Splitting a room in half is just one of the visual tricks you can achieve with trim. As the Sherwin-Williams pros attest, the style of your trim and the contrast between your trim and your wall color has well-known effects on a viewer’s perception.
Want to make a small room feel larger? Paint the trim a lighter color than the walls and it’ll make the walls feel like they’re more distant.
Want to make a room with high ceilings feel more intimate? Install crown molding along the ceiling, and then paint the molding a slightly darker shade than the walls to draw the space in.
If you combine these current trends while staging your home, it will feel both current and calming, like a beloved new respite for your buyers — which means they’ll be eager to move in, so you can move on. Now doesn’t that sound like a win-win investment?