Selecting Paint Colors to Sell or Rent your Home

Painting your home is one the most inexpensive ways to transform your interior and exterior spaces. This is especially important if you are on a budget and planning to sell or rent your home right away or in the next 2 to 3 years.

Staging your home for sale or rent
When selecting a paint color, keep in mind that most buyers and renters are focused on three things when they look purchase or rent a home:

  • The size of the rooms,
  • How their furniture and accessories will look in your home, and
  • Is the home in "move in condition."

The best thing you can do is to paint your interior walls in a neutral warm color. This will ensure that it will please most buyers or renters. It also improves the chances that a buyer's or renter's furniture will be compatible with the paint color.

Couple painting a wall a neutral color

Painting your walls in a neutral warm color also unifies your interior's space. It makes the space appear larger than it really is. If you paint the main rooms in different colors, your home is going to appear chopped up and smaller. This will often distract a buyer or renter and turn them off entirely.

We know that some of you are not happy with the idea of painting your home a neutral color. Keep in mind that your goal is to sell or rent your home either now or in the near future. As you can see below, some of the choices are far from boring.

Examples of Neutral Colors
There are literally hundreds of neutral warm colors to choose from. Paint brands like Benjamin Moore, Home Depot's Behr Paint, Lowes' Valspar paint and Sherwin William are just a few. These examples will get you started

  • Pottery Barn's Summer and Spring collection's are a good place to look. We like Natural Wicker OC-1, Silken Pine 2144. Also Lennox Tan HC-144.
  • Valspar's Sahara Sands 20007-8B, New Haven Clay 2007-7C go well together. Also Churchill Hotel Maple 2008-8B, Peachy Connection 2007-6B, Crossroads Gold 3008-6A
  • Behr Paint's Crescent Cream, Antique White 1823, Raffia Cream and Gobi Desert 710C-3.

Color Blind in Choosing Paint Color
Many of us have a hard time choosing a colors. You can save time and money by visiting stores like Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, Renovation Hardware, IKEA, and other furniture stores like Bloomingdales. All of these stores have interior designers that set up wonderful vignettes where you can see entire rooms set up.

Pottery-Barn Paint ChipsVery often, these stores write the names of the colors on the walls, because customer routinely ask them what the name of the color is.

We have seen this in Pottery Barn and IKEA. If you see a color that you like, just ask the sales person what the name is. Pottery Barn uses Benjamin Moore in their stores and in their catalogs. They also have paint chips available for free or for a small fee. One website that we really liked was

Where to paint?
If you are in a hurry, you can paint your doors, windows and base moldings the same color as the walls. Just make sure that this is semi-gloss paint.

We like to paint ceilings white in a flat finish. This has the effect of brightening up the room. Aso, if you have nice doors, windows and crown molding, definitely show it off. These features convey value to the buyer or renter. We suggest painting it white, and specifically a warm white.

Woman paintng a window We recommend Benjamin Moore's Simply White OC-117, because it is a warm and attractive white. Believe us, there are lots of possibilities when it comes to whites. Some are refrigerator white, some appear grey, some peach, some to yellow and some have a rosy tint. It is hard to go wrong with Benjamin Moore's Simply White.

Put some furniture in it
An empty home sends two powerful messages to prospective buyers and renters:

  • Prevents many people from visualizing how the space will look when furnished and
  • Conveys a sense of desperation that the seller or landlord is really anxious and will accept any offer.

This why model homes are fully furnished. If you have furniture, make sure you don't overwhelm the rooms. Remember, "less is more" so leave only the essentials and either sell, store or give away the rest.

If you don't have furniture available, consider renting it. Pick and choose only the basics. A sofa, end tables, coffee table some chairs and a dinining room and some chairs. The bedrooms are of less concern and you can leave them empty.

Other Tips
The only drawback of selecting a neutral color from a vignette in a showroom or paint store is that it will look different in your home. Natural light and artificial light will affect how the color looks. There's not much you can do about that.

However, to make sure the color is right, you can buy and paint some large sheets of craft paper and hang them on your walls to see how they look during the day and night. We suggest you live with them for a while and ask family or friends what they think. See our article on how to choose a paint color for the details.

If the colors you have selected are too light or dark, then change the color intensity. In other words look at the paint paint color strip and choose a color to the right or left of it. That way you'll stay in the same family and will be able to compare the new color in your home.

If your home has some architectural details like chair rails in a dining room, you can also paint two different colors above and below the chair rail. Use the color intensity method we just described above. The color below the chair rail could be a shade darker than the paint color that is being carried through out the house and above the chair rail. In addition, you might try painting one wall with that slight darker or lighter color in the same family.

Also take a look at the colors that we chose for our home. They are neutral, but warm. We used stronger colors in the kitchen, master bath and powder rooms.