What’s in, what’s out: Paint colors to sell a home

Magnolia Home - Dining Room

Florida’s real estate market is hot. Within days of listing a property, many sellers are receiving multiple offers, oftentimes above asking price. 

However, buyers are not entering bidding wars on just any old property. The same features that have attracted buyers for generations – prime location, stainless steel appliances, updated cabinetry and lots of natural light – still help generate offers today. 

So how do you get potential buyers through the front door to see everything your house has to offer? Curb appeal. First impressions are everything in real estate. 

If you’re preparing to cash out equity while the real estate market sizzles, focus on color. A new coat of exterior and interior paint offers a tremendous return on investment for a relatively low out-of-pocket cost.

SHOP: Paint & Supplies

Below are paint color tips that sellers can use to capitalize on real estate trends: 

Exterior Paint Colors 

The Arch Digest, a publication for architects, interior designers and DIYers, notes that “gray is continuously gaining popularity” as an exterior color in Florida because it makes homes look “modern and sleek.” Gray also comes in many hues, making it easy to mix and match. 

For a home’s exterior, light gray is a trendy dominant shade when paired with medium gray and dark gray trim around doors, windows, handrails and decorative features. Similarly, a home painted in a medium gray shade looks best with white, light gray or dark gray trim. 

Gray mixtures also are popular colors, with gray-blue and gray-green leading the way. They are distinctive, but not too different to draw negative reactions. Light yellow, ivory, beige, taupe and cream remain safe bets. 

On the other hand, dark brown, dark gray and black are not as popular for dominant shades in Florida. They don’t reflect sunlight well and can fade under Florida’s intense, year-round sunshine. Although white does not seem objectionable, some buyers might consider it a maintenance challenge given frequent rain and high humidity in Florida that can lead to mold growth and surface stains. Rainwater falling from the roofline can splash dirt and grass clippings onto a structure, and that’s especially noticeable on a white home. 

The front door is essentially the centerpiece of a home’s façade and is an ideal space to showcase creativity and personality. Bold paint colors like navy blue, maroon, dark brown, black, red and forest green can fit into many color schemes. 

High-quality exterior paint typically lasts up to 10 years or more. Its lifespan can be cut short, however, based on many factors, including direct exposure to the sun, frequent moisture from rainwater and stains from mold growth or dirt. High-pressure hoses also can cause colors to prematurely fade and even chip away at the paint. 

Interior Paint Colors 

Inside a home, wall colors are just as important in creating the indoor equivalent of curb appeal. When potential buyers open the front door, they’ll immediately pan the room to soak in the atmosphere. 

TV host and designer Joanna Gaines is among those who have touted “greige” as a trendy dominant color. It’s a mix between gray, a cooler shade, with beige, a warmer tone, to create the ultimate neutral color. Greige is versatile, elegant and timeless, as well as complementary to nearly all colors of furniture, artwork, home décor and linens. 

Gray with a hint of light green or light blue can create a warm, comfortable feeling as a dominant color. Beige, tan and off-white remain safe choices for commons areas like the living room, kitchen, dining room and hallways. Bedrooms can feature more color while still calming the senses. Blue-gray and green-gray help create a retreat-like ambiance. Avoid bright or bold color schemes that can overpower the senses, like orange, red, hot pink, purple and royal blue. 

Trim colors can complement or contrast a room’s dominant color. White has been the safe choice for generations, but safe isn’t the only color that sells. A dark gray border around a window can help direct potential buyers to the view outside. Consider a bold accent wall to contrast neutral colors and call attention to artwork or a unique piece of furniture. Dark accent walls make a wall appear to recede, thus creating the feel of a larger space. That’s especially important in a room or home with limited square footage. 

When painting to stage a home, use an eggshell, matte or flat finish on walls to help hide any imperfections while also absorbing light. A fresh coat of white paint on doors, baseboards and door casings enhances elements that often are the most weathered parts of a home. 

Before putting a home on the market, sellers should have three primary goals: (1) Generate multiple offers, (2) Attract buyers willing to pay above the listing price, and (3) Sell the home quickly. In 2021, Zillow research found that potential home buyers were willing to make offers 1.6% higher based on color alone. Given the hot real estate market, that could put thousands of additional dollars into a seller’s pocket, so choose wisely. 

– By Dan Miles, commercial paint division manager.