Best paint colors to help your home sell

When I decided it was time to paint my family room earlier this year, I spent hours trying to decide the best color to replace the mustard yellow that was one of the trendy colors when I last painted the room at least a decade ago. This exercise helped me understand how difficult it is to select the right paint color. And, picking the right paint color can help your house sell. I knew I wanted to paint it a shade of gray. Afterall, gray is the new beige, which is why you may have heard the paint color referred to as greige. While I used to think of gray as cold and institutional, I started seeing it in houses over the last couple of years, which helped me change my mind about gray. Given the right shade and the right accessories, it could be a warm color, look modern without feeling cold. Picking paint colors is hard, though, even if you know the color you think you want. I spent a lot of ton looking over paint chips from at least three different paint brands. Because, not all brands have the same colors, I wanted to fully investigate all my gray options. There are a ton of them.

There are grays that are the color of steel. Grays with blue. Grays with green. Grays that are so light they look nearly white, and grays so dark it's nearly black. I know this isn't the way to select a color, but I also like to think about the names of the colors, a bit like selecting wine because of the bottle. I wanted a good-sounding, warm-toned gray that would look good with my furniture and coordinate with the colors of the adjoining rooms. It's nearly impossible to select a color from a one-inch-by-one-inch piece of cardboard.

So, when I am talking to people about selling their house, and they want to update room colors (one of the easiest, inexpensive ways to update), I understand the stress of selecting a color. But, it's even more difficult when you're selecting a color to sell your house, because you want to select a color that other people will like. When you are getting your house ready to sell, it's no longer about you, it has to be all about the buyer.

That's why I like to just hand over some tried-and-try paint chips to home sellers, so they don't have to stress over the endless possibilities of paint colors. Frankly, some people just aren't good at picking out paint. Telling someone to paint the room a neutral color, really isn't all that helpful. Neutral to me is useful gray or jogging path gray or wool stein. To some people it's lavender, sky blue or mustard yellow, colors that either aren't trendy or aren't great for selling houses.

While it may seem silly, I've seen buyers disregard great houses because they can't get past the color of the walls, even when I remind them how easy it is to change a paint color.

So, here are my tips for selecting the best paint colors to help your home sell and some of the trendiest paint colors for the local Indianapolis-area market. First, some colors work great in one house, but will look horrible in another, so it's important to consider:

  • The style of your house.
  • The location of your house.
  • The type of lighting in your house.

The reason lighting is so important is because the color can change based on the light in the room, and sunlight with a shade of gray with any red tones look pink or purple. So, don't just look at the paint chip, look at the color family. Grays within the purple tones probably aren't the best choice when you're looking to sell your house. Some grays that have proven to work well:

SW Agreeable Gray
SW Agreeable Gray
SW Functional gray

SW Functional gray

SW Jogging Path

SW Jogging Path

Sherwin Williams has a fun site that allows you to see what colors would look like on your own walls, called the Color Visualizer, here's a link to it.

You simply upload a photo of your room, and then experiment with colors. It gives you a pretty good idea of what you may get. Keep in mind, however, this isn't going to take into account various lighting conditions, but it's a fun tool, nonetheless.

If you have a favorite wall color, let's hear about it, and send a photo to show us how great it looks.