Forget about your parachute – what color is your home?

Teddy Runge
Published on September 15, 2017

Forget about your parachute – what color is your home?

Want to make an extra $1,500 on the sale of your home? Paint the front door dark gray or navy blue, according to a study by Zillow. Nab another $1,500 by painting the home’s exterior greige (a mix of beige and gray).

Or, you can leave that taupe or medium brown paint alone and take a chance on losing nearly $2,000 on the home’s sale. Just as color can impact us positively, some colors can be the kiss of death.

It’s all about the curb appeal

Never underestimate the power of curb appeal – it’s your home’s first impression and it can make you a bundle of money or cost you dearly.

In fact, according to a Texas Tech University study, projects that improve a home’s curb appeal can bump the home’s value as much as 17 percent.

Landscaping is the first curb appeal project most homeowners take on, neglecting the exterior condition of the home. It’s a bit like putting lipstick on a pig, however, because your lovely landscaping isn’t the first thing potential buyers will notice.

It’s a well-known fact that homebuyers choose which homes to visit in person by viewing them first on the internet. Ninety percent of these buyers will base their initial judgement on the color of the home, according to a study entitled “Impact of Color on Marketing,” (Satyendra Singh, Department of Administrative Studies, University of Winnipeg in Canada).

So, while spiffing up the front yard, walkway, driveway and porch are all important to the home’s overall curb appeal, peeling paint on the home’s trim or the wrong color on the exterior walls may doom the homeowner to a mediocre final sale price.

Consider your home’s architecture

Sure, you can navigate to the nearest “What Color Should I Paint my Home” advice column on the web, but few of these “experts” remind readers that color choices should take into consideration the home’s architecture as well as other caveats.

Have a Cape Cod? Go for deep blue colors. Farmhouse-style homes take well to white paint and designer Amy Hendel chose Benjamin Moore’s Cloud White for one of her recent farmhouse projects.

Victorian homes are called “Painted Ladies” for a reason, and they practically scream out for colors chosen from a precise palette, while owners of tract homes can play it safer. In fact, gray with white trim is a big seller, according to Bob Villa, host of TV’s This Old House.

On his website, Villa features a slide show entitled “8 Exterior Paint Colors to Help Sell Your House,” and one home in particular resonated with readers. Built by a Minnesota developer, the home’s photo ended up on and the builder said he received thousands of requests from folks wanting to know the paint colors.

For the record, he was happy to oblige: Benjamin Moore Copley Gray (which actually looks rather brown, at least in the swatch), trimmed with Benjamin Moore Elephant Tusk.

Accentuate the positive

Accenting the negatives is one of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when painting the exterior of their homes, according to the color experts at Sherwin-Williams. “Unattractive elements such as gutters, downspouts, a protruding garage door, air conditioning units, unevenly placed windows” are all things that need to be downplayed.

The experts advise homeowners to accentuate “interesting architectural detailing; it can often sparkle with a contrasting or accent color.”

Tips for choosing color

Naturally you want your home to stand out among all the others, but choose a color that doesn’t clash, but harmonizes with surrounding homes. A darker or lighter shade will still make your home stand out.

The Sherwin-Williams experts suggest that you take color samples home with you and look at them outdoors, during different times of the day and at different angles. When you’ve finally narrowed the choices down but still can’t decide between several colors, buy them each, in small quantities, and find an out-of-the way spot on the home to test them out.

Need more tips? You’ll find them at,, or try the nifty color selector tool at Valspar Paints.

Color gives you an opportunity to create psychological connections with potential buyers and optical illusions that will help direct their vision where you want it to go. A fresh coat of paint is an inexpensive and easy way to create a positive impact when selling your home.

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