A fresh coat of paint is by far the easiest and cheapest way to completely transform the look of a space—and these days, there are just so many shades to choose from that you’re bound to find the perfect one for you, from subtle whites to bright reds. Turns out, our paint obsession is merited: According to Zillow’s 2018 Color Report, the hues you choose to decorate your home with can not only impact its selling price… and the rules vary from room to room.
Zillow looked at over 135,000 photos from sold houses across the country to see how certain paint colors impacted their average final price when compared to similar homes with white walls.
Whereas the other features that increase the sales price of a home can be a pain to install, both logistically and financially, adding a fresh coat of paint is less of a big lift. “For a seller, painting a front door is one the least expensive home prep projects, but also one that can have a powerful impact on a home’s sale price,” said Kerrie Kelly, Zillow home design expert.
Ahead, check out the somewhat surprising paint colors that can entirely change the cost of your home.
It turns out, peaceful colors rule when it comes to the bathroom, with pale blue rooms selling for about $2,786 more on average. Defined as having a pale, greyish tint, it’s assumed the color provides a calming effect on the mind, which is just what you need when you’re relaxing in the bath or applying your nightly creams and potions.
For the dining room, color doesn’t seem to make all that much of a difference… unless that color is brown. It was found that, on average, homes painted what is defined as “brown with yellow undertones; I.E, oat to medium sandy brown” sold for $1,684 less than average. The reason? Zillow seems to think that homes with neutral colors simply have wider appeal for minimalists and maximalists alike, “and may be a signal that the home is well cared for or has other desirable features.”
More wood-like colors and undertones are also a little limiting, as they might deter future homeowners from mixing in modern furniture, jeweled tones, or even more hardwood—whereas lighter colors, on the other hand, generally serve as a blank canvas for more experimental design choices.
The kitchen is often referred to as the heart of the home, and for good reason—it serves as a gathering place for families, and a respite for those who love to cook. It’s interesting to note, then, that when it comes to this room, one very specific look seems to perform better: Tuxedo kitchens, or kitchens where the upper and lower cabinets are painted two different colors, sell for a $1,547 premium. White cabinets contrasted with a navy blue or black kitchen island were some of the most common tuxedo kitchens in top-performing listings, which creates a streamlined, sleek look inspired by clean lines and Scandi style.
The colors that don’t work? Reds like brick and raspberry, which resulted in a loss of an average $2,310—again, more maximalist hues, and probably not the most relaxing colors.
Another clear winner when it comes to calm, cooling shades, peach and tan hues are the way to go for living rooms, with light taupe colors adding a profit of $2,793. More specifically, the study defines this color as “a warm tan with pink or peach undertones, with darker peach to pink undertones on accent walls.” Basically, we’re seeing pale colors in both cool and warm tones be all the rage right now in various rooms of the house.
As for exterior shots? Well, it seems like bright yellows do not do well, yielding a net loss of $3,408—the highest in the study. Being that more fashion-forward colors don’t tend to perform, this makes sense. Why? Potential buyers find it hard to imagine their own furniture and design styles mixed in the space when a bold design choice already exists.
That said, there is one major area of the home where deep, moody colors appear to overtake the lighter neutral hues: the front door. Per Zillow, homes with smoky, rich black to charcoal doors sell a whopping $6,271 above average—a number which is no small feat, especially given that black is such a bold color.
So, what can you take away from this study? For one, minimalism is in. And two, while people seem to be loving darker hues that play off light shades in a unique way, keeping the majority of the home neutral is key.
“While cool, neutral wall colors like tan and light blue are still popular, we’re seeing a notable shift in home design where pops of color – particularly in darker hues of blue and gray to even black—are becoming increasingly popular. Contrasting colors, especially in kitchens and home exteriors add interest and dimension to a room that plays very well in listing photos and videos,” explains the survey.
Want some bonus paint content? Check out our guide to the trendiest colors of 2019.
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