A fresh coat of paint is often a simple solution to making a home more attractive, and a recent analysis by Seattle-based real estate marketplace Zillow reveals that the right color might also improve your home’s value.
By analyzing more than 32,000 listing photos of recently sold homes across the nation, Zillow found that houses with pale blue bathrooms sold for $5,440 more compared to similar homes with white bathrooms (a decent return on the cost of a can of paint and a little labor).
Using blue as a neutral color throughout the house works well in Seattle’s real estate market, says Kerrie Kelly, Zillow home design expert and founder of Kerrie Kelly Design Lab. “Hues of blues and gray are wonderful choices in many of Seattle’s Craftsman-style homes and complement white molding beautifully.”
Blue in other rooms also correlated to an increased value compared to white-walled homes: Houses with soft gray-blue kitchens sold for $1,809 more, and houses with cerulean bedrooms sold for $1,856 more.
But blue—and grays with blue undertones—aren’t just being used on existing homes. Windermere Bellevue West broker Randy Ginn, a certified new construction specialist who represents many newly built properties on the Eastside, says these colors add a modern, polished look to the homes being built in the area.
“We’ve seen a lot of slate gray and Cape Cod blue with white accents on exteriors,” says Ginn. “I expect this trend of everything getting lighter, and soft palettes of color, to last for a while.”
These light hues are best when paired with splashes of vibrant colors in strategic places. Colors such as turquoise and cherry red on front doors are accents that increase street appeal and catch the eye in listing photos.
Chris Doucet, the managing broker for Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty and a former interior designer, notes: “With the booming economy, people are riskier with colors, and it reflects a sense of optimism.” These pops of color against neutral tones paint a bright future for sellers—and buyers.
A turquoise shade can catch the eye of potential buyers; red pops play well off of blues and grays, too.
Kerrie Kelly, Zillow’s home design maven, offers a few tips for sellers.
Don’t underestimate web appeal
With many first-time home buyers turning to online sites to browse houses, colors in online listing photos are crucial. Kelly recommends using neutral colors that blend well as they are a “great backdrop for helping buyers envision themselves living in the home.”
Bigger is Better
Neutrals, such as gray and blue, not only snag online viewers, but have the visual effect of making spaces look larger—always a plus when selling a home.
The Outside Counts As Much As the Inside
Zillow’s study found that “greige” (a mix of gray and beige) exteriors sold better on average than houses with brown or stucco exteriors.