7 Paint Colors That Make a House Sell for More Money

7 Paint Colors That Make a House Sell for More Money

“Hearst Magazines and Yahoo may earn commission or revenue on some items through these links.”

It’s one of the golden rules of real estate: Paint your walls white before your home hits the market so buyers can imagine a blank canvas. But the most recent paint study from a major real estate site shows that, on the contrary, adding rich, moody hues to your home can help you drive up the sale price. According to Zillow’s paint color analysis, buyers pay, on average, $2,512 more for a house with a kitchen painted in charcoal gray, while a dark gray living room can net sellers $1,755 more.

In 2024, color—particularly bold, dramatic, statement-making color—remains a top priority, Amanda Pendleton, home trends expert at Zillow, says. “All-white walls are not only falling out of fashion but can even hurt a home’s value,” she says. She expects to see more homeowners take color risks in 2024 and increasingly see those risks pay off when it’s time to sell.

Designers say the study rings true to their experience. “The moody work of designers like Jake Arnold, Amber Interiors, and Heidi Callier has been dominating Pinterest, so it’s no wonder homeowners are emulating the cozy styles and searching them out when they go to purchase a new home,” Bethany Adams, principal of her eponymous design firm in Louisville, Kentucky, says. “Whether dark gray, green, blue, or another deep color with neutral undertones, these spaces are incredibly evocative and easy to imagine oneself in.”

The Problem With White Paint Colors

By contrast, the Zillow study shows that a white kitchen is losing ground and can actually cause a buyer’s offer to drop by more than $600. That may be because a blank canvas can sometimes read as boring and basic.

“When staging a home for sale, most guides will tell you to simply paint everything white, but luxury home buyers are looking for turnkey properties that look and feel designed, not institutional,” Jason Saft, founder of Staged To Sell Home, a staging service in New York, says. “People strive to have the perfect backdrop at home.”

That doesn’t mean that you can’t have a single white wall. Houston designer Benjamin Johnston says, “White walls will never go out of style. They lend a beautiful foundation to introduce color through decor, furniture, and art.” But he agrees that rich hues can boost a sale price, explaining, “That being said, social media and the ease with which others can now showcase their homes can cause a bit of design FOMO. People see others experimenting with color, pattern, and wallpaper, and want to try it themselves. There’s now just an abundance of color and creativity to explore.”

The penchant for dark, rich colors certainly comes from exposure to mood boards and projects seen on social media, but it connects with us on a deeper level. “Human beings have an innate desire for belonging,” Mehnaz Khan, a color psychology specialist and principal at Color Conscious Living in Albany, New York, says. “And if you have a house that has the same interior colors as a favorite influencer, that creates a sense of belonging and community. That’s why people follow trends.” Also, Khan points out, no one wants a boring home. On a subconscious level, the beiges of the aughts create an illusion that “the house is stuck, and nobody wants to spend their life savings on a house that needs work,” Khan says.

Where to Focus Your Budget When Repainting

Ahead of summer, a busy time for home buying, Zillow’s latest Market Heat Index shows that nationally the market is turning neutral, though sellers still have a slight upper hand. Just keep in mind that all real estate is local. Some metro areas are tilted strongly in favor of buyers, while others favor sellers. It all depends on demand and how many homes are listed for sale in your area.

Regardless of whether you’re in a buyer’s market or a seller’s market, certain homes that have desirable features and are up-to-date and move-in ready can still sell faster and for money, Pendleton says. “The right paint colors can deliver a powerful visual signal to a buyer that a home is well maintained and contemporary, while the wrong paint colors can create the opposite impression,” she adds.

Zillow research finds that painting a home’s common spaces has the greatest impact on resale value. “Homeowners will get the biggest bang for their buck if they’re strategic about the colors they select in their kitchen and living room,” Pendleton says.

For more paint color inspiration:

Silver in the Kitchen

Zillow research shows that a kitchen painted in graphite gray can sell for an estimated $2,512 more and one in a midtone pewter can go for $2,553 more than expected. Saft has worked on homes using pewter and charcoal shades including Benjamin Moore’s greenish-silver Antique Pewter, their dark blue-gray Hale Navy, and Kendall Charcoal. The kitchen shown here, designed by Catherine Kwong, has steel gray cabinets that contrast nicely with the navy blue island.

Related: 20 Best Gray Paint Colors, According to Designers


Nicole Franzen

Dark Gray in the Living Room and Bedroom

Outside the kitchen, pale neutrals don’t command as much cash as a dark gray hue, which can increase an offer by $1,755. “Dark colors have a soothing effect, so using them in bedrooms or any rooms designed for relaxing makes perfect sense,” Adams says. “It’s also easy for potential home buyers to imagine their own potentially more colorful furnishings in rooms that are painted gray or another dark neutral.” This living room designed by Lauren Nelson is painted in Farrow & Ball Dove Tale, a warm gray with purple undertones.

Related: The Absolute Best Paint Colors for Living Rooms

living room with gray wall paint with purple undertonesliving room with gray wall paint with purple undertones

Seth Smoot

Black on the Front Door

While gray is a winner indoors, a midtone cement paint color on the front door won’t do you any good. In fact, it can actually lower the offer price by $3,365, the Zillow study found. Previous Zillow research finds that black doors can help a home sell for an estimated $6,449 more. A midtone rosy brown on a front door is also beneficial, as it is said to get offers of $300 more.

Related: 50 Welcoming Front Door Colors for Your Home

White, Door, Home, Property, House, Building, Porch, Flowerpot, Home door, Wall, White, Door, Home, Property, House, Building, Porch, Flowerpot, Home door, Wall,

Victoria Pearson

Mint Green in the Kitchen

Location is the first rule of real estate, but it matters with paint colors, too. A pistachio hue in a kitchen can boost offer prices by almost $400. Designer Laura W. Jenkins used Farrow & Ball Teresa’s Green here. In a living space or bedroom, however, a mint paint color can drop a potential offer by about $1,300 and $1,100, respectively.

The National Kitchen & Bath Association’s (NKBA) 2024 kitchen report pinpointed shades of green, from deep forest greens to softer sages, as a top kitchen trend that’s gaining momentum.

Related: 18 Green Paint Colors Designers Love

a kitchen with a stove and a chimneya kitchen with a stove and a chimney

Jeff Herr

Blue in the Living Room

“People who are ready to dip their toes in color in their home but still fear long-term commitment begin with blue,” Khan says, noting that people are open to a blue sofa more than any other color. Zillow showed that a jay blue living room can bump a home’s offer by $446. Here, Rudy Saunders painted the walls of his Upper East Side apartment in Fine Paints of Europe Jefferson Blue from the Dorothy Draper paint collection. Just keep in mind that the hue is less popular in kitchens and can actually lower an offer price by almost $1,400.

Related: 63 Blue Paint Colors That Designers Rely On

living room with teal wallsliving room with teal walls


Terra Cotta in the Bathroom

Evoke a sense of being au courant with an earth-tone-but-brighter terra-cotta bathroom, which, according to Zillow, could inspire buyers to offer an estimated $1,624 more. Rich, orange-reddish earth tones look elevated, as Sherwin-Williams Bella Pink proves on the walls of this bathroom in designer Lathem Gordon‘s Georgia home. Another great choice is comforting Redend Point, the Sherwin-Williams 2023 color of the year, which can work wonders in a small space. “In terms of color psychology, the right hue of orange in the right place will create feelings of warmth and physical comfort,” Khan adds.

Related: Here’s the Right Way to Do Earth-Tone Decorating


Emily J Followill

The Exception to the Rule: A White Exterior

While white interior walls may have fallen out of fashion, a white exterior remains a top choice, according to Fixr’s 2024 Paint and Color Trends Report. For the analysis, the home improvement site polled 71 home stagers and interior designers. Nearly half of the experts agreed that white is the best color for exteriors when selling a home.

“When selecting white paint for your home’s exterior, consider your home’s style, the surrounding landscape, and the neighborhood aesthetic,” Jodi Peterman, owner of Elizabeth Erin Designs, says. “Crisp white can make a home look fresh and modern, but choosing a shade that complements other exterior elements like roofing, trim, and stone features is essential.”

Avoid a stark white as it can appear too harsh, she advises. Instead, opt for a softer white with warm or cool undertones that enhance your home’s architecture. Also, observe how the white looks in different lighting throughout the day, Peterman says. Two of her favorite white exterior paint colors are Benjamin Moore White Dove and Sherwin Williams Greek Villa, which has a slight green undertone.

Of course, a white exterior can be associated with certain styles of houses, from modern to farmhouse or coastal, so if it’s not a match for your home, you might want to consider one of these 36 welcoming exterior colors instead.

Related: The Best Exterior Paint Colors


Nate Sheets

What Interior Colors Should Sellers Avoid?

Reds are the most off-putting colors to homebuyers, according to 59 percent of the home stagers and designers Fixr polled. It makes a lot of sense that red interiors are least popular: Red can be very opinionated and loud, says architect and feng shui expert Anjie Cho, coauthor of Mindful Living and cofounder of the Mindful Design Feng Shui School. “A little red goes a long way. You always notice the person wearing red in a room,” she says. “So it should be used strategically. When designing a space using feng shui we will often intentionally add a small amount of red to dramatically shift the energy of a space. This doesn’t necessarily mean painting a whole wall or even part of a wall. It might just be a bouquet of fresh red flowers or a small accent of red in artwork.”

Lime green, mustard yellow, pink, and turquoise are also some of the colors that could turn buyers away, the study shows.

But, Adams points out, if you’re not planning to sell your home in the near future, go with the colors you love.

Related: Why Red Can Be a Great Choice for a Bathroom

line breakline break

Soumi Sarkar

Paint Finishes Matter Too

One more thing: It’s not just the paint colors you choose that can make a difference—it’s the texture and finishes. Six in 10 design pros surveyed by Fixr indicated they preferred natural or raw finishes, which refers to paint finishes made of natural ingredients. Matte finishes that are nonreflective and have a low shine or gloss are also favored by designers and help homeowners achieve a soft or muted look. Glossy finishes have fallen out of favor, with just 16 percent of experts favoring this type of paint. Glossy paint is great at reflecting light, but it can also put a spotlight on fingerprints, scuff marks, and any other types of imperfections on your walls.

Related: An Expert Guide to Limewash Paint

line breakline break

Soumi Sarkar

You Might Also Like