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By Emma Smith

Adding a fresh coat of paint to walls is one of the easiest and most effective ways to transform lifeless interiors.

Not only can this make your home look more current and appealing, it may also generate better auction results – if painted in the right colours that is.

Find out why you shouldn’t overlook the power of colour when prepping your home for auction.

Unleash the power of paint in your home

Homes painted in crisp and clean shades of white are often believed to help a home sell for more. However, the results of a large-scale study flip this conventional wisdom on its head, proving that homeowners should actually be a little bolder in their colour selection process.

Zillow conducted a US-wide survey analysing 32,000 photos of sold homes in a bid to discover how paint colours affected the final selling price on average, and when compared to similar homes painted in shades of white. They found it wasn’t the paint colour used in larger rooms that contributed to higher final selling prices, it was one of the smaller ones: the bathroom.

Homes that featured light powder blue to periwinkle bathrooms generated the highest sales premium of all colours analysed, selling for an average of US$5,400 (AU$7,238) more than expected, and more than their counterparts painted in white hues.

Homes that featured powder blue bathrooms sold for an average of US$5,400 (AU$7238) more than expected.

These pale pastel blues were also top performing shades in the kitchen, with homes selling for an average of US$1,809 (AU$2,424) more than expected, which Zillow chief economist Svenja Gudell puts down to their complementing and calming qualities.

“Painting walls in fresh, natural-looking colours, particularly in shades of blue and pale grey not only make a home feel larger, but are also neutral enough to help future buyers envision themselves living in the space. Incorporating light blue in kitchens and bathrooms may pay off especially well as the colour complements white countertops and cabinets, a growing trend in both rooms.”

Another top performing neutral

Using calming pastel tones didn’t just work wonders for bathrooms and kitchens. When living rooms were painted in subdued beige shades, final selling prices of homes increased by an average of US$1,809 (AU$2,424).

Paint colours like soft oatmeals and pale taupe are warmer alternatives to stark whites, helping a home feel more inviting and cosy, while acting as the perfect base for your buyer’s desired colour schemes.

Which colours deterred buyers?

The study not only revealed the shades that increased a home’s final selling price, it also showcased paint colours that negatively impacted auction results – and some may surprise sellers getting ready to jump on the Australian property market.

While the financial benefits of using blue in the bathroom and kitchen are evident, using silver-tinged and pale blues in the living room did not reveal such results. Instead, Zillow discovered that homes featuring living spaces painted in these softer blues sold for an average of US$820 (AU$1,099) less than expected. Additionally, Zillow warned that homes featuring darker colours can put buyers off, as demonstrated by terracotta dining rooms selling for US$2,031 (AU$2,722) less than anticipated.

However, the biggest shock came from rooms featuring a lack of colour altogether. Bathrooms painted in off-white or white shades sold for US$4,035 (AU$5,408) below similar homes! Due to white shades varying in warmth and coolness, your space can often come across more sterile than soothing, which isn’t attractive to prospective buyers looking for a space that radiates warmth.

Thankfully, painting a room is one of the fastest and easiest ways a seller can try and generate a higher selling price without spending a fortune calling in the pros.

Bathrooms painted in off-white or white shades sold for US$4035 (AU$5408) below similar homes!

What other factors can affect selling price?

It’s not just the paint colours you choose that can affect how your home performs at auction. Here are two other factors that can contribute:

  • Flooring choice – Hardwood flooring was one of the most appealing features to buyers, according to the latest Remodelling Impact Survery from the National Association of Realtors. The average ROI for installing this type of flooring hovers in the 70-80 per cent bracket, and when done right, can add up to 2.5 per cent to the final sale price.
  • Natural lighting –Origin Global – a UK manufacturer of premium doors, windows and blinds – asked 500 people aged 25-44 what their must-have quality of a family home would be. Natural lighting took the top spot, with 26 per cent of participants rating this as a fundamental feature they look for. Accentuate your home’s natural light by replacing heavy window dressings with lighter hangings and adding mirrors to reflect light and brighten the room.

Choosing a soft and subdued colour scheme is the perfect way to increase your chances of selling.

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