Refresh, Renew and Redo
When you are selling your home one of the easiest and biggest ‘value add’ activity, and often DIY, is to paint out the interior. Freshly painted walls & ceilings not only freshens up the look and feel of the home, but it can also ‘update’ or modernise the home.
When inspecting houses, potential buyers, want to be able to imagine their own furniture and belongings in a home. Brightly colored walls or the use of different colors in each room can make the house feel busy, over-bearing and confusing creating an unnecessary distraction when viewing your home. To win them over, it is important to present your home as a ‘clean slate’ that they can inject their own personality and style into.
Remember that once you decide to sell your home it no longer needs to ‘feel’ like your home. It is often difficult for home owners to distance themselves from a house that they have lived in for decades and the items and style of the the home. The sooner you can detach yourself and your emotional connection from the home, the easier it will be to make the necessary updates or changes needed.
Creating a neutral home doesn't necessarily involve a complete ‘white out’ or making it devoid of any personality at all. On the contrary, a single colour or limited colour palette can link rooms, and unify the home, creating a good flow and a feeling of calmness. Often a consistent palette can also make rooms and the overall house appear larger than it is.
There are a few considerations when making your choice of colour palette
- Architecture of your home – do you have exposed paneling, timber beams or brick walls, low or high ceilings, type and colour of your floor treatments e.g. timber, tiles, or carpets on the floor?
- The type and style of furniture that will stay in the house during open days
- The amount of natural light in the rooms at different times of the day
There are many different whites on the market, which can be very confusing! The base tint can have blue, yellow, pink undertones that can look very different on your walls than they do on the paint swatches. The best advice is to take the time to go into the paint store and look at the whites as a group and select a few that you like, then get a few sample pots to try the paint at home.
Selling the Palette
There are no wrongs or rights when it comes to choosing your interior paint colours, but there are some combinations, regardless of your décor or interior style, that are tried and tested.
There are a number of paint ranges and manufacturers in Australia, however a favourite of mine is the US based Benjamin Moore paints. Benjamin Moore have become famous for their extensive range of neutrals, especially greys, so I'm going to use them as an example.
Colours become popular with designers for there adaptability and broad appeal, a quality that is especially important to home stylists. Whites are also selected on adaptability, however the surface the paint will be used and the base colour will also be an important part of making the final decision, e.g. a designer may use one tone of white on the walls and another on the woodwork.
Whiter than White
The white paint should also work well with the wall colour you choose. The base of the white could change the way you see the wall colour too. For example, a white with a blue base may bring blue out in the grey you are using on the walls. The only way to really know how they will appear is to paint them next to each other in the rooms you will eventually paint.
A bright white, such as simply white, is a bright white or a white as you can get (it has very neutral base tone, i.e. It’s not blue, green or grey) so it’s great for a really ‘clean & fresh’ finish. Simply white is also a wonderful border to your walls, i.e. On the woodwork, because of its sharp white finish. In some rooms, such as the bathroom or kitchen, you may prefer the white crispness on the walls to match cabinetry, baths or basins.
Cloud White (Benjamin Moore) is a warmer tone of white, while it’s base remains neutral, so when you look at it by itself it looks ‘white’, however when you compare it to some of the more ‘clean and fresh’ off-whites, it may appear more greyish.
White Dove (Benjamin Moore) is warmer off-white and almost has a more creamy or ‘greige’ and a slightly darker feeling in comparison to Cloud White and Simply White. White Dove (on walls) is often teamed up with Simply white (architraves or woodwork) as it is in the picture below.
Any wall colour you choose needs to be sympathetic to your current interior, unless you are planning to style your home for sale, a mis-match will look awkward. Its also a good idea to enhance the features or colours of elements of the house you cant change with styling, e.g. floor boards carpet or tiles, rather than fight them. Lastly, get some inspiration from magazines, Pinterest, paint manufacturers websites etc., because they will have the colours that are on trend right now.
Grey tones are definitely the ‘now’ colour for interiors and are very versatile, giving the walls a lift without being overpowering. Like our whites, greys vary according to the colour (blue, yellow or green) in its base, so its very important to test them in your home.
The amount of natural light is very important when you apply a colour to the walls, so check it out at various times of the day as some colours, including grey, can look ‘dirty’ in dark rooms. This is something we definitely want to avoid when our goal is the ‘freshen up’ the house! Here's a few of my favourites that work beautifully in most rooms.
Revere Pewter is a 'modern classic' bridging the void between grey and beige and coining the description 'greige'. The colour is warm and inviting with a soft hue that is welcoming and calming. Revere Pewter is a sophisticated colour that works well in an large open plan or small intimate room. Natural light will illuminate the colour and soften the tone, in a smaller room you can reduce the colour saturation by increasing the tint (white) to get a similar effect.
Gray (Grey) Owl
Gray Owl is a more traditional grey that has rich, deep tones that deliver a pure illuminated colour to your walls. Like the other 'greys', Gray Owl is a sophisticated hue that will look give your rooms a fresh clean and modern feeling. Try a crisp white, such as Simply White on the woodwork to deliver a sharp finish.
Edgecomb Gray (Grey)
Edgecomb is a modern grey that has timeless appeal. It is fresh and warm with an organic or earthy feel that makes any room feel cosy and welcoming.
Getting a Good Finish
Lastly, a quick reminder to have a think about the finish you would like on your woodwork and walls. Matte or Low Sheen finishes are often better choice for the walls as they don’t tend to show up any imperfections in the plaster. Apply a filler to any existing cracks that you have in the plaster and sand it back to give yourself a nice smooth surface to paint on.
The woodwork is best painted with a semi gloss or full gloss enamel to brighten it up and distinguish it from the walls (even if it’s the same colour). If you are unsure, most paint shops are able to offer you advice on paint finishes.
Top Tips for Painting to Sell
- Consider all the architectural and fixed features of your home when choosing the colour palette
- Do your homework - research the internet and magazines for the latest looks
- Visit a paint store and invest in colour swatches and sample paints to look at in the room(s)
- Adjust the colours depending on the natural light in the room, any changes to the tint will work as long as the colours are consistent
- Prepare your walls really well, it pays off at the end!
Credits to Benjamin Moore paints for images www.benjaminmoore.com