The Best Paint Colors for Selling a Home

If you're thinking about painting your home to help sell it, that may be a great decision. While your home may reflect “you” to a “t,” buyers need to imagine themselves in a house, and neutral tones are best paint colors for selling a house in most cases.

Repainting is one of the most common pre-sale improvements, because it's relatively inexpensive and can have a big impact on your ability to attract an offer quickly and at your ideal price point. The reality is that paint color packs a serious punch in the real estate game.

Should I Paint my home before I sell my home

Yes, in most cases, you should paint your house before selling. But only if you want it to sell for the best price. If you want to dive in further and be 100% sure that you should, in fact, paint your house before you sell it, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Did you hang any pictures on the walls with nails?
  • Are there holes in the wall or patches on the wall that haven’t been fixed and painted over?
  • Is there more than one color on the walls of your house (not including white)?
  • Is there writing on the walls anywhere in the house?
  • Is there an accent wall or any murals in the house?
  • Have you lived in the home for over five years?
  • Are you a smoker?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should consider painting your house before selling it if you want to attract more buyers.


Homes with kitchens outfitted in soft, blue or gray hues often sell for a premium.


Traditional beige, oatmeal and soft taupe reign supreme in living spaces. Homes with warm brown living room walls sell for more than expected.

The most common paint colors to use in every room of your home are neutral colors like gray, beige and white. Ask yourself these questions while selecting paint samples:  

  • Does it feel warm and inviting?
  • Does it feel cold or boring?
  • Can you see the previous color underneath?

Neutral colors are also versatile–you can pair any color couch to a white living room wall and any color dining set to a beige kitchen interior. During an open house, home buyers can more easily imagine their decor in a neutral room than a chartreuse room they would have to repaint.

When you paint your home’s whole interior the same neutral tone, you save money because you can buy in bulk. Additionally, common wooden furniture and accents like crown molding, benches and floating shelves complement neutral colors. Popular wall fixtures like iron sconces and antique brass lamps also harmonize with gray, white, or beige.


Fresh, clean and soothing – pale blue is the best-selling hue for the washroom.

Colors you want to AVOID when staging and selling a home

  • Dark colors (e.g. black, navy, dark brown, dark blues/purples/greens – they make your space look smaller and more closed in
  • Taste specific colors or colors that evoke specific reactions (e.g. reds, burgundy’s)
  • Bright and saturated colors (e.g. orange, bright yellow, bright green, etc.)
  • Gender specific colors (e.g. pinks, lavenders).
  • Warm colors, especially yellows and colors with orange undertones.
  • Linen white, or similar “off white” colors that have yellow undertones (yellows/warm colors are so dated…and linen white is used in rental apartments so it looks cheap).
  • Many different colors (this makes house look smaller and creates more clutter)
In 2020 has gray has left the building?

If you’ve repainted in the last few years, chances are your home has some gray walls. Mine certainly does. And if you’re feeling like it’s time to move on, you’re not alone.

When everything went gray

Laura McGarity is currently teaching a class on color theory, she's studied color for some 20 years. She is an interior designer and assistant professor of interior design at the University of Louisville.

To understand where we’re going, we first looked at where we’ve been, and just why gray took over all our homes. McGarity points to the economy. “When September 11 and the stock market crash in 2008 happened there was an onslaught of gray,” she said. “Consumers, they don't feel hopeful so they were more drawn to gray and if you look back the same thing happened in the Great Depression. Anytime the economy takes a downturn color trends change.”

But it wasn’t all just cocooning. It’s super versatile. Gray is “almost like a chameleon,” said McGarity. “You can make it do a lot of things and people liked that.” Gray can go warm or cool, and it fit with the move in interiors and design to a more gender neutral, slightly more masculine look, she said. It also let people experiment. Before I painted my kitchen walls black, I painted other rooms increasingly darker shades of gray.

Like any trend though, gray may have finally played out. “Right now people are moving away from gray, the cool gray especially,” McGarity said. “I don’t think it will ever go away but it’s hit its peak.” And once a darling of realtors, word in design circles is that realtors are turning away from it.

Where do we go from here? We’re definitely using a lot more color, said McGarity, as people "want to feel happy, they want to feel warm again.” But crisp, clean white fits our current lifestyle, she said. And we can thank … IKEA?

Think about it. In past generations, people bought furniture in their 20s when they got married, and that’s what they kept for 40 years, said McGarity. Now we have access to design-forward furnishings and accessories that are financially plausible to replace every few years.

“We live in an economy and society where we can have anything we want,” she said. “Now we can have the bright red sofa or the green chair. If you have a blue velvet couch for five years then you can change it.”

Not that this is necessarily a good thing, she added. “I’m not saying I agree. I don’t like that we have a throwaway society. But it’s influenced how we live.”

And it’s influenced how we paint. The fact is “many of those low price furnishings look better with a white backdrop because it’s clean,” she said. Trendy accessories and the omni-present houseplants pop more against white, and the interior furnishings become the star.

It also works without all the accessories. McGarity points to the movement toward Marie Kondo and simplicity. “When you get rid of things and don’t have stuff everywhere, the white is serene. White ... feels like simplicity and clean.”

Sherwin Williams Color Visualizer

Find the perfect colors for your walls with Sherwin Williams Color Visualizer tool. You can virtually paint your home, or experiment with one of their rooms.

See color in your room

The Color Visualizer is a great way to see different colors in your room prior to purchasing paint. It can save you time and possibly some money.

Here is a link so you can check out the Color Visualizer. Due to individual computer monitor limitations, colors seen may not accurately reflect HGTV HOME® by Sherwin-Williams paint colors. To confirm your color choices, visit your nearest store and refer to the in-store color cards.