Home Decorating and Staging
Insider Secrets to a Beautiful Home

Color Staging Secrets

Color Staging Secrets

Choosing the right paint color when staging your home can be a nightmare. Paints look very different on little strips of paper in the paint store than painted on large areas of wall. Color does not exist in isolation, it is magnified and altered by light and objects in the room.

Tricky? Yes, but this is one little detail you can't afford to blow. Your walls are the backdrop for everything and the right shade can literally sell your home or send buyers running.

"If you want to sell your home, paint color matters!"

If you're staging to sell your home, you're not decorating, you're marketing. And the purpose of marketing is to entice a buyer.

What will the buyer like? With so many people looking at your home, how can you possibly anticipate what any one person will love?

Stagers Have Learned

  • Most people like neutral walls along with a neutral carpet or wood floor.
  • Pay attention to the hard finishes (floor, carpets, cabinets) that already exist in the home.
  • Create drama by punching it with ONE great accent shade.

Family Room Before

Family Room After

Staging Details

  • Pink walls were painted Sherwin Williams "Kilim Beige", a soft neutral tan.
  • All the existing pictures and accessories were removed.
  • Tan leather sofa replaced the patterned one.
  • Two great pieces of art were added.
  • The red in the pictures is the perfect accent for the room and is repeated in the striped side chair, throw pillows, the floral on the coffee table, and other decorator touches.

Guidelines for Choosing Paint when Staging a Home

  1. If the wood in your home is light to medium (like oak), a soft sandy tan will look best:  Sherwin Williams "Kilim Beige" or "Sand Beach." Benjamin Moore "Shaker Beige" or "Coastal Path." Ralph Lauren "Oatmeal."
  2. If your wood tones are dark, a taupe or grayish tan shade will look better: Sherwin Williams "Accessible Beige," "Bungalow Beige," Benjamin Moore "Manchester Tan," and Benjamin Moore "Revere Pewter."
  3. If you want to go gray, Benjamin Moore "Revere Pewter" is a neutral "greige" shade (beige and gray) and it looks great with everything, unless you have gray carpet. There are many of shades of gray, so match your paint to the carpet (blue gray, green gray, silver gray, purple gray, beige gray). Place your paint sample on the carpet to see which one looks best.
  4. In a bright, sunny, room, you might go a shade darker to keep the walls from looking washed out.
  5. For ceilings and painted trim, a soft white will complement the neutral paints best. My favorite Sherwin Williams whites are: "Dover White" and "Paperwhite."
  6. For your decorator accent, choose ONE shade from a picture or rug and sprinkle it throughout the entire house in pillows, vases, flowers, etc..
  7. Step back periodically and see how it feels. It's so easy to over-do it!

Avoid Paint Mistakes. Whenever choosing a wall paint for staging purposes, check carefully to make sure there are no pink, green or yellow undertones. These tints will be magnified on your walls! Tips to Avoid Making Color Mistakes

Not planning on selling your home any time soon?
Want to add more personality to your home? Have fun and go crazy with wall paint. See more ideas for paint colors.

Serious about making the most money on your home sale? Take care of repairs. Homes that are priced right and in good condition sell first!

Before and After Condo
This homeowner got multiple offers, a contract in under two weeks, and increased the value of her home by $10,000. Kitchen remodel? No, mostly paint and new carpet. The story and Before and After pictures. Sell Your Home for More Money

Before and After Bathroom
The bathroom was in decent repair but terribly outdated. It got a Pottery Barn look with just two cans of paint, a new mirror and some inexpensive floor tile. Inexpensive Bathroom Update 

Inexpensive Bathroom Update Return to

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Alex Hinst is the author of Home Decorating and Staging and owner of Alex Hinst Designs, located in Denver's Historic Highlands.

Alex Hinst Designs has hundreds of success stories in both private and investor home renovations and is dedicated to helping you create your perfect home.