You want your home to be warm and inviting, whether it’s your for now home or your forever home. Painting your space promises a great return on investment, whether your end goal is a market-ready house or simply a home that brings you joy and respite when you walk in the door after a long day.

If You’re Looking to Leave

Ask your favorite realtor what advice he or she would give you about selling your home, and you’ll no doubt hear things like, “Make sure you get the pricing right,” and, “Don’t underestimate the value of investing in professional staging and photography.” You’ll be advised that you should make sure everything is neat and organized (and that nobody wants to see your 5,000 piece clown-themed collection scattered through every room of the house). But you might be surprised to learn that realtors are just as quick to emphasize the difference a fresh coat of paint can make. And these top 30 real estate agents on UpNest would agree!

Your grandma was right: You really do only get one chance to make a first impression. Fresh paint makes a house look clean and new. It says that the person selling the house cares about its condition and maintains it well. (And the right color choice can even give the impression of a larger space than you have.)

But what is the “right” color? That answer depends on whether you’re painting your home for someone else or for you. Your favorite NFL team’s colors in stripes across your living room? Not the direction you want to go if a sale is your goal. General guidance on picking paint colors suggests you should always opt for light and/or neutral colors. That doesn’t, however, mean that you need to be resigned to having white walls.

Zillow conducted analysis on sold residential properties and the impact color had on sale prices (compared to white walls) and made some interesting discoveries about the value of certain paint colors over others.

It turns out that it’s not just a matter of what color; it’s a matter of what color where. For instance, they found a greige (mix of gray and beige) exterior added more than $1,526 to the sale price of a similar house in white. A living room painted in the light brown color family (think beige, taupe…) added over $1,800 in value. You can see more of their findings here. (Keep in mind that if you’re thinking about painting in a non-neutral color, these results were based on 2017 analysis, and trends in colors change over time!)

If you’re actively selling your home (or preparing it for sale), you’ve got a lot on your plate already. Finding a realtor. Decluttering countless years of accrued belongings. Scouting new potential home locations. You can take painting off that to-do list by using trusted professional service providers.

But what if you have no plans to sell (or ever leave) your home?

If You’re Planning to Stay

 If home is your happy place (or you’re working to create a home that makes you happy), the rules for painting are different. You’re painting for you and not for some “target market” of folks.

There’s an entire science of color psychology that addresses the impact of color on mood. It’s no accident that fast food restaurant colors are often red (which triggers attention and appetite) and yellow (which triggers happiness), or that your favorite blue shirt makes you feel calm in stressful situations.

So what colors make you feel how you want to feel? Think about whether there is a certain mood you want to convey in each room of your house. Do you want your living room to feel formal? Or welcoming? Do you want your home office to feel high power? Or zen?

Not sure? There’s inspiration to be found everywhere. Take note of the choices others make when you’re in someone else’s home. What do you like? What doesn’t work for your taste? Visit your favorite design magazines (or websites) and see how they utilize color creatively (you can start here for ideas.) Be attentive to the things that catch your eye. Have fun with this—the whole rainbow is yours to use!

Professional painting is just one of the many services HPI provides. Take advantage of a free in-home estimate on all services. Call 410.757.2658 to schedule your appointment.