For anyone who's spent too much time in Home Depot staring at paint chips, you know that choosing how to color your walls can make or break the whole vibe. And if you're going into the project with return on investment in mind (you probably should), it can be an even bigger war between your style versus what will sell.
When Zillow analyzed 135,000 photos of homes sold across the country, they calculated which paint colors impacted sale price. The result? Some trendy choices increased home value, but some bad decisions made homes sell for less.
First, let's take a look at the bad.
THE PAINT JOBS THAT DECREASE THE HOME'S VALUE MOST
A yellow exterior: -$3,408. Once, while wandering around a charming neighborhood in Atlanta, I stopped dead in my tracks when I spotted a yellow — I mean highlighter yellow — house in the distance. It caught my attention for all the wrong reasons, and that of the many birds flocking around it, too. Even if you're not going that extreme, avoid everything from creamy bright yellows, to flax yellows, to yellows with brown undertones, all of which negatively affected home values in the analysis. Just ... don't go there.
A red kitchen: -$2,310. There's a reason why some of your favorite restaurants have warm color schemes — like red, orange and yellow — throughout their branding. These hues can promote activity, which in cooking and dining settings can nudge you to eat more and at a faster pace. Ditch the energetic vibe in the kitchen for calming neutrals and cooler tones instead.
It's bold. It's daring. And it could pay off.
A brown dining room: -$1,684. The '70s may be having a moment in fashion, but retro home trends can stay in the past. Homebuyers weren't willing to pay up for places with dining rooms painted in oat brown, medium sandy brown, or brown with yellow undertones.
THE PAINT JOBS THAT INCREASE THE HOME'S VALUE MOST
Here are some trendy (and potentially valuable) home paint projects to consider instead.
A black front door: +$6,271. It's bold. It's daring. And it could pay off. Houses with front doors ranging from charcoal to smoky black to a rich jet black saw the biggest positive effect on selling price. As far as bold color choices, it's best to stick with pops of color rather than committing to large rooms. Choosing the front door kicks off a memorable first impression — plus it has the benefit of being an inexpensive, easy home project you can DIY in a weekend. Color us impressed.
A light blue bathroom: +$2,786. Light blues with a grey tint — think periwinkle — keep the space in a cool neutral zone with just the right amount of pizazz. This is the second year in a row in which Zillow found homes with blue bathrooms tend to sell for more. Just think of all the bath-bomb photo ops!
A light taupe living room: +$2,793. While darker shades of brown spell trouble for home value, lighter shades of taupe with pink or peach undertones can warm up a room and create a more inviting gathering space.
A tuxedo kitchen: +$1,574. Pin this trend to your boards: Kitchens with white or light-colored upper cabinets paired with dark navy or black lower cabinets are very in — and homebuyers will pay up for the look. Homes with kitchen island cabinets painted a dark hue also provide the luxe high-contrast aesthetic that can boost a home's value.