When Painting for Resale, Boring is Better

Under Home Improvement

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Written on March 13th, 2020

March break is fast approaching, and with COVID-19 impacting travel plans left and right it’s likely that more people than usual will be staying close to home this year.  One way to turn this negative into a bit more of a positive is to catch up on projects around the house. For folks thinking of selling in the next few months or even years, there are few projects that can match the return on investment of a fresh coat of paint, especially if you do it yourself.

This, of course, brings up the question of what colour to go with.  Realtors are well known for recommending neutral (and some might say boring) paint tones – usually various shades of white, also known as “soft whites.”  To some people this seems uninspiring, but it makes complete sense from a Realtor’s perspective. Our objective is to help make your home appealing to the broadest possible range of potential buyers. A bolder colour might suit your personal taste, but chances are that when you do eventually decide to sell it won’t appeal to as many people as a soft shade of white.  Or perhaps a better way of thinking about it is that fewer people dislike soft whites than they do, say, Cavalry Brown or Periwinkle Blue.  And prospective buyers know that those much needed splashes of colour can be added easily and less permanently with accessories like throw pillows, area rugs and curtains.

As Yellowknife-based interior designer Charlotte Henry explained to me earlier today, another benefit of going with a soft white tone is it makes a room seem more spacious (Realtors love that word….”spacious”.)  But she cautions that not all shades of soft white are created equal. With our long dark northern winters, whites that have blue undertones, like Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore, although very popular in the South, can make a northern Canadian room feel too cold.  Charlotte prefers warm whites.  Her “go to” is Snowfall White, also by Benjamin Moore, which she says “looks really great during all seasons and works with all types of woods.”

If Snowfall White doesn’t suit your taste, there are dozens of others to choose from at our local building supply and paint stores.  If you find the selection too overwhelming (I know I do), perhaps check out a couple of articles online first, like this one.

One final tip – if you really want to give a room that spacious feel, Charlotte says you should consider painting your baseboards and trim the exact same shade of white as your walls.  This will make your walls seem taller.  But if you do so, be sure to go with a higher sheen for the trim than for the walls. She recommends satin sheen for baseboards and trim and flat or eggshell for walls.

To find out more about Charlotte’s company and all the services she provides, visit her website at charlottehenrydesign.com.  And if you would like additional advice on preparing your home for sale, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at adrian.bell@century21.ca and I’ll put you in touch with one of our amazing Realtors.