How to Paint Your Home to Sell

Most houses have neutral exterior colors already. But if the color stands out from the rest of the homes in the neighborhood or seems outdated, consider repainting.


A fresh coat of paint is hands down the best way to spend your time and money to get the biggest payback when you sell your home. It’s far less expensive than remodeling, and it’s something you can do yourself. But choosing the right colors is the key.

Which color is right for your rooms?

Experts say you should paint all the rooms a neutral color. But what exactly does that mean? “Neutral” depends on what other colors are present in the room. All paint colors have undertones that may not really come out until they are in a room where other elements such as woodwork and furniture bring them out.

In my home staging kit, I carry 11 x 14-in. samples of “neutral” colors to see which one appears truly neutral in any given room.

I have 75 samples, but there are three that I come back to most often: For a room with white trim, I use Sherwin-Williams “Agreeable Gray,” shown at right. For a room with dark woodwork or dark wood elements, I use Sherwin-Williams “Accessible Beige,” shown above. In a room with honey oak, I use Benjamin Moore “Manchester Tan.” Any paint store can match these colors using other paint brands. As per real estate pros, these are the most popular paint colors to sell your house.

David Papazian/shutterstock

Tip: Give your front door some color. Brick red is the most common, followed by navy blue.

“In the U.S., trends start on the coasts and work their way to the middle. Right now, in coastal cities, I’m seeing a trend moving away from gray and beige in favor of creams and whites.”

BEFORE: Dark walls

Family Handyman

AFTER: “Agreeable Gray” wall color

Family Handyman

Next, check out: 10 Interior House Painting Tips & Painting Techniques for the Perfect Paint Job.

Melanie Zaelich
Melanie Zaelich is a certified home stager and stylist, and the owner of Happy Place Interiors