There are so many articles about how it’s important to neutralize a home when decorating it to sell on the real estate market.
The most common design element where you see the “neutral rule” at play is in choosing home staging paint colors.
We look at neutralizing because we have a goal of appealing to the greatest number of potential home buyers.
This advice isn’t always appropriate for home staging because we’re not trying to appeal to “everyone.” We’re trying to appeal to the likely target buyer of that property (given it’s price, location and size).
If we think of a 5 bedroom home in a sprawling suburb, that buyer is likely to have a very different aesthetic sense than a bachelor looking for an urban loft for example.
In a suburban family home, you’ll probably stick with safer and more predictable choices when it comes to furniture and wall colors. For the downtown loft, you might choose something bold to appeal to a younger crowd.
Neutral or Boring Paint Colors?
There’s a fine line between “neutral” and “boring” when it comes to decorating and home staging. I rarely paint walls white or a whole home “beige” but when I’m using Benjamin Moore colors, here are 5 of my 80 favorite go-to neutrals:
HC-81 Manchester Tan
HC-93 Carrington Beige
HC-45 Shaker Beige
HC-111 Nantucket Gray
HC-98 Providence Olive
Can you notice the subtle differences between these? For example, Shaker Beige has more pink in it, while Carrington Beige has more yellow. This difference will be way more magnified when you’re looking at it on a whole room than on a tiny sample swatch.
Another tip is that colors look different in different light and depending on what’s around them.
For that reason, try and finalize your color choices in the light that exists in the room it’s going in. Consider what it will look like at different times of day.
Also look at the swatch against a white or black background to really see the color.
For example, you might consider carrying a black piece of velvet in your bag to put the swatch against so you won’t be mislead by looking at it against the existing wall color.
Once you think you’ve found a choice you like, hold it up against other surfaces. For example, how does it look with the floor color?
Paint colors I use in home staging
With the paint color on the walls providing a neutral backdrop, I’ll punch up the rooms with colorful accessories like: art, vases, baskets, flowers, accent cushions, throws, table runners, placemats, bedding, shower curtains and towels.
I almost always choose a signature accent color, or two, to repeat throughout the home. This makes it more visually interesting (ie: less neutral), and ties the different rooms together.
In a recent post, Toss the Color Wheel and Look To Nature for Decorating Colors, I shared the example of how Staging Diva Graduate Adam Luttrell of Shift Property Styling in Tasmania did this with turquoise accents.
For more tips on how to use and how choose home staging paint colors, please check out the Staging Diva Ultimate Color Guide: The Easy Way to Pick Color for Home Staging Projects. Here’s what California home stager Ofelia Doherty says about it:
Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®
President, Voice of Possibility Group Inc.
Debra Gould developed the Staging Diva Training Program to teach others how to earn a living doing something they love. There are now more than 10,000 students in over 20 countries. She is the author of 5 guides including the Staging Diva Ultimate Color Guide: The Easy Way to Pick Colors for Home Staging Projec