Experts say These 6 Paint Ideas are Devaluing Your Home — 'Be Sure to Redecorate if you Plan to Sell!'

Thinking of selling up? Avoid these paint colors to maximize the potential of your space and appeal to prospective buyers

A living room with multiple colors
(Image credit: Future)

Selling up and moving house is stressful enough as it is, so it's no surprise that most people want to avoid any design features that devalue your home. Understandably, the paint colors throughout your space play a huge part in making your home feel inviting and welcoming, so it's hugely important to get them right when it comes to selling. 

Of course, the impact of paint colors on home value is largely subjective. As a disclaimer, we should note that we're big fans of expressive color - if you want to live with a bolder hue or a controversial color pairing then be our guest. That being said, if you plan to sell, there are some instances where a coat of a more palatable paint color might be in order, and when a daring color trend is best avoided.  

The likes of bright neons, dark walls, and bold exteriors are considered less appealing to would-be buyers and therefore could be affecting the perceived value of your home. These should be avoided and instead swapped for cool, fresh-feeling neutrals, that timelessly lift your space. Importantly, paint colors that devalue a home can depend on the architectural style of the home, too, so keep this in mind when considering selling your own home. Here are six paint ideas experts recommend you steer clear of if you plan to sell any time soon. 

1. Bright, Bold, and Unconventional colors

A bedroom painted orange with orange and red soft furnishings

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Bright colored paint ideas might look great with your decor style, but chances are it's not to everyone's taste meaning it could put off potential buyers. 'Bold and unconventional colors, such as bright neon shades or overly personalized choices, might not appeal to a broad audience,' says James Mellan-Matulewicz, CEO & Creative Director at Bobbi Beck. 'They can also be difficult for some buyers to look past when trying to imagine the way they would redesign the space.' 

In particular, professional realtor Lindsey Harn recommends avoiding brightly colored bedrooms. 'Generally, bedrooms that are painted bright or bold colors, like dark red, are not ideal.' Like statement wallpaper, bold bedrooms can feel off-putting to potential buyers as they might make a space feel smaller or busier— a bedroom should feel calming and tranquil. Instead, opting for neutrals will create a blank canvas feel. 

2. Heavily saturated color

brightly colored orange and red living room by Annie Sloan

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

Much like bright colors, decorating with saturated colors is also best avoided. 'The most sure-fire way to devalue your home is to paint your walls a heavily saturated color,' says Maria Vassilou from Maria Zoe Designs. 

'Although that bright pink paint might be your favorite, it might not be for others,' she goes on to say. 'When it comes to re-selling, the first thing potential buyers will notice is the painted walls. Paint is the most inexpensive and best way to make your home more appealing for the masses, so consider a blank canvas for them to imagine their style and furniture in there and go for something more on the white side.' Off-white might be more favorable than a sterile style white, so keep that in mind when you redecorate. 

3. Primary colors

A living room with royal blue walls and pictures hanging on the walls

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Experts also urge you to avoid decorating with primary colors. That's not to say that red, blue and yellow can't look great inside your home, but they can have a garish and unfashionable feel compared to neutrals which are easier on the eye. 

'These colors are interpreted as unsophisticated and therefore imply a lack of investment in your home— not what you want to convey to potential buyers,' says Bethany Adams, Principal of Bethany Adams Interiors. 'They're also a nightmare to paint over, requiring a minimum of three expensive coats of paint, so even if the buyer can see past your taste, they'll start adding up the cost to tone down your palette and may decide it's too much.'

If bright interiors are your thing, you needn't commit to a life of neutrals if you love color though. 'Just select color with more black or brown in it for a moodier hue, and leave the primary colors in the crayon box where they belong,' says Bethany. 

4. Sunny Yellows

yellow interiors

(Image credit: Farrow and Ball)

Pigmented yellows can bring warmth and character to a space (as seen above) but according to Ashley Macuga, Principal Designer of Collected Interiors colors like Tuscan yellow 'just screams early millennium'. 

'I love the movie "Under the Tuscan Sun", but if that golden hue is adorning an accent wall (especially one that’s textured) - it’s time to usher in a color that lifts up your home’s assets, not dates them,' she says. Pale yellow can still really brighten a space and add warmth, so consider toning down you choice of hue before you commit to taking it to your walls.

5. Bold exterior colors

You might only be considering paint colors inside your home, but the exterior color of your house can make a real difference in devaluing it. 'Exterior paint colors that do not fit into the neighborhood can be a real eye sore,' says Lindsey. 'Think of a bright pink Barbie house in a subdued neighborhood.' 

There are cases when a colorful exterior can look charming and inviting, such as a lighter pink Spanish or Victorian-style home, but this is dependent on the style of the house. In general, it is much safer to go for whites or exposed brick if you are thinking of selling up. The best paint colors for the outside of your house will boost your home's curb appeal and make a great impression. 

6. Colors that darken a space

blue green entryway

(Image credit: Camille Hermand Architectures.)

There's been a huge trend for smokey, moody hues lately, but the experts warn against them if you want to attract buyers. In short, any colors that darken the interior space of your home are best avoided. 'Anything that darkens the living space can be negative,' says Lindsey. 

Potential buyers want to feel that your home is open, airy, and welcoming, so avoid dark paint colors which tend to make spaces feel smaller and more enclosed. These can also make a space feel dated, so instead go for light paint colors for your living room to refresh your home.

Which paint ideas add value to your home? 

Neutral living room with furniture arranged in conversational style

(Image credit: Julie Soefer. Design by Marie Flanigan)

If you're planning to sell, think neutrals. 'Neutral and universally accepted colors, like whites, light greys, and beige tones are generally safe choices, as they provide a blank canvas for potential buyers to envision their own style,' says James. It's essential to consider the overall aesthetic of the area and local preferences when choosing paint colors to maximize the market appeal of your home.'

Farrow & Ball paint colors like Elephant's Breath , a warm mid-gray, and Dimity, a very pale taupe, will give your home a fresh, contemporary feel. 'We think that your home should feel sun-kissed and warm, so we suggest staying away from cool tones,' says Shelby Van Daley of Daley Home. 'Instead, try something that looks slightly warmer to elevate your home and the feeling you have when you're in it.'

Finally, if you're a seller with unique taste, it's probably time to re-decorate. 'If your home is painted in colors that may not be liked by everyone, then consider some basic redecorating before putting the house on the market,' recommends James. This can help in converting viewers into buyers, thus increasing your chances of a sale.

Use this expert know-how if you're thinking of selling, and you'll never put off potential buyers again!

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Ottilie Blackhall
Trainee Writer

Ottilie Blackhall is a master’s Magazine Journalism student at City, University of London. After graduating from the University of Edinburgh, with a degree in English Literature and History of Art, she decided to pursue her love of writing and develop her passion for writing about literature and art. Having started a book review blog during lockdown, at City she is working on her portfolio.