The right paint color in the right room can have a big impact on a buyer’s impression of a home and a home’s sale price. Zillow’s latest interior paint color analysis finds that homes with light blue bathrooms could sell for up to $4,698 more than expected, while homes with trendy mint green kitchens could sell for $1,830 less than expected.
These findings are based on a new Zillow®-commissioned study1 of nearly 1,300 recent or prospective U.S. homebuyers. Each color received a score based on how interested participants were in touring a home, buying a home and the price they would be willing to pay for the home, based on viewing that color in a particular room. Price premiums were calculated based on a typical U.S. home value of $290,000.
The clear winner was pale sky blue in the bathroom, scoring 93 out of 100. Recent and prospective buyers said they were more interested in touring and buying a home with a light blue bathroom and, on average, they were willing to pay 1.6% more than expected ― or $4,698 on a typical U.S. home.
Love dramatic, moody rooms? The primary bedroom is the best place to go dark if homeowners are thinking about resale. Dark blue bedrooms scored 89 out of 100, and, on average, were associated with a $1,491 sale premium. Deep charcoal gray and rich forest green also received positive scores when painted in a primary bedroom.
“Sellers typically tackle two home improvement projects before listing their home for sale, and interior painting is one of the most common and impactful projects sellers take on,” says Amanda Pendleton, Zillow’s home trends expert. “Homeowners who are preparing to list their home for sale can be strategic about the paint colors they select to get the most bang for their buck. Interior painting averages $385 per room, but the right colors can pay for themselves.”
Mint green kitchens, a hot design trend, got the cold shoulder from recent and prospective buyers. Those buyers would pay, on average, $1,830 less for a home with a mint green kitchen. Kitchens painted fire-hydrant red and sunshine yellow, the Pantone Color of the Year, were overwhelmingly unpopular. While some study participants loved these bold choices, most did not, calling them “gross” and “really ugly.”
Love them or hate them, colorful rooms were the most effective at grabbing a potential buyer’s attention. Buyers reported being more interested in receiving information about homes with at least one main room painted an unexpected color. For instance, more than 70% of study participants said they wanted to learn more about a home that featured a burgundy bedroom, but that did not predict their likelihood of presenting an offer on that home.
Ultimately, it pays to play it safe when it comes to selecting paint colors in heavily trafficked common spaces, like the kitchen and living room. The color white scored 80 out of 100 in the kitchen, while light gray in the living room scored 92 out of 100. If sellers are looking for the perfect neutral, Zillow uses BEHR® Premium Plus paint in Aged Beige or Polar Bear to freshen up walls before listing a Zillow-owned home for sale.
“Our study found homebuyers may be particularly sensitive to paint color, despite paint being a relatively easy and inexpensive change, because they’re navigating a complex environment with a lot of uncertainty,” said Kate Rogers, a senior behavioral scientist at Zillow. “When study participants thought the homeowner had similar tastes to them, they perceived the home more positively and were also more likely to make a higher offer on the home. By using light neutral colors in the home’s common areas, it allows buyers to project their self-image onto the home.”
While there were some universal winners, this research found a wide variability in color perceptions. Bright blue was by far the most polarizing color tested; some people loved it, while others hated it. Study participants also noticed when one room’s color clashed with the rest of the home, suggesting homeowners should think about selecting colors that complement each other.
This summer, BEHR will unveil an interior paint palette based on Zillow’s research, making it easy for homeowners to pick the colors that could boost their home’s sale price. Look for this partnership to soon extend to the aisles of home improvement stores nationwide.