How to Paint a House Interior to Sell

Your home is your castle, and you’ve spent many happy years painting, improving, remodeling and reinventing the rooms to make it perfect for you and your family.

Paint Is Your Friend

A fresh coat of paint in a neutral color adds to a home's resale value.A fresh coat of paint in a neutral color adds to a home's resale value.
But once you decide to sell your castle, it no longer is yours -- it belongs to the buyer. To get your house to sell, you must step away from your trinkets and collections; remove the sports team’s wallpaper from your boy’s bedroom; tear down the frilly wallpaper borders in your daughter’s room, and look at your home from a new perspective. A buyer wants to imagine his family living in the space, and depersonalizing and repainting are vital to the successful sale of your home.

The least expensive decorating tool is paint. Not only does a fresh coat of paint renew a room, it creates a visual palette for the buyer who is trying to imagine his furnishings and artwork in your space. Think logically when choosing the paint, especially if your home is open-plan. One room leading into the other should show a sense of connection, and painting with unified colors is not only pleasing to the eye, but it also opens the space.

First Impressions

Your front door is the only area where you can be bold, if you’re not governed by a homeowner’s association, so paint it with a fresh coat of semi-gloss paint. Consider a red door to invite wealth and good fortune or a green door to link your home with the landscape. A colorful door opens into a happy home.

A Warm Welcome

Whether your foyer leads to an open plan layout or serves as a central point from which the rooms radiate, your color scheme begins here. Light earth tones emit warmth, making the home inviting and welcoming. Keep the palette simple by painting the ceiling linen white to add spatial height, or a tone that is a shade darker than the wall color to bring down a soaring ceiling. Taupe or gray with an undertone of red, or the warmth of buttercream with the trim painted antique white, provide a warm welcome and invite a variety of corresponding colors for the adjacent rooms.

The Kitchen

If you've used bold wall colors, calm the room by lightening the tone several shades. Since the kitchen is one of the most important rooms to a buyer, make it inviting, but allow for the prospective new owner’s decorating ideas. Keep to the earth-tone theme with dusty sage or pale terra-cotta walls. If a family room is adjacent, continue the color into the room, but painting a feature wall one shade darker.

The Formal Living Room

Bisque walls with a putty brown feature wall are more attractive to the majority of buyers than if you've painted the walls Colonial blue or British green. A crisp white ceiling gives a feeling of freshness. Add to the overall feel of the living room by painting crown and floor moldings a semi-gloss chalk white.

Depersonalize the Bedrooms

Murals, wallpapers, team colors and bright hues must be eliminated when your house is on the market. Give the rooms a fresh perspective with gray, latte, marigold or manila. A red master suite may drive a buyer away; instead, bring warmth to the room with pale shades of yellow or wheat. Be sure the connecting hallway carries the theme of warm tones to unite the rooms.

About the Author

Jann Seal is published in magazines throughout the country and is noted for her design and decor articles and celebrity *in-home* interviews. An English degree from the University of Maryland and extensive travels and relocations to other countries have added to her decorating insight.