Written by: Guest | Best Company Editorial Team
Last Updated: February 24th, 2020
Guest Post by Ben Mizes
Whether you’re selling your home, or just looking to freshen up your living space, paint is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to do it. And while you may be tempted to set yourself apart by choosing a zany color for an accent wall, you might want to think twice.
Neutral colors can help the aesthetic of your home transform into a timeless, spacious, and attractive space. Before you consider painting your bathroom candy-apple red, consider these four paint-like-a-pro tips below to help steer you in the right direction.
- Instead of going wild with paint, amp up your space by using pops of your favorite colors in other features — like a bold lamp, bright shower curtain, or fun wall art. This way, when you’re two months in and aren’t as in love with the shade, it’s easy to swap out. Not to mention that if you decide to sell later down the road, that’s one less item to add to your to-do list.
- If you’re painting multiple rooms and areas, consider how the colors may work in tandem. By using the same paint color in adjoining rooms — like a dining room that leads into a living room — you can create the illusion of a roomier space.
- You can also use paint color to play up accent features or hide flaws. If you have gorgeous crown molding or sparkling wood floors, choose a contrasting color that makes these features stand out with a darker (but not too dark!) color. On the other hand, if your baseboards are in need of some TLC, it's best to stick with a light neutral that keeps them playing second fiddle.
- Keep in mind that if you’re painting to sell, buyers generally prefer some variety (in neutral shades, of course) from room to room. Also carefully consider the lighting in each room when choosing how light or dark to go. Light shades are generally best for small bathrooms, while you may get away with a dark navy as an accent wall in a bedroom if the space is well-lit.
Still not convinced that neutrals are the best accessories to your walls? Here is a quick list of some of the best neutrals to paint the interior of your home.
White — bright and clean
It doesn’t get more neutral than white! Painting your interior walls white gives everything a fresh, clean feel and can work wonders for brightening up your space. Not to mention that if you’re looking to sell your home in the near future, white gives potential buyers the feeling of a blank slate and a fresh start. They may keep the white or can easily paint over with another color with not too much effort.
While you may think white is just white, there are endless shades — pure white, off white, simply white, and white with cool or warm tones. Especially if you have other features in your home you’re not looking to replace, but would like to neutralize (a wood banister or eccentric tile) white is the way to go.
A word of caution: While you may be tempted to give your kitchen a fresh feeling by painting it white, it can be hard to keep this high-traffic area of your home clean. You may be better served choosing a gray-blue for your kitchen. You’ll still have the brightness, without having the headache of trying to keep the walls pristine. Same goes for bathrooms.
Gray — sophisticated
Gray brings an air of elegance and sophistication to any space. Since gray matches any accent color, it can be a great complement to louder pops of color in decorations or furniture fabrics. Interior designers rely on gray because of its versatility and timelessness, especially in well-used and often-seen areas like living or dining rooms.
For a subtle warmth, consider a “greige” tone — a mixture of gray and beige. This pairs nicely with any accent color since it can be warm or cool depending on the colors presented around it. Greiges look especially nice with white trim.
Brown — warm and inviting
Brown can be warm, cozy, and inviting. But, we’re not necessarily talking about crayon-color brown — more like a medium tan or beige, unless you’re using a darker shade for an accent wall. Browns also pair well with white trim and accents, but if your trim is already a wood color, the two shades of brown may not play well together.
No matter what shade, generally it’s best to keep browns to large areas like living rooms or basements. Steer clear of them for dining rooms or bathrooms.
Gray-Blue — refreshing
Gray-blue is a great neutral, particularly for bathrooms. This soft, refreshing color is light enough to keep the room bright (especially important in a small bathroom), but dark enough to hide scuffs and stains from lots of use.
According to a Zillow study, homes with a gray-blue tint on bathroom walls sold for an average of $2,786 more than a white bathroom. You, or whoever buys your home in the future, can be inspired by enjoying soft, ocean-inspired walls each morning as you get ready in your serene, peaceful oasis.
Gray-blues are also great for kitchens — increasing a home’s price by an average of $1,800 according to another Zillow study.
Blue — calm and organized
If all other features of your living room are white or neutral, a nice, strong blue or even a navy may be the way to go. While often overlooked as a neutral, blues can bring a calm, organized feel to a room.
Blues are great for dining rooms, especially if you have white trim and are a fan of the clean, formal look. The same two Zillow studies mentioned above also found that dining rooms painted blue generate almost $2,000 more when the home is sold and homes that featured light blue bathrooms sold for $5,440 more than anticipated.
Ben Mizes is the Cofounder and CEO of Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top Real Estate Agents who can help you save thousands on commission. Ben is also an active real estate investor with 22 units in St. Louis, and a licensed Real Estate Agent in the State of Missouri.