It’s no secret that before putting a house on sale, many homeowners try to boost the value of their property by removing clutter, tidying up the yard, and freshening up the interior with a coat of off-white paint. 

Sellers might want give more thought to how the paint color they choose can affect the selling price.

“If a seller decides to repaint before listing, she should consider shades that may be more likely to boost the closing price,” says Kerrie Kelly, a home design expert with Zillow Digs, the home improvement business owned by real estate website Zillow.

Zillow examined photos from 50,000 home sales around the country to analyze how room colors correlated with selling prices. It found that some colors could help buyers to make a premium of as much as $5,000 on the sale of their homes, while other colors could actually depress the selling price.  

Here’s how colors affect selling prices, according to Zillow.

Kitchen: Yellow is, apparently, a great paint color for a kitchen. Homes with yellow kitchens sell for an average premium of $1,360 when compared with all other homes controlled for similar features, Zillow found. The key, says Kelly, is to choose a “warm neutral” yellow paint, such as wheat yellow. Avoid picking a shade that’s too saturated, as deep shades may backfire with buyers.

One surprising find: Even though white kitchens are often featured in home decorating magazines, these colors come off as sterile or cold to home buyers, Kelly notes. In Zillow’s study, painting a kitchen white did not increase a home’s selling price.

Bedroom: Choosing the right paint color here can be a challenge since the bedroom is the most personal room in the house. A bright red, for example, could be too stimulating, making it hard to rest. You might prefer a more soothing paint color. According to Zillow, painting a bedroom light green to khaki can boost a selling price by an average of $1,332.

Living room: Neutrals win the day when it comes to this high-traffic room. Zillow found that homes with living rooms painted with dove or light-grey paint sold for an average premium of $1,104. The worst shade is orange. Homes with terra-cotta-colored living rooms sold for an average of $793 less than other homes.  

Bathroom: The color of bathrooms didn’t have a great impact on the selling price. Even so, Zillow says the best colors are tans, such as oatmeal or beige. Homes with bathrooms painted in those shades sold for an average of $283 more than other houses. Zillow found that dark-brown bathrooms— think of Tuscan-style shades—sell for an average of $469 less than other homes.

Dining room: Purple might be the best choice. Zillow found that homes with a dining room painted lavender, mauve, or eggplant sold for $1,122 more than other houses. You might want to stay away from grey paint, since the research noted that homes with slate or dark-grey dining rooms sold for $1,112 less than other similar houses.

Painting Tips
If you decide to repaint a room, you could probably do it over a weekend. Kelly says that if you hire a painter, rates typically range from $1.50 to $2.50 per square foot. 

Consumer Reports recommends that you paint sample colors on large sheets of heavy paper so you can move them from place to place without having to paint the walls. Live with them for at least a few days. Observe how different levels of light affect the color throughout the day.

You can also turn to digital tools to upload their home photos and virtually test different paint shades. Check out the Sherwin-Williams Color Snap Visualizer or the Zillow Digs App