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Staging A Home To Sell:
How To Stage A Home Using The Right Paints

"I'm staging a home to sell. How can I stage my home for sale just by painting the walls & trims?  Could you give me some virtual home staging tips?"
(Reader Question)

staging a home to sell

Hi Renate,

I am selling my home which, although quite lovely, is a challenge to paint in the correct neutral color scheme so that it would appeal to as many potential buyers as possible.

How to stage a home with all these colors:

My kitchen countertop is in the rust family, and the floor is navy. As much as I would like to remove the kitchen countertop, I am not going to go to the expense, but I was thinking of adding a light sage green to the walls.

Other than that, the color in the tiles and brick fronts are in the beige/brown family.

Can you suggest a combining color palette to work from? I am thinking of going with the Sherwin Williams "Kilim Beige" color palette and varying the tones in each room.

Any help you can give to make the space "flow" would be great.

Thank you!
Lyn (USA)

Hello Lyn,

I've had a bit of a play with Sherwin Williams color palettes as they appear on screen - you'd have to check if they really look like that in your house!  I'm going to show you some "Home Staging Before And After" ideas with a focus on
a) the flooring, and
b) the kitchen/countertop issue.

Staging A Home To Sell:
Color Analysis 1 - Floors

Here's a collage of all the floor coverings on your ground floor. Below that is the paint color range you're considering for wall and woodwork paints:

home staging with different flooring materials

sherwin williams kilim beige

Even though your flooring is all in warm neutrals (except for the navy kitchen tiles - a great, versatile color for staging a home to sell), there are too many hues of brown to integrate:

  • the brown entrance tiles have reddish copper accents
  • the floorboards have a yellow/orange bias
  • the sunroom tiles are distinctly pink
  • the carpet is a fairly neutral oatmeal, but flecked with both gray/taupe and cognac.

The 'Kilim Beige' color range looks closest in color to the carpet, but it doesn't seem to blend well with any of the tiles, or with the wooden floors.

Home Staging How-To  #1:
When you're staging a home to sell, always go as "neutral" as possible on the overall look (rather than combining all this brown flooring with more brown on the walls).

Many people have adverse reactions to too much brown - they crave a clean, fresh look.

Obviously, my judgement is limited because I'm not there to physically see the colors in your home (under different lighting conditions - artificial and daylight). But if you were to choose the "Kilim" range, I'd use only very light tints and paint the trims white to lift the color scheme.

I have a hunch, though, that a more neutral approach may do a better job of uniting the space and your 'patchwork' of flooring materials.

Staging A Home To Sell:
Color Analysis 2 - Colors that 'Neutralize'

Home Staging How-To  #2:
When you're staging a home to sell, you're looking to generate a positive emotional response in potential buyers within the first three minutes of the viewing. 

In other words: it's the outside (curb appeal), the entrance, and the ground floor that count the most!

To create a unified look for the whole ground floor, I would paint

  • the majority of the walls in a soft white, plus
  • some areas (e.g. panelling, or above/below chair rails) a very neutral, complex light gray that looks "alive".

Here are two color samples - "Repose Gray" and "Passive" - next to your flooring.

sherwin williams repose gray

flooring surfaces

sherwin williams passive

Virtual Home Staging:
Trying Colors Out

Let's try all three color ranges in a space that unites three flooring materials.

Home Staging How-To  #3:
Re-paper or plaster the walls to eliminate all pattern - in the eyes of a potential buyer, patterns are just visual clutter, a distraction from visualizing their own life within these walls.)

So here's a home staging before and after. First, the original:

entrance of a home to be staged for selling

Now I've 'painted' it "Repose Gray" (with white trims):

entrance lobby painted in Sherwin Williams Repose Gray

Next, "Passive":

entrance lobby painted in Sherwin Williams passive

Then, "Kilim Beige":

entrance lobby painted in Sherwin Williams kilim beige

Which one looks best?  Out of the three, I prefer "Repose Gray" - it is warmer and softer than the cool "Passive" but not as yellowish-brown as "Kilim Beige" - even though the latter appears to go best with the cupboard behind the kitchen entrance (at least in this virtual home staging exercise).

Your main concern needs to be: Which color would go best with all the flooring materials?

Home Staging How-To  #4:
Never, ever use paint just because it looks good on a sample strip.

Always try the colors out on large sheets of paper, in each room, under different light sources, before committing cash to gallons of paint!

How To Stage A Home Using Color:
Integrating The Odd One Out

If you're keeping the red countertop in the kitchen, you need to repeat this color elsewhere in the room, otherwise the countertop will stick out like a sore thumb. By spreading the red color around a little, you can turn it into an attractive feature (and red in the kitchen is a pretty common choice!)

One option would be to repeat the color in accessories:

  • a large red plate on the table
  • red cushions on chairs or window seats
  • a red tablecloth ...

Or, you could retain the red door frames and trims in this room:

kitchen with red wood worktops and trims

Either of these, I think, would work better than introducing pale sage as a new wall color, in addition to red and navy. If you're going to have color in the kitchen, you might as well go with what's already there ... and make that a self-assured statement :-)

So that's Staging A Home To Sell in a nutshell. I hope you can use some of this, Lyn, and I wish you the best of luck with your project, as well as a fast sale ... at a very nice price!

Hello Renate,

Thank you for all your wonderful suggestions ... all greatly appreciated! You are amazing!

All the best,

Professional home staging advice: Read about Alex Hinst's experience in trying to find a suitable 'warm but neutral' paint color for a family room - Tips to Avoid Making a Paint Color Mistake. Very down-to-earth.

More Information About Using Color:

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