Common advice for getting a home ready to sell includes going neutral. But what does that really mean? Let’s describe what a “neutral” staged home really looks like.
First, don’t waste your hard earned money or time painting everything a fresh coat of white. White walls are cold and stark. They don’t give a “finished” or “pulled together” look.
What you really want is a warm, welcoming look from the front entry and throughout every room in your home. If you’ve painted your home within the last three years, using on-trend colors that coordinate throughout the house, and the paint and trim doesn’t show wear, then you can probably leave the paint, no matter what colors you are using. If you aren’t sure, ask a professional home stager to weigh in. Don’t ask your realtor. They might not want to criticize your choices, at the risk of losing your business. This bedroom is a deep, moody color, but it’s also large and well-accessorized.
Work with what you have. Once you declutter and simplify the color schemes in your rooms, use the colors already in your major pieces, like the sofa or the bedspread. You can see this principle at work here, where we picked a warm yellow and a complementary blue right out of the sofa pattern. We picked a bright “neutral” for the main walls and a deeper color on the short walls so that we could visually shorten a long, bowling alley room and make the proportions more friendly.
As for personality, don’t check it at the door. Just make sure that you remove personal photos and highlight a style that is appealing to the masses, or at least your target audience. The bedroom is often the last space to keep up with trends because it is more of a private space, right up until the house goes on the market. But an over-the-top color choice can easily be swapped out with classic bedding that the homeowner can take to their next home.
Here again we worked with the existing soft green paint color and furniture, and simply layered on gray and yellow bedding. White and beige? No. Universally appealing? Yes.
When should you neutralize a color choice? If the buyer’s first thought is without a doubt going to be, “Well, painting that will be first on the list after we move in,” then you want to do their work for them.
Instead of leaving them with the Green Monster:
A quick coat of paint will have them excited to move right in, and a warm cream is just the thing here:
These four examples demonstrate that neutral doesn’t mean white or boring. Done right, neutralizing the decor will result in making room for the new homeowner to imagine themselves in the home, while showcasing the best features of the property.
Good staging will take a room from appealing, or maybe even neutral, to a visual hook for the potential buyer who says to their realtor, “I want to make an offer on the house with the moody blue bedroom.” Or maybe, “Which house had that fresh blue and yellow living room?”
Now that you know, whether you are staying in your home for the foreseeable future, moving in a few yers, or moving this year, don’t be afraid of color, and use the concept of neutral to make your home more appealing.