Sunday, June 7, 2009

Creatively Using Color

Using Color Effectively When Staging a Home

The Importance of Choosing the Right Colors When You’re Selling a Home: Learning to Go Beyond White and Real Estate Beige

Because I work with color every day of my life, I find it very easy to choose paint colors for my clients. I’ve experimented with color since I was a child – so I can easily remedy an already purchased can of paint that otherwise would be an “Oops” can on the shelf at Home Depot: If a color is too yellow – I know that adding some measured drops of violet tint will soften and neutralize it to a usable and beautiful hue. Not everyone can do this – but it’s a useful skill to have when you’ve hired a painter for a day and he’s rolled the first bit of paint on the wall – and you absolutely know it’s the wrong color!

Choosing the right colors for a home - especially when you are trying to sell it – is not the easiest thing to do. Color can make or break a room – it can help you make a small room look larger…a huge room more cozy…a long room less bowling alley-like…and a tall room less like an inverted shoebox! If you learn how to choose colors that work for the rooms you are selling, you can alter the perceived dimensions of the space.

In the coming months, I will share with you some of my tips for alleviating some of the most common problems that you encounter in residential homes every day. Today, I’m sharing some of my all-time favorite paint colors that have worked well for me – and why I used these hues.

Some of My Favorite Colors Used in My Staging and Color Consulting Work

Benjamin Moore Monroe Bisque: This is a warm beige that looks beautiful in most rooms. I used it recently in a St. James NY condo living room – the home sold in two days. It worked well with the homeowner’s creamy yellow leather sofa and love seat. Important note: Because the tone of the furniture and the oak flooring, and the wall color were closely related, it helped to make the room look larger. This is also a great color for a bathroom and a basement. If the basement doesn’t receive much light – add some white tint or white paint to it to make it lighter.

Benjamin Moore Silken Pine: I don’t usually recommend any kind of blue color for a home that’s for sale (that’s another topic for another time), but I just used this hue in a homeowner’s kitchen in Port Washington NY and it really is a special color. It’s a soft, neutral celadon bluish-green. It’s a great choice to enliven and modernize a space, without making too bold of a statement for home staging.

Benjamin Moore Shaker Beige: This is an interior designer favorite for many reasons. It’s a wonderful taupe color that will blend with just about everything. I’ve paired it with crisp white wainscoting and moldings in an elegant dining room on the Bay Shore NY waterfront – it looks beautiful. In the same home, I mixed just the tint of this paint in authentic Venetian Plaster for the home’s entryway. I also used the tint in a metallic plaster for the living room. This is a wonderful way to use the same color in an open floor plan home – without being repetitive. The Venetian Plaster and the metallic plaster take the tint in a different way – but all the rooms “blend” beautifully in value and hue.

Benjamin Moore Grant Beige. I just used this successfully in a Master Bedroom – the home sold for $6,000 above listing price. This color has some chameleon-like qualities, meaning that when paired with blue-green fabrics, it’s a neutral beige with blue-green undertones…but when used with crisp whites, it has more of a neutral beige quality. I chose the color because 1) I needed a restful color because it was a bedroom and 2) I needed a neutral that also had a slight blue-green undertone because I was using teal bedding. To make the bedroom seem larger and more serene – I chose colors that were very closely related in hue and value…with the least amount of contrast.

Restoration Hardware Silver Sage: This is one of my all time favorite colors. I’ve used it in elegant living rooms, master bedrooms and master baths. This company also has coordinated bedding etc that blends beautifully with the paint color (ie they have Silver Sage as a color in the bedding collection).

And for the truly adventurous…

Benjamin Moore Aura 50/50 mix of Barrista and Satchel: I custom mixed these two colors to use on my kitchen and kitchen eating area walls. Because my kitchen gets a tremendous amount of natural sunlight, I could go with a deep rich chocolate color. My cabinetry and moldings are all cream (Benjamin Moore OC 94, Windswept – another favorite of mine), so the dark wall color pops the light cabinetry and moldings. It does not make the room seem dark at all.

Would I use this in a kitchen that I’m staging? Maybe – but it would have to be a kitchen like mine – a sun-filled space with light cabinetry. But to be on the safe side, I would reserve this color for a small powder room. I recently did a small powder room in Melville, NY that features a dark chocolate brown metallic plaster – but any deep chocolate brown paint would do just as well. This color is dramatic and it works well with cream moldings and bone sinks and toilets. Add a beautiful mirror, a chandelier and artwork with cream matting that contrasts with the dark walls – and you have a really special jewel box that prospective home buyers will remember. As with all paint colors - try a sample on your walls first...see how the light affects it from morning til night.


Unknown said...

I agree. As I like to say, color is mood of the house. Every color has its own pairing, and the different themes create different feelings. Most of the time, you should op for more natural color, but in some cases, bright colors are probably the best.


Linda Leyble said...

Thanks for commenting on my blog. I look forward to more of your ideas and remarks!

Linda Leyble

Things That Inspire said...

I know this is an old post, but curious what Benjamin Moore white you like to pair with Grant Beige. I am looking at this color for my exterior trim, as the roof is a mix of gray and green Vermont slate, but don't want to go too white on the exterior brick. Featherdown, white dove, or dove wing all look like they might work. Thanks!

Linda Leyble said...

Hi - sorry that I am only seeing this now - but I wanted to comment on your comment. I used BM OC 94 (Windswept) for the trim in the Grant Beige room. I don't know if that will work for your exterior project. OC 94 is my go to off white because it's a creamier color than just using white. You may want to go with a different white - I've used Mayonaise and White Dove also. There's another one too that some of my designer friends use - it's something like Sugar Cookie (or something to that effect!). Good Luck! I love, love, love your blog by the way!! Linda

Maureen Wyatt said...

I have no problem staging other peoples homes, but now that I am doing my mom's estate I'm stuck. This was hugely helpful! Following you now. ~ Maureen

Maria said...

I know this is an old post but I am very interested in the combo of the Barrista & Satchel. I have Barrista in my foyer and halls and Satchel in my office. I don't like the color in family room and will repaint that but I'm struggling to find something I like that will coordinate with Barrista. The combo might be the ticket. I've got an open concept house--a family room wall butts up next to a hall wall (Barrista) and FR looks into office (Satchel). Do you by chance have any pix of the combined color? Thank you.

indianist said...

Hi, I am bulding my new house and am looking to pick up a good color or paint that can suit exactly to my interior and exterior purpose. Any valid close suggesions having similar taste would be appericated. Any idea?


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