The best paint to paint your home when you want to sell it quickly

When it comes to painting your home before listing it, it is not about you, but about potential buyers

Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, black. The basic colors we learned in school are beautiful in a box of colored pencils. When you put your house on the market: not so much.

You may love colonial red living and dining rooms, watery blue bathrooms, and bright yellow kitchens. The problem is, buyers may not share your tastes. Usually you don’t care if other people like your taste in colors. But you don’t care when those colors can cause your home to languish in the market.

So what’s the best paint to paint your home before you put it on the market?

Neutral wins the day, say experts.

Bathroom color ideas

We love this pink shade from Benjamin Moore, especially in a bathroom. But, according to real estate experts, poppy colors aren’t always a hit with home buyers.

(Photo credit: Benjamin Moore)

According to Candice Williams, a real estate agent at Re / Max Space Center in League City, TX, a neutral color like beige, light gray, or warm white is your best bet. “Neutral colors take attention away from the walls and redirect it to the openness and flow of a house,” she says.

On the other hand, bold colors distract buyers. You can run and chew gum, but according to Williams, they can’t digest your bold colors while imagining their own things in your house. “And this changes the discussion about whether they want to deal with the effort of painting to suit their personal style.”

Karen Kostiw, an agent at Warburg Realty in New York, NY, agrees. “A potential buyer should use a neutral color palette to visualize their lifestyle,” she says. “Warm white, beige and gray tones are the means and colors that are now available in many beautiful colors.”

The most neutral of all neutrals: white.

If you choose just one color, white is the overwhelming color choice among our experts – and many of them prefer certain shades of white as well.

“The best color to paint your home is Decorators White by Benjamin Moore,” says Kathryn Landow, also an agent at Warburg Realty. “A white room creates an open feel and can make rooms appear larger, and this neat coat doesn’t turn too white and adds a modern, clean feel.”

Her colleague, Agent George Case of Warburg Realty, admits he’s not a fan of Just Paint It All White. “I love Farrow and Balls Wimborne White, however, because it’s warm and clean – a tough combination to beat.”

Skimming Stone and Wimborne White

Farrow & Balls Wimborne White on the doors

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

We also reached out to a home stager, Justin Riordan, the interior designer, architect, and founder of the home staging company Spade and Archer Design Agency in Portland, Seattle, and LA, for his recommendations. He agrees that white is the best color to paint your home if you are looking to sell it.

“We want two properties in every home we bring to market: It should be light and easy for the buyer to move into,” says Riordan. And white fits the bill perfectly.

“Each color is assigned a number called the Light Reflectance Value or LRV,” he explains. And the higher the number, says Riordan, the more light will be reflected by that color instead of being absorbed by it. “White has the highest LVR – even higher than a mirror that is very directional in its reflectivity, but not as efficient as white.”

He admits he doesn’t use white in extremely traditional spaces as it can be too harsh at times. “Cream has just enough softness to keep traditional space legible while it’s still light.”

And the beauty of white / cream is a seamless blend in any background. “We have no idea if the new buyer will have neutral mid-century modern furniture or Louis the 16th furniture in Rainbow Bright colors,” says Riordan. But it doesn’t matter because he says the furniture doesn’t clash with cream or white. “Remember, out of all the people in the world who could buy this home, you are not one of them. So design for the ‘unknown buyer’.”

So what are the best paints to paint your home before selling it?

We asked Riordan to share his specific color recommendations for walls, ceilings and cabinets throughout the house. He recommends the following:

Walls: Benjamin Moore, Superwhite PM-1 in apartment or Benjamin Moore, Navajo White OC-95 in apartment

Cladding, cupboards and doors: Benjamin Moore, Superwhite PM-1 in semi-gloss or flat

Cover: Benjamin Moore, Benjamin Moore Super White PM-1 in apartment

Walls and ceiling of the bathroom: Benjamin Moore, Super White PM-1 in Egg Shell

Kitchen walls: Benjamin Moore Super White PM-1 in egg shell or Benjamin Moore, Navajo White OC-95 in egg shell

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