I thought I would write a follow-up post to my last post on paint colors since some of you had questions, and then show you some pictures of paint colors that are done really well.
Some of you asked about how to use color in your house if you are a color person. There is nothing wrong with using lots of color in your home, as long as it’s reasonably well-coordinated. When we’re talking about using neutrals, we’re talking about WALL colors. If you are a bright-color person, you can still have a colorful house by using furnishings in colors you like, such as furniture, rugs, art, vases, pillows, throws, etc. You’ll save yourself a lot of trouble by not trying to coordinate bright accessories with a bright wall color, and it will be easy to change your look if you get tired of it. Putting bright furnishings with a bright wall color is usually a disaster, especially if you are planning to sell your house.
About accent walls: I think there are places where they are okay but a lot of the time they look like they came from about 15 years ago. If you’re trying to sell, only do an accent wall if it’s an up-to-date, neutral color (which could be a chalkboard). If you’re staying, you can do something riskier that’s still up-to-date: a neutral, a dark color that’s also a neutral, a chalkboard wall, or wallpaper. I would highly recommend wallpaper on an accent wall. And for chalkboards…they have been around for over a decade as accent walls too, but I think they’ll be around for a bit longer and they’re definitely still cute and fun.
And remember, neutrals come in every color. They just have a neutral (less clear) base that prevents them from looking like they came from a crayon box.
Anyway, take a look at my friend Jannell’s house! She has done an amazing job taking a builder-grade development house from the late ’80’s/early ’90’s and updating it without spending much. Hers is one of my favorite houses to be in, as the neutral colors are interesting to look at but are also calm and peaceful.
What she did would be absolutely awesome for selling and is equally good for staying. Here’s the builder-grade kitchen before (though she already started painting the lower cabinets and changing hardware):
This is an average development-house kitchen…vinyl floor, builder-grade 30″ cabinets (really short), ordinary countertop, no backsplash. Many people would either rip this out or else do nothing to it, but if you use paint well like she did, it looks like you actually did a full kitchen renovation without having to pay for one. Here’s the after:
They did an inexpensive wide-plank laminate floor, added a laminate marble-look countertop, painted the cabinets, made the cabinets look custom by making them go to the ceiling, and adding an inexpensive subway tile backsplash. The extra row of upper cabinets was made from plywood and cabinet doors, which was easier and cheaper than fitting extra cabinets up there, and still works for storage.
Here’s the other side of the kitchen:
They just took the doors off the uppers and framed the window with a simple arch, and put crown molding across the whole thing.
Here’s a view into the breakfast nook before:
They had plantation shutters, which are an awesome feature but don’t look like much next to the ’90’s yellow wall color. Here’s the after:
With the dark wide-plank laminate floors, painted back door, and painted thrift-store dining room set, this room cost very little but looks amazing! Normally I am not a fan of laminate flooring, but the kind Jannell used doesn’t have that plastic-y sound when you walk, and looks just like engineered-wood flooring (which counts as hardwood floors in the real-estate world, but isn’t as expensive as solid hardwoods).
Here’s one more view, looking toward the breakfast nook:
She also updated her entry way using paint and the flooring that was in the kitchen and breakfast nook. Here’s the before (you can see the paint sample being tested next to the door!):
Notice it has the yellow paint and ’80’s door. Here’s the after:
It looks amazingly updated without much money, and the door looks new but wasn’t replaced. This is why painting really matters when it comes to selling your house. If you sold the house in the “before” pictures, it would look okay, but you wouldn’t necessarily have people falling over themselves trying to get it first. But if your house looked like the “after” pictures and the competition looked like the before pictures, your chances of either asking more for your house/selling faster/having fewer price drops are much better.
Thanks, Jannell, for letting me use your house as an example!
If you would like help getting your house ready to sell (or need advice before you do anything expensive to it), we offer design consultations meant to get you a designer look on a budget. Just use the contact form under “Contact Us” or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.