Paint Power

One of the unique challenges which often confronts sellers is the age of their home. It can cost tens of thousands of dollars to update and modernize a home’s furnishings—cabinets, baths, light fixtures, and so on.

But there’s an easy way to simultaneously update the look of a home, brighten the interior, and create a mood which potential buyers will find engaging. A fresh coat of paint can do wonders on almost any type of surface you can imagine. Take, for instance, those old dark wood cabinets in the kitchen or bathrooms. By adding just a simple white or off-white paint you will spruce up dark wood cabinets and make them look like new again, updating the look of the home overall. (And don’t forget to switch out the hardware, either—try replacing the worn knobs for trendy chrome pull bars or brass handles.)

It’s a good idea to hire a professional painter to redo your cabinets. This might cost anywhere from $2,000-$5,000, but it’s far less expensive than remodeling the whole kitchen, which may cost $20,000 or above (according to a 2014 report by Remodeling magazine).

If you want to impress potential home buyers on a psychological level, here are some items in your home to consider repainting:

  • Walls. This is a no-brainer. When you repaint the walls of your home in preparation for home staging, here are some things to remember. First, make colors uniform. Conflicting colors in the same room will divide the eye and create a visual dissonance that will turn potential buyers right off. Use single colors, or colors which pair well. As a general rule, dark colors make a space appear smaller than it actually is. To make your home’s rooms seem broader and larger, use light colors.
  • Ceilings. Who says you should ignore the fifth wall of a room? Ceilings are just as capable of getting smudged, smeared, or blemished as walls, and a fresh coat of paint will cover that right up. You don’t have to settle for plain old white, either—consider a lighter shade of the color you painted the walls, adding color to the room but giving it the impression of space.
  • Trim. There’s one sure way to make a room pop: painted trim. A fresh coat of white paint on the trim updates and freshens the look of a room and provides a nice contrast with whatever primary or neutral colors you used to paint the walls and ceilings.
  • Doors. The same principles apply here as applied to the walls and trim. Hide scuff marks and blemishes and enliven the outdated look of dark wood paneled doors by giving them a fresh coat of bright paint.
  • Old furniture. The key to creating a successfully staged home is to craft an air of brightness, freshness, and newness. This is what’s most attractive to prospective buyers. Dull, drab furniture won’t seal the deal. If you have several pieces of venerable and elegant wood furniture, give them a fresh coat of bright paint and watch them pop.
  • Frames. Another thing that draws the eye is contrast—the sharp visual difference between light and dark colors. Now that you’ve repainted the walls with bright, fresh, attractive colors, you need wall accents which stand out. Consider using dark colors for accents like picture frames and light fixtures—even a color as dark as black.