Does Paint Color Really Matter When Selling Your Home?

Many people can’t see why they may need to repaint prior to listing their home to sell.  As a Nashville Home Stager, I can tell you it’s not about just another coat of fresh paint – it’s important to choose just the right paint colors and know how paint color placement can actually make a property looks more expensive.   Only 10% of people can see beyond what they see as they walk through a property.  That means that anything taste-specific is difficult for buyers to overlook when choosing their dream home.


Entry Before Staging

If you are wondering whether or not the paint color really matters, maybe you should look at the before and afters of this home I staged to sell in Nashville last week.  The proof is in the pictures!


Entry After Color and Staging 




 Powder Room Before



 Powder Room After

Dark paint colors can make a space appear smaller, like in this office.  Only the best and most experienced home stagers understand how to choose the right paint colors to change the perception of space.


Office Before 


Besides decluttering, the right paint and paint color placement made this room feels larger and fresher.  We also painted the light fixture black for a quick and inexpensive upgrade.

painted ceiling

Office After 



Even if your budget is tight, just the right colors in a dated bathroom can be a big hit.


 Hall Bath Before


Doesn’t the cabinetry look brand-new?  That dark charcoal on the base cabinets even make the countertop appear new!

benjamin moore wrought iron cabinetry

Hall Bath After 

Wallpaper border should ALWAYS come down – buyers don’t want to even think about taking it down themselves.  If you’ve ever removed wallpaper yourself, you know what I mean.


Bedroom Before



Bedroom After



Multiple colors in the same space can chop it up – and that kind of color scheme looks bad in MLS photos.


 Living Room Before




 Living Room After




 Master Bedroom Before


This bedroom required a lot of streamlining, and the homeowners worked hard to get it down to the basics so that buyers could easily imagine sleeping peacefully in this master suite.


Master Bedroom After 



 Master Bathroom Before

Even the old light fixture got a little charcoal paint on the backplate to freshen it up.  This master bath looks like a spa for very little cash!  Check out this post I wrote about how to make your builder-grade bathroom feel like a spa.

black bathroom cabinet

Master Bathroom After

So, do you think paint colors really matter in home staging?  I know it made a difference in the home I just showed you.  The first offer came in in 6.5 hours from the time it listed and after multiple offers, I’m happy to say it got a full-price offer!

Want to know how to choose the BEST neutrals, colors, and color combinations, even in your staging consultations? Wish there was a no-fail system that creates cohesive and beautiful color schemes for any home with any finishes?

Now there is! I’ve been doing this for years, and now I’ll teach you how (including all the specific colors in BOTH Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams paints). You can find out more HERE.


  1. Kathi

    Pure genius,Kristie!! All I can say is WOW!!

  2. Angela

    I really like how you had your clients paint the bathroom cabinets the charcoal color. A question though, we have oak trim and oak cabinets throughout our house. With oak trim, would you still have recommended painting the cabinets? Thanks!

    • Kristie Barnett

      Yup. It takes it from “country” to a bit more on-trend.

      • Angela

        Thanks! One more question, I noticed in the master bath the light fixture above the vanity is now black. Was that just spray painted?

        • Kristie Barnett

          yes, angela – but not with canned spray paint. it is the same latex paint used on the cabinetry (sprayed with a paint sprayer).

    • Connie

      Angela….I concur with Kristie. If you paint your oak cabinets, they’ll still be oak 🙂 But they’ll look fabulous!

  3. Patty

    Can you tell us what color the bathroom cabinets are and wheat her they were brush or spray painted? Fabulous upgrade!

    • Kristie Barnett

      The cabinet bases were brushed, but the homeowner sprayed the doors outside with a paint sprayer (not canned spray paint). The color is custom.

  4. Julie

    Can you tell me if you painted or stained the bathroom cabinet in the master bath? Thanks… I love your color choices , very peaceful. Our biggest problem if my 84 yr old mom’s home is too much stuff. She has lived there 56 yrs.

    • Kristie Barnett

      Painted, Julie. Yes, decluttering is a lot of work when someone has lived in a home for so long. You can see in these photos how much work the homeowner did to declutter after I did the initial Staging Consultation with them. They did everything I asked them to, and I think it paid off!

  5. Stephanie R.

    The paint made a difference. You can see how the color flows from room to room. Also, decluttering and rearrangement of the furniture and pictures on the walls helped a lot.

  6. Paula Van Hoogen

    I’ll bet the homeowner is darned happy about having done MOST of the work for moving already!
    Beautiful, beautiful job AGAIN Kristie!

  7. Sarah A

    What was your thought on painting the stair rail black (or trim color)?

  8. Connie

    I totally agree with the right paint colors and staging. Now…if I could only get homeowners and realtors around here to get on this band wagon. Even your before pics look better than most MLS photos of homes in our immediate area. {sigh….} On the other hand, with the oil boom here in central/western ND, if a house goes on the market, it’s usually sold very, very quickly unless there’s reeeheeeheeeheely something wrong with it. So neither the homeowners or realtors want to spend any money to make it look better in the photos and open houses.

    I LOVE the painted cabinets in the bathrooms! Easy peasy upgrade and so much more streamlined! I suggest painting bathroom/kitchens cabinets all the time. But around here oak=good=god so the client’s rarely jump on the idea. (Hey it’s still going to be oak even with paint! Hahaha!)

    Wonderful staging! Thank you so much for sharing these photos.

  9. Linda

    like night and day. great job!

  10. Cathy Z

    I’m curious about the decision to move the large leather couch, feels more closed in. In the before picture it looks like the room is more open. I’m guessing it has something to do with the focal point (fireplace or tv) that we can’t see in that photo. I’m asking because isn’t the back of the big ol’ sofa what you see first as you enter the room which we have learned is a big no no 🙂

    • Kristie Barnett

      Maybe I should have included another photo from the entry to the room so you can see what we did there – I think it would make more sense why I put the sofa there.

  11. Barbara @ DIY Home Staging Tips

    Beautiful job. It shows that a home can be beautifully staged without spending a lot of money. It’s all about making the right choices. Thanks for these photos.

  12. Jen

    Wow, this is a terrific post—I wish realtors would print it out to give to new clients for a number of reasons that are probably unnecessary to elaborate upon. 😉 It’s also so good to see you not saying, but proving that “sale-ready colours” do NOT always need to be taupe/cream/white. Using the right colours instead, as you’ve done, really highlights the best parts of a room, makes it seem more expansive, and is just plain pretty. Good job!

    Also, thanks for confirming my recent suspicion that I really need to paint at least our living room Palladian Blue to match our kitchen (also PB—open floor plan).

  13. Lauren

    Wow! Such an amazing transformation! I’m sure the homeowner knew it would sell quickly if they did what you specified. You can make such a difference with the right color choices!! Awesome job Kristie!!!

  14. JB Griffin

    Had to smile at the “before” of the living room. Why do people hang their photos and art almost up to the ceiling??? I see it all the time.

  15. Kelly

    The magic of paint! Great job. I bet the homeowner’s are having second thoughts about leaving now! 🙂

  16. Karen Albert

    Kristie, super amazing and I am really impressed that you got the sellers to declutter so much!
    I cannot say enough about the charcoal gray on the builder grade bathe cabinets! In fact I am going to try it myself. Can you give me the color used?

    2013 Designer Series
    Art by Karena

  17. Kelley

    Go Kristie go! These before-and-afters are fantastic.

  18. Dana Stone

    I love some of the colors here….I’d like to know what colors are so I have a start point. When I’m staring at all the colors, I get overwhelmed and it’s hard to find what I’m looking for.

    It looks like one might be Benjamin Moore’s Turquoise Mist 695…..I’ve been staring at that color, but it looks so dark on the sample….but looks nice here. Am I right on the color guess or should I look lighter for this look?

    • Kristie Barnett

      I’m not sure which color you are referring to, but we didn’t use Turquoise Mist in this home. Turquoise Mist is quite light and clean. It’s important that you know when/where to use clean colors vs. dirty colors – a lot depends on your existing finishes. You might want to check out my Color Workshop Video where I explain how colors work together and how to choose paint colors that will work with your finishes. I also give my top 12 Benjamin Moore neutrals. Here’s the link:

      • Dana Stone

        Will the color workshop or consult work if i am in an area with NO Benjamin Moore? Could I start with that color and take it to be matched somewhere else?

        • Kristie Barnett

          Yes, Dana – other paint companies can match, but I always double-check to make sure the match is dead-on. If you want to do a consult with a Sherwin Williams fandeck, I can do that as well (although I love the Ben Moore colors sooo much!)

  19. lizbelle

    What a fantastic Job! Can you tell me where to purchase the light fixture in the hallway? I need to replace a few of ours!

  20. lizbelle


    • Kristie Barnett

      Home Depot or Lowes – can’t remember which, but it was one of those.

  21. Kayla

    Thanks… I love your color choices , very peaceful. Am I right on the color guess or should I look lighter for this look?

  22. susan

    Is the new color in the hallway called November rain? I am thinking of doing that for my hallways but it won’t go as well in kitchen so may need help with ideas! best way to reach you?

  23. susan

    I would love to include your article on psychological staging some time, it would go well with my conscious living articles! Many people struggle with choosing paint colors , I do too and it can cause way too much stress, especially when people are already ungrounded from preparing to move.


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