Take an honest look - what is the current condition of your walls? Are they free of holes and painted in a neutral color that will appear to a large number of buyers? Or do they still bear the Waverly wallpaper that was all the rage in the 80s that is not likely to resonate with today's buyers? It's important to be objective; what worked for a design plan specific to what you love might not be as appealing to buyers, especially ones who are in another gender or age group.
In the picture above, this dining room (and all the walls in this townhouse) were pink and pockmarked with holes from the homeowner's art work. They were perfect for her when she lived there, but not so much for a buyer, especially the young, single man who purchased it.
If I am starting from scratch with a staging plan for a home, I like to select a neutral palette of colors from the same paint card. The home's flooring and cabinetry, as well as furniture and artwork if they are staying, will influence the decision. Good choices are those in the beige family or the gray family.
I tend to not like all white walls, because unless there is a good contrast with the floor and plenty of pops of color, the resulting pictures can be bland, and bland photos don't attract as many buyers and agents to want to see the home as photos that pop (in a good way).
My go-to neutral colors are typically found on the Sherwin Williams paint card for Kilim Beige, SW 6106. I have used both it and its companion colors on the same card, Nomadic Desert and Latte, in numerous staging applications. The darker colors are particularly effective in highlighting white trim, fireplaces and built-ins, and it can be fun to have a slightly darker tone in a powder room.
You will find Kilim Beige and its companion colors listed in numerous Pinterest boards, with plenty of pictures. Repose Grey (SW 7105) is another crowd-pleaser. Because they are such popular colors, they are certain to resonate with most buyers.
If you're going to be doing some repainting to stage your walls, you need to select the right finish in addition to the right color. Your choice of finish will depend on the room you are painting, the surface of your wall, and your design plan. Use this guide to select the right finish for your project.
Flat finish - easy to touch up, flat finish paints are hard to clean. This finish works well for ceilings and walls that are not perfectly smooth, and in rooms that don't require much cleaning.
Eggshell - the most common finish chosen for walls, eggshell holds up to cleaning better, but does not allow for touch-ups as easily.
Satin - cleans well, a good choice for kitchens and children's rooms
Semi-gloss - often used for trim work and doors, semi-gloss will highlight surface flaws, so make sure to do adequate prep work
Gloss - this paint is used more frequently as part of customized design plans, so its use in home staging will be minimal
This decor was very trendy back in the 1980s, but it's not likely to resonate with today's buyers - in fact, I found this picture on Keri Lippold's Pinterest board of bad real estate staging photos. And any internet search of home buyers and wallpaper shows that it is one of the most disliked home features by active home buyers.
Wallpaper, like strong paint colors, is a very subjective taste, and chances are your potential buyers just won't feel the same way about it that you do. Buyers visualize spending countless weekends stripping the walls in order to paint. Yes, I know it's a pain to do it yourself, but your home is likely to sell for a higher price - and much more quickly - if you do.
Walls in good shape? Click here to move on to flooring where we will talk about the carpet in the photo above, or go back to the main staging page by clicking here.