Q: I’m painting my interior with a view to putting my home on the market. Does everything have to be painted in cream? Colour consultant Niamh Courtney offers her expert advice.
A: There’s an expectation that you’re meant to take all your personality out of the home before selling it. I’m not so sure about that. Over the past few years a lot of people have painted their walls in deep colours, like navy and dark green. Those who did so often had a flair for interiors. They used those strong colours in a way that complemented the furniture and the overall style of the home. Painting it all over with a pale neutral will be expensive – it might need five or six coats of paint – and it won’t necessarily work so well with the general décor. It will be a lot cheaper to freshen up the interior in the colour scheme that you already have than to bring it back to a blank canvas. The people who buy your home will put their own stamp on it anyway. So, if you’ve taken pride in the interior, I suggest that you let them see it in all its joy!
If you’re selling a home with an outdated interior, it does make sense to sharpen it up with paint. It will make a big difference and it doesn’t cost a fortune. The temptation is to get the painters in to paint everything in white. That’s easy, but it’s not always the best plan. Brilliant white, or off-white with a grey undertone, is often too stark for the Irish climate. Instead, go for a warm neutral with undertones of beige. Whatever paint brand you go for, you can’t go wrong with a historical range because the colours aren’t too intense. They will work in a modern home as well as in an older building.
Rather than going for the same shade throughout, I’d suggest painting the house in different shades of the same colour. It’s a little bit more effort but the result will be a lot better, and the cost is the same. Some of the paint companies make this very easy for you by grouping their colour charts appropriately. I’m a big fan of the Heritage range from Dulux and their chart is easy to follow. For example, you might combine a pale neutral like Green Clay with a mid-neutral like Ancient Sandstone and then bring in Setting Stone as a darker shade. Don’t be put off by the word “stone” as these are all beautiful earthy tones – different shades of the same colour – that will work together to bring warmth and character to most interiors. You can combine them in a variety of ways. In a dark hallway you might want to embrace the darkness by painting the walls in Setting Stone with the trim – doors and skirting – in Green Clay. In a brighter kitchen or living area, consider reversing the colour scheme with paler walls and darker trim. In a period home, you could add a mid-tone for the ceiling, bringing it down to the picture rail.
The biggest mistake that people make when painting to sell is to pick a shade that happens to be trendy but has nothing to do with the house. Grey has been very popular for modern houses, but really won’t suit an older home with a lot of orange pine. In that case, you’d be much better with an earthy green, like Stone Green from the same range, that won’t fight with the colour of the wood.
Niamh Courtney is available for colour consultations. See choosingcolour.ie.