Increase Your Home's Value... With Only Paint!?

For anyone who's spent too much time in Home Depot (we've all done it), you know that choosing how to color your walls can make or break the whole feeling of your home. And if you're going into the project with return on investment in mind (you probably should), it can be an even bigger war between your style versus what will sell.

When Zillow analyzed 135,000 photos of homes sold across the country, they calculated which paint colors impacted sale price. The result? Some unconventional choices increased home value, but some common or just bad decisions made homes sell for less.

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First, let's take a look at the bad.

THE PAINT JOBS THAT DECREASE THE HOME'S VALUE MOST

A yellow exterior: -$3,408. Yellow tends to catch my attention for all the wrong reasons. It reminds me of the walls in a children's day care center. Sure it can be fun and happy, like a perfect summer day, but it's like dialing up that amplifier to eleven. You don't want it set that way all the time. Even if you're not going that extreme, avoid everything from creamy bright yellows, to flax yellows, to yellows with brown undertones, all of which negatively affected home values in the analysis.

A red kitchen: -$2,310. There's a reason why some of your favorite restaurants have warm color schemes — like red, orange and yellow — throughout their branding. These hues can promote activity, which in cooking and dining settings can nudge you to eat more and at a faster pace. That's fine for a commercial space, but not for your home's kitchen, which should be a space more about enjoying friends and family, and finding a little bit a leisure in your life. 

A brown dining room: -$1,684. The '70s had their moment, but retro home trends can stay in the past. Homebuyers weren't willing to pay more for spaces with dining rooms painted in oat brown, medium sandy brown, or brown with yellow undertones.

THE PAINT JOBS THAT INCREASE THE HOME'S VALUE MOST

Here are some trendy home paint projects to consider instead. Not only are these choices aesthetically appealing, but they statistically increase the value of your home the most as well. 

A black front door: +$6,271. It's bold. It's daring. It's just a little bit different! It could also pay off in a big way. Houses with front doors ranging from charcoal to smoky black to a rich jet black saw the biggest positive financial effect on selling price. As far as bold color choices, it's best to stick with accents of color rather than committing to large rooms. Choosing the front door kicks off a first impression that sticks in the mind — plus it has the benefit of being an inexpensive, easy home project you can DIY in a weekend or even just a quick afternoon.

A light blue bathroom: +$2,786. Light blues with a grey tint — think periwinkle — keep the space in a cool neutral zone with just the right amount of pizazz. This is the second year in a row in which Zillow found homes with blue bathrooms tend to sell for more. Just think of all the bath-bomb photo ops!

A light taupe living room: +$2,793. While darker shades of brown spell trouble for home value, lighter shades of taupe with pink or peach undertones can warm up a room and create a more inviting gathering space.

A tuxedo kitchen: +$1,574. Pin this trend to your boards: Kitchens with white or light-colored upper cabinets paired with dark navy or black lower cabinets are very in — and homebuyers will pay up for the look. Homes with kitchen island cabinets painted a dark hue also provide the luxe high-contrast aesthetic that can boost a home's value.

Andrew Kaiser

My name is Andrew Kaiser, welcome to my site! I have a passion for making images wherever and whenever I can. I seek to capture humanity and the world around me with a focus on the figure. Film, digital, pinhole, and instant photography are all fair game for me.


I grew up in the California Bay Area and started taking photography seriously in High School. I was one of the lucky few who had a chance to go to a high school with a working darkroom and a teacher who understood that making images was an art form – care and patience was a necessity in the image making process from start to finish.


Later in life I attended the University of California in Santa Cruz where I received a Bachelors Degree in the History of Art and Visual Culture. After having my fill of the California sunshine I packed up my life and moved to the Pacific Northwest. I quickly found the overcast skies, lush forests, cooler temperatures, and creative communities to be a perfect match for my work.


Over the years I have exhibited my photographs in several galleries and art shows including the Seattle Erotic Arts Festival and Cascade AIDS Project. I’ve published a few books and taught workshops up and down the west coast of the United States. Through this site I’m hoping to share my work and perhaps inspire others along the way.