This article is an edited excerpt from Do Your Own Home Staging by Tina Parker, published by and reprinted here courtesy of Self-Counsel Press. For more information or to order a copy, click here.
Giving your home a fresh coat of paint in modern, universally appealing colours is one of the most effective, easiest and cheapest ways to help sell your home. But it’s important to do it properly, otherwise it could end up being a mess and putting buyers off. Here are the key tips.
What to Paint
If you decide to paint the entire interior, paint every room the same light, neutral colour to keep it simple (whites, creams, pale beiges and fashionable greys are best). Your initial reaction may be that it will make your home “sterile” or “boring,” but it will in fact enable buyers to view your home’s features and not think about having to paint the walls because the existing colour will clash with their belongings. It will also allow a seamless flow throughout the home and make the space feel larger than it really is.
If you find yourself dealing with a colour in the room that cannot be changed (such as on the floor or counter), you can choose to paint one wall with this colour as an accent wall. However, if it is an unattractive or dated colour (such as dark green from the 1990s) and will dominate the room, it is best to avoid doing so. Choose a colour that is two or three shades lighter or find another feature of the room to work with that will still coordinate with the outdated colour.
“Must Paint” Areas
If you are limited for time, the spaces that must be neutral in colour and looking their best are the entranceway, living room, kitchen, bathroom and master bedroom.
Painting over Finishes
Painting unsightly and outdated finishes is a cost-effective alternative to completely replacing an offending finish. If you choose this route, it is imperative that you use a quality alkyd primer such as B-I-N or Prime-IT. If allergies are an issue, you may wish to use a super adherent latex acrylic primer such as Fresh Start (Benjamin Moore) or Gripper (Glidden/ICI). Make sure you sand the surface before you begin.
Home owners often have difficulty with the idea of painting brick or wood. However, painting outdated brick on the exterior of a house can vastly improve curb appeal. It can be an effective way to update an interior space as well, such as a brick fireplace (see below).
If you are going to paint raw brick, get advice from a paint adviser at your local home improvement store for your particular project. A great tip that can save you a lot of work is to apply a good-quality exterior latex primer. It adheres to brick better than interior primers. Alternatively, you can also use a stain-blocking primer-sealer formulated for glossy surfaces.
To begin, brush on the primer and work it into all crevices. Then apply two coats of the desired colour of latex paint (oil-based or alkyd paints are not recommended for brick, because they trap moisture). For the finish coats, a high-gloss or semi-gloss paint will show off the texture of the brick better than a flat finish and will be easier to clean.
Painting a Fireplace
Painting a fireplace may seem intimidating, but it really is no different from painting anything else, such as a kitchen cabinet. If you paint it to match the trim in the room, you will play up architectural importance and create a nice focal point. You can also match it to the room’s woodwork to emphasize its role as a natural focal point. If you prefer to minimize the impact of the fireplace in the room, choose a paint colour that is a shade or two darker or lighter than the walls, and paint the mantel to match the room’s trim.