The psychology of colour and buying your home
As an excited home buyer on the hunt for your new pad you don’t want to be mind-warped into buying a home that you’ll later regret. Knowing some of the tricks of the real estate trade and the psychology of color will help you keep your eyes on the prize – and not the booby prize.
Buyers are unaware a sales agent will often suggest their seller paint their home before placing it on the market for sale. Yes, a fresh lick of paint does make a property feel new and inviting, but there is more to this industry tip than meets the eye of the eager home buyer.
Research has shown that our surroundings influence our emotions and state of mind. A freshly painted house can woo you in. It may create a sense of comfort, warmth and homeliness. Or it may evoke a sense of cleanliness, status and refinement. Unwittingly the buyer may get enticed without really knowing why.
The emotions tapped into via something as simple as a paint job can make or break a sale for a seller. The painting recommendation from the sales agent will be strategically geared for the seller – and it is best for a buyer to be acutely aware of this tactic from the get-go.
If you know the colors displayed within the property will elicit certain emotional states from you, as a buyer, you are better equipped to be prepared for this. The result is you keep logic at the forefront of your home-buying decisions.
Painting a house any colour at all before selling will generally raise its value, but a seller will get maximum earnings by choosing the right colours. Knowing what colours can do to you subconsciously is like having bonus information up your sleeve when on your house hunt.
What effects do different colours have on us?
Colours including red, yellow and orange are considered warm colours and are thought to stimulate excitement. Whereas cooler colours that are found on the blue end of the visible light spectrum and include blue, violet and green are associated with calmness, coolness and tranquillity.
Colour Psychology (a few examples)
Cleanliness, sense of space and innocence
Confidence and optimism, but too much yellow has been found to make people feel depressed
Renewal, prosperity and refreshment
Power, evil and mourning
High energy and courage
Rest and calm but too much blue can shift into feelings of apathy or pessimism
Promotes creativity and intuition but overuse may result in feelings of insecurity
Wealth, warmth and energy
Friendship, reliability and stability
Romance, love and gentleness
Knowing what colours enhance which emotions is very helpful when attending those weekend open inspections. A very specific mood for each room can be created simply by the colours chosen when painting the walls. For example, a seller is unlikely to use a colour in the dining room that might ruin their guests’ appetites, or a colour in the bedroom that doesn’t enhance relaxation.
A few colour psychology tips for home interiors
Vibrant shades of green, blue, yellow and orange provide an expansive feeling. These friendly, happy colours encourage communication and therefore would feel good in a dining area or kitchen.
Yellow is great for kitchens as it brightens moods, increases energy and leaves you feeling uplifted. Avoid bright colours in rooms meant for relaxation, like the bedroom.
Dark reds, purple, blue and dark shades of green can feel constricting and gloomy. But when applied in the right place or ornamentally, they can convey comfort and security.
While blue rooms are lovely to lounge and rest in, if you choose pastel blues, these can come across as chilly. Icy blues and greens are well-suited for bedrooms to help you relax at night and wake up refreshed in the morning.
Purple is a noticeably rich colour which carries a luxurious, regal charm and a lingering romantic vibe. It can be very impressive used in an entrance hallway, or less conspicuous in a dressing room.
Deep purples are stimulating and not relaxing enough for bedrooms, and lighter purples like lavender are calming and more suited.
Painting walls white or off-white can help give the feeling of more space. White rooms give a feeling of cleanliness and purity and due to its neutrality does not induce energy or calmness.
Red can raise the energy level of a room and may also make people irritable therefore it’s not a good choice for a child’s room. And grey should be avoided for a dining room or kitchen as it can dampen the appetite.
Green, the positive hue, is a suitable colour for a home office as it is closely linked to money and growth and helps to reduce anxiety. It is very restful on the eyes and has an outdoorsy, environmental feel.
With yellow being connected to joy, playfulness and optimism it is perfect for children’s bedrooms or nurseries.
How to not be caught in a color trap
How we feel about colour is largely based on our personal experience with it. When sellers are preparing their home for sale they tend to stick to neutral colours such as grey, cream, black and beige as a base. They’ll likely avoid extremes and only use bright colours to accessorize.
Being a savvy buyer and knowing these tricks will keep you ahead of the game at your next open home. When you feel yourself gravitating toward that house because of the calm and homely feeling you get in the bedrooms, take a moment to check yourself – it’s those icy blue walls playing psychological games with you.
And sellers, think again before you decide to paint the entire interior of your townhouse a canary yellow (oops!) before selling.