Why do so many people whose houses are on the market around here have the walls painted such dull, sludgy, light-eating colors? The most appetizing is biscuit-beige, but I’ve seen a lot of pale slug green, medium khaki, dull-as-dirt brown, and similar shades that I find ugly as sin.

Oddly, we have not been in a single house with a red dining room, when (from what I can tell from many walks in the area) every third or fourth house has a red dining room. Sir John says that people with red dining rooms don’t feel like selling their houses.

If I were trying to sell a house, I’d probably paint all the walls ivory, magnolia, or similar pale, unexciting color that could easily be painted over.

If I were moving into a house, I’d be getting paint in clear, pale, cheerful colors, for the most part: sunny yellow, robin’s-egg blue, peach, maybe lavender. And then bright orange in my study, where it would just peek out as an accent from behind bookcases and file cabinets.

I simply cannot see why anyone, anywhere, ever, would want to live in a slug-colored room.

7 thoughts on “Paint colors

  1. When Neruda bought his house, every room was painted what he called "Suicide Brown," in FLAT PAINT, no less–totally light eating. And the ceilings were this weird beige. Dark, depressing. Now every wall is some other color: peach, sky blue, sea green, and slate blue in his study, peeking out behind bookshelves. Much, much better

  2. The new colors sound lovely! I'm a little cautious about blues and greens because they can be cold, and I'm cold enough here already at some seasons, but the right shades (or even cool shades in a warm climate) can be inspiring and uplifting. I recently read something about people's responses to colored walls in offices: red is better for focused, detailed work, blue for imaginative, creative work. So I guess ideally we'd all have two studies or offices, and go to the appropriate one for the kind of work on hand.

  3. When we moved in here, all the walls were the color of a wet fabric Band-Aid (except for the white kitchen). Turns out, Special K *likes* the color. I can't imagine why.So we left them as is — except for my periwinkle study with white trim (and a lime green closet).

  4. When we bought our house, it was all white, with dirty white carpet. Before we moved in, we had the whole thing pained (living/dining a yellow, with a dark blue contrast wall; studies a pale yellow; bedroom a soft blue and kitchen a brighter blue. I like blues for bedrooms; it's restful.My mother bought a house last summer which was all in that mushroom/taupe color. Over the winter she painted it a very light fresh green and it's so much happier.Oh, and the people with red dining rooms are all told by their realtor to paint it some neutral color before they put the house on the market. The current wisdom (thanks to Designed to Sell) is that there should be nothing idiosyncratic or personal. In extreme cases I get this, but why buyers can't imagine that your family photos could be replaced by theirs I have no idea.

  5. I could live with a red dining room, though I would prefer a light turquoise, partly because of the color of my dishes. My only true objection to the red room (so long as it's big enough not to shrink to nothing with such a "big" color) is that it seems to be a complete cliche around here, as if half the people in town used the same decorator or watched the same decorating show.

  6. The decorators and consultants on the home buy/sell programs advise the ugly neutrals, so buyers aren't put off by rooms 'too personalized'. So that's why you see butt-ugly neutrals. And as for exterior colors, I imagine they want something neutral and go for 'safe' colors. When I wanted to sell my last house, my realtor advised that I paint over all the detail I'd put in, so that 'others will see themselves, not you, in these rooms.' Now that I'm about to have my house painted, my friends are worried that by painting my brick, I'll run off (future) buyers. It's not easy bucking everybody's advice (most advising against painting butt-ugly brick), or in sticking to my color choices. But I'm gonna do it, and it'll be a standout on the block, and bring me joy. BTW, it's not butt-ugly!!

Comments are now closed.