Hoping to add a few dollars to the selling price of your current home? Then it might be time to break out the rollers, brushes, and painter’s tape. According to a recent study by the folks at Zillow, painting your front door a particular color can increase your home’s selling price by more than $6,000.

On the flip side, if you’re looking to score a deal on a home in the not-so-distant future? Well, certain color schemes send some buyers running—or at least, cause buyers to be a little less enthusiastic with their offers. If you know what colors to look for (and what to look past), you may be able to knock a few grand off the asking price for your next home.

The Research

The team at Zillow looked at more than 135,000 photos of homes sold over the last several years. They pulled color data from images in sales listings. Then, they compared the expected selling price with the actual selling price for the homes.

What the researchers discovered was interesting, if not entirely surprising: all else being equal, certain paint colors really do seem to add to a home’s final selling price. Other colors drag down the value of otherwise fine homes. (The study controlled for other factors that impact home value, like size and location.)

Kitchens and Dining Rooms

The hottest kitchen color scheme? It’s light upper cabinets and countertops over dark lower cabinetry—a look researchers dubbed the tuxedo color scheme. Per the research study, the two-tone, light on top look looked added $1,547 to a home’s selling price.

It’s easy to see why homebuyers would find this color scheme appealing. Light above and dark down low is dramatic and glamorous, while still feeling neutral. Plus, it’s a look that’s pretty practical: dark lower cabinets to hide grubby kid fingerprints or scuff marks, white upper cabinetry to keep things feeling open and airy.

On the other end of the spectrum: a brown dining room might have been good enough for Don Draper, but this is one retro look that hasn’t made a comeback with homebuyers. Dining rooms with sandy brown walls dropped the value of a home by $1,684, more than any other dining-room color.


No one likes a dreary bathroom. After all, you’re guaranteed to spend some quality time there, every single day.

While white remains classic, the bathroom paint color that gives homeowner’s the most bang for their buck is actually blue. Specifically, a light, periwinkle blues with gray undertones: a blue bathroom added $2,786 to the final selling price for a home, on average.

Blue-is-for-everyone is actually a trick many stylists and salespeople know already. Everyone likes blue. Blue shades compliment just about every skin tone. You look tired enough as it is in the morning, checking out your reflection in the bathroom mirror while you brush your teeth. An unflattering bathroom color scheme won’t make you feel any better. While blue might be too bold to have mass appeal for a living room, say, it’s a great choice for a smaller area.

Living Rooms

When it comes living rooms, neutral is the name of the game: warm taupes with pink or peach undertones come out on top, adding an average $2,793 to a home’s selling price.

Taupe can be a tricky color to describe, and sometimes a tricky color with which to decorate, but it remains popular in part because it adds depth and warmth without competing too much for attention with anything else in the room. Sherwin Williams picked a neutral-warm taupe shade as its color of the year last year. If you can steer clear of anything too brown, too gray, or too muddy, this paint color can add substantially to the value of your home.

Front Doors and Exteriors

For homeowners looking to maximize the selling price of their existing homes, we’ve got some good news: the biggest return for a paint color change just happens to be for the smallest paint job.

Homes with doors painted black or deep charcoal gray sold for an average $6,271 over what you might otherwise expect for the home. (We would not have guessed that we should take home decor advice from Mick Jagger, but hey, the research backs it up.)

Black doors look stately and secure. They look serious. They also look calm, and of course, neutral. Depending on the architecture of your home and the climate in your area, they can be a little tricky to keep clean—dirt and dust will probably need to be brushed or hosed off the front door every now and again.  But for an extra six-grand and change, the extra work is probably worth it.

Exterior paint jobs can be a little tricker than repainting your kid’s bedroom, so if you’re going to DIY the front door, make sure you do some research first.

For bargain hunters, the research recommends looking for homes with yellow or yellowy-cream exteriors: for some reason, yellow homes go for an average $3,408 less than their other-colored counterparts. That’s not enough to justify a new paint job for current owners, but it could be a golden opportunity for buyers.

The research on paint colors is fun, of course. But before you print this list out and hand it to your contractor, remember: good taste comes in all the colors of the spectrum. Many homebuyers have a hard time visualizing themselves loving a space that’s currently ugly: if you can do it when others can’t, you can find a real gem.

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