Does neutral decor really sell a home?

Ocean Clarke
16 June, 2016

Decorate your house in a neutral scheme and paint the exterior in magnolia - we've all heard it before! But do you really think that neutral decor is the best way to go when selling your property?

I tend to base many of my decisions on emotion as well as what's practical. And often this means getting that 'feeling' when a home feels full of life and personality (but of course everyone thinks differently!)

Let us know your views on all things neutral in the comments below!

Decorist Showhouse · More Info

Go neutral
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Comments (29)

  • PRO
    Poppi Interiors

    totally agree, keep the spaces light and neutral allowing the viewer to imagine their own interior space

  • PRO
    Severina Oborotova - Interior Architect

    Definitely if you selling your property neutral tones is the way to go . All of the show flats I done had neutral colours too it makes it for everyone's taste.

  • PRO
    James Lynn Decorator

    In my experience neutral will always sell a house better. It's gives the potential purchaser a blank canvas to work from. This does not necessarily mean using magnolia.

  • PRO
    Amelia Wilson

    I think it does but I would vere towards more contemporary neutrals like greys or taupes rather than creams or ivory. I see too many magnolia walls when people are trying to sell their house and it can look very old fashioned.

  • PRO

    I'm agree with opinion to go for neutral scheme when you sell the house. It will be easier for new buyer to imagine own colours and how he can personalize interior, having clean background. But still, any neutral but NOT magnolia, I have personal ban for that colour :))

  • lottiefenwick

    Hi, I have previously lived in modern houses and the white-ish box look worked well for selling them as it made the rooms look bigger, but do the same rules apply in old houses when you have period features that stand out when framed by a stronger colour?

    I am trying to plan the decoration for my guest suites and I presume that the same rules apply, that an outsider with different tastes to yourself will feel at home in your space. I'm trying to resist painting off white/grey everywhere!

    Surely a beautifully designed room in stronger colours would add atmosphere and value to a house? Most of us non-interior designers/house buyers doubt our own ability which is, lets be honest, why we are on Houzz!) x Lottie

  • PRO
    Home Chic Home Ltd

    Neutral schemes work fantastically, just remember to mix lots of textures and tones so you create a much more interesting scheme.

  • PRO

    From my experience a blank canvas with well positioned touches works.

  • PRO

    I would advise my clients when it comes to selling their home to have a neutral scheme, this doesn't mean the rooms have to look boring it just makes it easier for a potential buyer to imagine how they could put their own stamp on your home.

  • jocelynn2
    neutral always the best way to go.
  • karencarter44
    Neutral. Moved into a tiny house, dark blue here, deep red there ... Looked like a cave. Painted EVERYTHING white, now its twice the size and light just floods everywhere. When selling dont forget the outside, get the conservatory roof cleaned and the facia/gutters .. It makes a huge difference. If a place looks loved it is much more appealing.
  • Lila 1410

    Yes, I'm sure the white and magnolia worked for me here because it was like a blank palette for me to get to work on.

  • PRO
    Pat Oliver Interior Design

    Neutral doesn't necessarily mean magnolia. Pale colours in soft green, blue or taupe can be restful and allude to nature, merging with the outside, making the house seem fresher and larger. Avoid heavy colours like purple and orange for walls, but your soft furnishings and accessories can add interest through colour and make the space more homely. You don't want to bore the viewer either.

  • sharonnormanton

    For most of us neutral colours are best when selling a property and colourful soft furnishing can be add for interest. However I envy those people who have the confidence and vision to decorate with bold colours, they are able to create stunning homes. I tried it once. I painted one wall navy blue and it looked nothing like the one in the magazine!

  • PRO
    JDM Woodworks Ltd

    For me I love colour and texture, but everyones taste is different. When selling a home i would definately keep everything quite neutral, it makes any space look cleaner, brighter and bigger.

  • PRO
    Amber Jeavons Ltd

    Hello Ocean,

    I rather believe that an interior should be curated from two things.. The property itself and what it may or may not need .. and the client... I don't believe a neutral home will sell faster than one that is dramatic and vibrant..

    People have imagination.. If you present a beautiful home it will sell on factors such as proximity to public transportation, size of garden, possibility for development, well maintained, structurally sound, size etc etc.. Practical and important factors..

    I don't need to see a home with anything to imagine what I could do with it.. I don't think other people are really any less capable.. if they put their minds to it..

    It can work in both ways though.. If people can't see then you need to show them... So no for me neutral isn't necessary.. I do agree though, neutral doesn't mean white all over or magnolia. I also don't think that a light room equates to bigger or cleaner.. The power of dramatic colours can take a room to the pinnacle of it's potential and show it off in ways white can't.

    It is though entirely possible to create a light interior with many variations on a single shade and layering to create interest and texture which is anything but bland.. It requires a gr8 eye that sees the potential in the home and client of course....

    So perhaps neutral should be re named boring.. and if so...... NO I definitely don't think any home should be boring.. I've always had notes left wanting the place and all the contents! : ))

  • Ocean Clarke

    Some really interesting opinions. After reading the above comments, I kind of feel like neutral is a sensible option but also that many clients (when choosing a home) either need to picture themselves living there, or perhaps need a bit of guidance in doing so! So I guess there are many aspects to consider when buying a home - which has just given me inspiration for a new discussion! Thanks guys - so many great opinions.

  • PRO
    Amber Jeavons Ltd

    Hello Ocean,

    Look forward to your next discussion then.. but suffice to say.. a home should be characterful and presented to enhance it's features to their fullest.. Regardless of any sale or potential buyer who may not be able to appreciate it.. : ))

  • Stephen Edwards

    Having bought and sold quite a few houses over the years I would agree that for the run of the mill type home neutral is best, along with decluttered and clean. If it's a character home then it's all about presenting the features in the best way. Ultimately when selling you are trying to attract a buyer, whilst most people have some imagination not all do so if your home is overpersonalised then you risk alienating some buyers; few will be offended by neutral and uncluttered whereas some may not see past, (or even go past) for instance, a bright orange hallway. My current home has a lot of strong colours and "clutter" but it's not for sale, if/when it is up for sale I shall tone it down a bit.

  • PRO

    I would say that if you are really good at using colour appropriately then go for it. However, if you struggle with it you could be heading for disaster, in which case play safe. Never underestimate the power of paint to add sophistication to your property. I suspect in a few years time we will be looking at lots of grey (rather than magnolia) houses.

  • PRO
    Amber Jeavons Ltd

    No such thing as a "run of the mill" house if I'm involved! : ) ) Teasing aside though, every house/flat/apartment or room for that matter, can present itself to it's full potential and is just waiting to be unlocked..So for me that means colour dark or light..

    I never see a home, room or space I cannot instantly imagine and make beautiful... There is always a way.. Buyers see visuals first so making an impact can be rather important with competition! A house should really sell itself.. With so much competition it's got to be how attractive it is to get it noticed, and then... is it in my budget....Every other checklist happens after those initial two. Assuming you have already decided on a location..... I do agree though the display of one's sock collection or the latest in Aussie bum pants are not desirable! : ))

  • Dundrum 16
    I think it's helpful if viewers can see that they can move in their furniture and redecorate at leisure. If your walls are neutral they can do that.
  • beegreener92

    No. No one goes into a house and says 'wow! This is the house for me - I love it, it's so neutral! ' there's no harm in having punchy accents, feature walls, glaring items. It's all about accentuating what you have, not blanding out everything.

  • beegreener92

    Karencarter44 - strange, you obviously bought your place but it wasn't neutral so that's not what sold it to you? Neutral doesn't always sell. Agreed it makes a huge difference though. Out of interest, what was it that attracted you to 'the cave'? C

  • Joanna

    Always neutral when selling as people can have strong aversions to certain colours (I hate orange). However when buying I pray for 'feature walls'. Recently bought a couple of studio flats in Birmingham - one had a badly painted purple wall, the other had deep red. Picked them up for a song after they had been on the market much longer than the norm :-)

  • karencarter44

    beegreener92 - only bought as our chain broke after 2 years, and ten days before Completion. Buying reduced the chain to just 3 and we moved at the 10 days. We have done it up and move next week. My first reaction on seeing it was ... OMG how many coats of paint is that going to take? We papered over it instead. I am fortunate that I can 'see' beyond the decor but have bought and sold a lot and am surprised at how many people cannot picture a place with their stuff in, therefore, I make it a very blank canvas. Personally, I love bright but make it very neutral to sell.

  • Hasina Reshamwalla
    you can use neutrals without doing ivory. light grey like a grey owl BM paint or even a collingwood BM are great neutrals. i just bought a house with orange and blue walls.. made the house look small and dungy. I'm painting in more modern neutrals to help bring out the brightness of the home.
  • mudsi

    deffo agree, we have just bought a house that was obviously redecorated for selling, has been so helpful to us, not only did we get an impression of a fresh clean well kept house when we were viewing it, we also have found that we dont need to do any emergency decorating to hide anything that we cant bare to look at!!! and believe me, i think its possible we might not have even bought the house ifnit hadnt been redecorated judging by the wall murals we found hidden underneath some cream wallpaper

  • HU-505288300

    The concept of certain wall paints helping sell a home is being discussed so often. I think the neutral colour palettes used to prepare your home for sale only plays a role if the buyer wants that home to live in. If the buyer is an investor, then colour palette would not matter.

    Aside from keeping your home in neutral decor when selling you can use other tactics, like de-cluttering your home thoroughly before you inviting first viewers: in case you like the idea and live in London here's a link to reliable house clearance company

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