4 Steps to Selecting a Color

To select the right color for each room of your listing, design experts recommend applying the following strategies.

1. Coordinate with the room's use. Certain colors lend themselves to certain activities. For example, studies show that kitchen and dining areas painted in "food colors"—such as celery green or red—increase appetite, whereas blue acts as an appetite suppressant. On the other hand, the tranquility evoked by blue makes it ideal for bedrooms, Fisher says.

2. Paint for the season. Color directly impacts your senses, making a room's temperature feel cooler or warmer. For example, bring in warm colors—such as reds, oranges, and yellows—in the fall and winter months, and cooler colors—greens, blues, and purples—during the spring and summer. To save yourself some hassle, paint just one accent wall in a room, or bring out the season-appropriate colors using accessories such as throw pillows or a vase of flowers.

3. Use a directional approach. The effect of color on perceived temperature also means that the direction a room faces should influence color choices. North-facing rooms may not feel as warm and inviting to buyers because they don't get as much sunlight, an impression that can be lessened by painting them a warm color. "If you have a very warm room that is facing south, and you want to cool it or calm it down, use cooler hues of blue or green," Zimmer suggests.

4. Harmonize. You can also use color to provide a sense of order and balance in a home. Using variations of the same color throughout a house, rather than painting every room a different, contrasting color, provides a sense of flow from one room to another and doesn't distract buyers' eyes.

"Color is always a very personal choice," Zimmer adds. "So color choices can be subtle. A color doesn't have to be McDonald's yellow or Red Roof Inn red to be noticed. It can be a derivative or a subtle tint or tone of those particular colors to create the warming effect buyers want in a home."

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Remember learning about the color wheel in grade school? This 12-step circular rainbow graphic shows the relationship among colors and can serve as a helpful guide in choosing what colors to mix and match in a home to get pleasing results. Here's a refresher. 

The color wheel is broken down into three main categories: primary (foundation colors used to create all other colors), secondary (created by combining two of the primary colors), and tertiary (formed by combining a primary and an adjacent secondary color). 

To mix and match colors easily, you can use the color wheel in one of two ways:

1. Complementary Two colors that fall directly opposite one another on the color wheel (e.g. red and green, blue and orange, and yellow and purple). They create a maximum contrast and can be visually intense.

2. Analogous Color schemes that consist of any three colors located side by side on the color wheel (e.g. yellow, yellow-orange, and orange). One of the three colors usually dominates. This color scheme can add depth and energy to a room.

Source: Color Matters, www.colormatters.com