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In a study commissioned by Zillow, nearly 1,300 recent or prospective U.S. buyers were asked how interested they were in touring a home, buying a home, and the price they would be willing to pay for the home, based on viewing a particular color in a particular room.

The winning color combination was pale sky blue in the bathroom, which received a score of 93 out of 100 in the study’s metrics. Prospective buyers showed a greater interest in touring or buying a home with a light blue bathroom and were willing to pay 1.6% more than expected, up to $4,698 above a typical home sale price.

Darker colors performed best in primary bedrooms. Dark blue led the pack with a score of 89 out of 100 and an average sale premium of $1,491, closely followed by deep charcoal gray and rich forest green.

In contrast, kitchens painted fire-hydrant red or sunshine yellow, the Pantone Color of the Year, were rejected by most respondents as “gross” or “really ugly.” Mint green kitchens, a recent design trend, also were not well received; buyers indicated that they would pay $1,830 less on average for a home with a mint green kitchen.

Overall, buyers reported that they were more interested in learning more about homes with at least one main room painted an unexpected color. More than 70% of participants wanted to learn more about a home with a burgundy bedroom, but this did not affect any participant’s likelihood of placing an offer on a home.

For common areas like the kitchen and living room, “safer” colors performed best. The color white scored 80 out of 100 by these metrics in the kitchen, while light gray scored 92 out of 100 in the living room.

"Our study found home buyers may be particularly sensitive to paint color, despite paint being a relatively easy and inexpensive change, because they're navigating a complex environment with a lot of uncertainty," says Kate Rogers, a senior behavioral scientist at Zillow. "When study participants thought the homeowner had similar tastes to them, they perceived the home more positively and were also more likely to make a higher offer on the home. By using light neutral colors in the home's common areas, it allows buyers to project their self-image onto the home."


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