Decorated to Sell

Decorated to Sell

If you’re selling your home, it needs to look it’s best!

By Tammy Adamson-McMullen

“Presentation is everything!” You’ve no doubt heard this expression applied to all sorts of situations, but it’s especially true when you’re selling a home.

Real estate experts will tell you that well-decorated homes sell more quickly and at a higher price than comparable properties that need updating. The key to getting the most for your decorating expenditures is to choose your improvements wisely. You want to add enough value to attract buyers and bids, but you don’t want to add so much that your home is overpriced for the market. That being said, there are some decorating improvements that always pay for themselves at signing.

Exterior Paint

Curb appeal is critical to attracting home buyers, and nothing creates better curb appeal than a well-thought-out exterior colour scheme. If your home’s exterior paint is chipped, faded, colour-dated or otherwise in need of some improvement, don’t hesitate to repaint. You can do the job yourself or hire professionals; but whatever you do, don’t skimp on paint. While it’s tempting to choose budget coatings to “get by” until the sale is complete, the coating won’t apply as well and the finish won’t be as professional-looking. The extra dollars are worth it—especially when you consider that, by some estimates, exterior updates have a return value of 100 percent at resale.

What paint colours should you choose? Neutral colour schemes are best at attracting buyers; however, you can punch up a neutral paint scheme by adding a stronger colour to the door, shutters and smaller accessories, such as patio furniture and planters. (Hint: To tie your home’s inside to the outside, take a colour from your interior palette and deepen it to a rich, dark hue for the front door, shutter and accessories.) If you have trouble deciding on a new exterior colour scheme, visit your local paint and decorating store for advice on the colours that are trending in your area.

Interior Paint

The inside of your home should be as expertly painted as the outside. If your walls and trim are in good shape, they might only need a bit of touchup; but if they’re damaged or painted in very bright or dark colours, they may need a repaint. Look around and make an honest assessment of whether a full interior repaint is in order. Pay special attention to your entryway, since this is the second impression—after the exterior—that home buyers will have of your home.

When repainting, try to develop a colour scheme that flows seamlessly from room to another. The best resale paint colours are neutrals and naturals, such as creamy whites, tinted beiges, warm and cool grays, whispery blues, soft sage and light peach. These colours not only are universally accepted but also create a “blank slate” that allow shoppers to envision their furnishings in your home. The best trim colours, meanwhile, are the classics—white or soft gray, for example. Choose only one trim colour and keep it consistent throughout your home.


Kitchen and bath cabinets can make or break a house sale. If your cabinets have seen better days, you don’t necessarily have to purchase new. Try painting them instead in a trending cabinet colour, such as white (still No. 1 in cabinetry), ivory, charcoal or light gray. Navy, black and emerald green also are trending, but be careful. Not every home shopper will appreciate such a colour-forward move and may walk away from the sale.

You can paint cabinetry yourself, but achieving a professional-grade finish can be tricky. You’re better off hiring a professional painter in this case, particularly if you’re wanting a high-gloss or polished finish. 


Replacing your flooring can be a costly investment but may be necessary if your floors are worn or damaged. (Don’t be tempted to just throw an area rug over the problem! Buyers are savvy and likely will look underneath.) When installing new flooring, hardwood is your best option and continues to be the top choice of home buyers. If the cost is prohibitive, consider instead a luxury resilient hardwood, which offers the durability of a vinyl flooring with the look of real hardwood.

In bedrooms, carpets are another good option since many homeowners prefer to have something soft underfoot when dressing or climbing out of bed. Whatever flooring you select, follow a neutral palette and purchase quality brands from a reputable dealer.

Window Treatments 

Last but not least, take a critical look at your windows. Remove any window treatments that are worn or outdated. Replace them with something simple, such as horizontal blinds, roller shades, cellular shades, composite wood blinds or a similar treatment. Try to keep the textures consistent and the colours in keeping with your colour scheme. Steer away from draperies, which will clutter the blank slate you’re hoping to create.

By putting your best foot forward with these types of changes, you’ll have your home sold in no time. Good luck for a quick and profitable sale!