Using Color in Home Staging

Color tips for home staging

Humans are extremely responsive to color. We have direct physical and psychological responses to color, so when you’re staging a home, you need to understand these principles. There are plenty of books on the topics of color psychology and using color in decorating, and we could go into great detail here, but I want to give you the most important home staging tips about color that will be useful to you in your everyday staging projects.

Generally speaking, warm colors (pink, red, orange, yellow, and yellow-green) are associated with energy, excitement, activity, and sometimes happiness and love. These colors can convey a physical sense of warmth.

Cool colors (blue, blue-green, blue-violet, gray) are associated with water, snow, and sky. These colors can convey a cooling sensation. Cool colors are calming, soothing, and restful.

There are variances within each hue such as cooler oranges and warmer blues, but the primary hues will fall into the category of warm or cool. Greens and violets can definitely vary quite a bit in terms of being warmer or cooler. Grays can be quite warm but generally they are classified as cool. Brown and beige shades fall into the warm category.

Make sure you stick with very light shades when you’re choosing room colors for home staging, since a color can look a lot darker on the walls than you thought it was when you looked at the paint chip. This is due to the changes in how we perceive the color in a large area like an entire room. It just looks different on the two-inch square that you see on the chip. So, factor this in when you’re selecting colors and always err on the side of lighter rather than darker. An exception would be when you’re really trying to make a room look smaller, but this isn’t usually the case in home staging.

Let’s talk more about specific colors and how you can use them in your staging.



Green is associated with nature and it makes us feel calm. Strong green shades like grass green or emerald should be used sparingly, as accents, and are especially appropriate for bedrooms due to their soothing effect. Pale, earthy greens like sage shades can be used for walls in any room. Keep wall colors light!



Red is a high energy color, and as such, it is appropriate to use in smaller doses for staging. Areas like dining rooms where you want to encourage social interaction are great places to use red.

I like using red in the more problem rooms such as a dated kitchen or bathroom where you really want to lead the eye away from trouble spots. When you use red in three small areas in a space, it helps move the eye around and can make the space seem more alive.

In a kitchen I might use a red teapot, a red (or partially red) throw rug in front of the sink, and a vase full of red flowers such as dahlias. The key to using red is to use it strategically to say “look here!” — be aware of the attention it will attract, and use it to achieve your staging goals. If I really want someone to focus on the beautiful fireplace, I might think about how I can use a pop of red to make sure it isn’t missed.

In bedrooms, red can lend a romantic vibe. This can be fine for staging, as long as you keep it from being over the top.



Yellow is probably the color associated with happiness more than any other hue. It’s also very easy to overdo it with yellow, so it’s another one that I would suggest using strategically in smaller doses.

Yellow is definitely a go-to color when you want to add a sense of light to a space. It’s the color of the sun so we automatically make the association with daylight. I like using it subtly such as in a throw pillow, fresh flowers, or artwork. It’s great for cheering up a laundry area.



Orange works much like red and yellow but it can be trickier to use successfully. One reason is because orange isn’t high on most people’s list of favorite colors. I would definitely use prints that feature orange, and orange accents like a big bowl of oranges (especially if you’re lucky enough to have an orange tree on the property and you want to highlight it as one of the home’s nice features), flowers, candles, or throw pillows.



When you ask someone what their favorite color is, blue is the most common response. You can be pretty comfortable that when you’re using blue, people are much more likely to love it than dislike it. Strong blues are great where you want to give a cool, calm feeling, and are best used as accent colors. Pale blues are very pleasing to the eye and can be used in any room.

In a bathroom, pale greens and blue-greens can convey a serene, spa-like feeling. Pale blue bedrooms look like a relaxing space for relaxing and resting.



White is a nice background where you can make your colors pop. Avoid using too much white, since it can come across as dull, cold, and lifeless. Use white in conjunction with color so that your spaces feel happy and alive.

Warm whites are the best shades to go with — colors like antique white, cream, and into the light parchment and linen shades. White is popular for just about any room in the house, especially kitchens and bathrooms as they give you a fresh, clean look.



Natural shades are very pleasing and will impart a warm, satisfying feeling. Humans love natural materials. Use light tan shades for walls and make the space come to life with pops of color. Choose linen-colored throw pillows or bedding to convey a pleasing, tactile sense that will be very appealing to buyers.

Even if they don’t actually touch anything, the look of natural materials is so enticing that it works psychologically. I’m not suggesting that you decorate with beige and khaki, but use these peaceful colors in conjunction with your accent colors to give the eye a pleasing balance of liveliness and comfort.


What are the best home staging colors?

Here’s some new data about color and home sales straight from Zillow:

  • Blue bathrooms in shades like powder blue and periwinkle can boost a home’s sale price by an average of more than $5,000.
  • Cool, natural shades are also desirable for bathrooms.
  • White bathrooms are not as desirable, with an average of $4,000 taken off the sale price.
  • Grayish beige exteriors (greige) sell better than medium brown or tan.
  • Front doors painted in shades of navy and slate can add about $1500 to the sale price.
  • Terracotta dining room walls can take about $2,000 off the sale price.
  • Dining rooms painted in slate, pale gray, and navy can add about $2,000 to the sale price.
  • Yellow kitchens are not as popular these days. It can take around $800 off the price.


For more color tips for home staging, check out this excellent guide:

Staging Diva Ultimate Color Guide: The Easy Way To Pick Colors for Home Staging Projects