Fashions in home décor can change almost as fast as fashions in clothes. Remember when avocado bathroom suites were all the rage? And remember how quickly those same avocado bathroom suites came to be regarded as the last word in kitsch? No wonder so many home-owners stick doggedly to white.
But colours certainly count for something, and it is just common sense to assume that a property decorated by someone with a good eye for colour is going to be easier to sell than one decorated by someone who cannot tell their magenta from their cerise.
In the States, according to extensive new research by Zillow, it is homes with blue bathrooms which are the big winners, fetching $5,440 (£3,900) more on average than similar homes with white walls. Fascinating. If Hitchcock were shooting the Psycho shower scene today, he would have to contend with powder blue loo seats and bathroom tiles in light periwinkle.
The Zillow study, which looked at photos of more than 32,000 sold properties across the US, also found evidence that walls painted in cool, natural tones like pale grey and oatmeal attracted a significant premium.
The external colour of a property also matters, adds Zillow. Paint your home ‘greige’, and you will be ahead of the game when you come to sell. And don’t forget to take a paint brush to the front door. Homes with doors painted slate grey or dark navy blue sold for $1,514 (£1,100) more than average in the Zillow study.
“Bad” colours, not surprisingly, tend to be the ones at the darker end of spectrum. Proud owners of terracotta dining-rooms, who imagine themselves eating in a Mediterranean bodega, are likely to find themselves out of pocket in the long run. As for those who cannot think beyond white, they are also missing a trick, according to the study. Properties with plain white bathrooms sold for an average of $4,035 (£2,900) less than similar homes.
“Colour can be a powerful tool in attracting buyers to a home, especially in listing photos and videos,” says Svenja Gudell, Chief Zillow Economist. “Painting homes in fresh, natural-looking colours, particularly in shades of blue and pale grey, not only make a home feel larger, but also are neutral enough to help future buyers envision themselves living in the space.”
Paul Sulkin, Sales Director of Kay & Co agrees. “There is nothing like Farrow & Ball to improve the look and feel of a property,” explains Paul. “It adds to the overall impression of the property. Grey goes down well with buyers and can add around 7 - 10 per cent to the value of a home.”
In the end, it often comes down to personal taste. But as the study confirms, the homeowner who plays it safe, but not too safe, is likely to fare better than those who think that their exuberant use of colour is going to be widely admired.
• Paul Sulkin, Sales Director at Kay & Co, has worked in both corporate and independent estate agencies. He has more than 25 years’ experience in the prime Marylebone market.
• Contact Kay & Co estate agents for details of properties for sale or to rent in Marylebone, Bayswater, Paddington, Notting Hill, Mayfair, Fitzrovia, Regents Park, The West End and King’s Cross (020 7262 2030; Kay & Co).