Neutral tones integral in staging a home for sale

93% of purchasing decisions are based on appearances

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Tired of taupe? Bored of beige? Going a bit crazy with all the neutral colours at the open houses you view? Aside from a splash of accent colour the neutral-tone trend when staging a home isn’t about to change anytime soon—and you can thank science for that.

According to psychologists natural colours—otherwise known as “living colours”—not only appeal to our senses but also help boost the memory we have of those scenes. By draping a scene in natural colours we help viewers process and store images more efficiently than colourless scenes or high-contrast colour palettes. As a result, we remember those scenes better—and recalling a room we love, in a home that appealed to us, translates into successful home sales.

Colour is also a powerful assessment tool used by prospective buyers. Studies from the Institute of Color Research reveal that people make a subconscious judgement about an environment or product within 90 seconds of the initial viewing—and between 62% to 90% of that assessment is based on colour alone. In a separate research report from the Seoul International Color Expo, it was found that 93% of purchasing decisions are based on visual appearance.

Impact of colour on buying decisions

Still, most psychologists view colour (and colour therapy) with skepticism—stating that the effects of colour are often grossly exaggerated. Zena O’Connor, a faculty member in the Department of Architecture, Design, and Planning at the University of Sydney, suggests that people should be wary of many of the claims they see about the psychology of colour. She and her colleagues argue that the research showing the mood-altering effects of colour also shows that this impact is only temporary. While a blue room may initially cause feelings of calm that feeling dissipates after a short period of time.

Yet, researchers continue to study the impact of visual appearance on buying behaviour and the impact colour has on our day-to-day actions. The results are interesting, if not conclusive. For instance, there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that installing blue-coloured streetlights can lead to a reduction in crime. Also, one study shows that the temperature and environment will influence the effect colour has on a person. For example, if the outside climate is warm, then people tend to prefer cool colours, however if it’s a colder climate, then we gravitate towards warmer colours.

For home sellers, the takeaway is to pay attention to home staging and to colour—but don’t suddenly assume that a fresh coat of paint will wash away decades of neglect. Focus on creating the best visual representation of your home this could include decluttering as well as redecorating using neutral tones—warmer tones if you’re selling in colder months, and colder tones if selling in the warmer months.

Need a bit of help choosing a colour scheme? Consider Retail Content Strategist, Humayun Khan‘s advice. On his Shopify.com blog post he offers seven methods used by designers and artists for choosing a colour scheme.

Using colour in home staging (Shopify.com)

Using colour in home staging (Shopify.com)

1) Monochromatic Colours: These colours consist of varying tones of the same colour.

2) Complementary Colours: These colours are directly opposite each other on the colour wheel.

3) Analogous Colours: These are colours that lie on either side of any given colour on a colour wheel.

4) Triadic Colours: This colour scheme includes colours situated at 120 degrees from each other on the colour wheel.

5) Split-Complmentary Colours: This colour scheme uses a base colour and two colours adjacent to the complementary colour.

6) Rectangular Colours: This colour scheme uses four colours arranged into two complementary pairs.

7) Square Colours: This colour scheme uses four colours spaced evenly around the colour wheel.

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