Neutralize, Don't Sterilize

So many times you hear that you need to neutralize your home in order to sell. That's true... as long as you neutralize, not sterilize! A home still needs to be inviting, engaging, and warm. Basically – a home needs to feel like a home. Making your home feel sterile is not going to help it sell... in fact it can hurt!

As professional home stagers, we have consulted on homes where the owners have just painted the walls "builder white" and removed almost everything from the home. A blank canvas is a great starting point, but making a home feel sterile is going too far. When we encounter this situation, we recommend painting a pleasing neutral tone on the walls. Just one problem, the homeowner has just painted the walls white and is unwilling to repaint. We can't blame them. They have either paid a professional to paint or they have spent lots of their own time and a great deal of effort to paint the home.

The most efficient course of action is to consult us early in the home preparation process. We include a color consultation with our home staging consultation. The colors used when staging a home need to possess a multitude of functions: they need to be neutral enough to work with many different color schemes so potential home buyers feel they can move in without repainting; enhance flooring, cabinets, or other fixtures in the home; add interest and drama to lackluster areas; and be the right saturation so the home feels warm, but not dark. We have chosen 50 of our favorite Benjamin Moore colors that we feel retain all of these qualities and will choose from these colors for your home during an initial staging consultation.

By consulting with us first, before you make any color changes to your home, you will ensure you save time and money by painting it the perfect color the first time. Your home will feel anything but sterile! It will be warm and inviting, with colors that provide a beautiful backdrop that prospective buyers can build upon. When buyers feel an emotional connection to your home without making a to-do list, they will put in an offer.

Staging tip: One of our favorite color choices is called Arizona Tan (seen below). It works well with almost every color scheme and in all lighting situations.


Below are before and after photos of a dining room that was neutralized with Arizona tan. After painting, it still felt warm and welcoming, and definitely not sterile.

Dining Room Before Staging

The dining room before painting and staging was too bright and lacked charm and sophistication.

Dining Room After Staging

After painting and staging, the dining room felt calm and elegant. Buyers can imagine themselves having a family meal in this comfortable space.