Everyone’s done it: looked at a property online through RightMove or another estate agent and when flicking through the photos found an outrageous colour scheme or wallpaper or piece of furniture they hated. You’ve probably even shown the screen to someone else to share in the horror. Indeed taste is truly subjective – but is there an impact on property value through decoration? It turns out, there definitely is; and estate agents and property professionals often warn against certain colours and themes.

Of course, your home is your home, and if you love the way it’s decorated – perfect! But when it comes to decorating and renovating, it is often worth considering the long-term impacts that such changes could have. Where wallpapers can be stripped and paints covered up in time for house viewings and estate agent photos at some point in the future, other renovations may not be so easily reversed. Read on for our guide on all the ways that you may be reducing your home’s value without ever intending to.

A for sale board outside a property

Painting walls green

Green, while a very versatile shade, is currently fairly in vogue with interior designers embracing trends of emerald statement walls and bright palm-leaf style prints. However, greens that are too dark often turn off potential buyers as they give the perception of closing-in walls; making rooms appear smaller than they actually are. If you do have a green wall in a room alongside lots of houseplants, consider moving them so that they don’t blend in – this can create the feel of clutter unnecessarily. 

Instead… incorporating deeper greens through porch accents and ornaments in rooms can accentuate the lighter shades on walls without creeping into the sense of space.

Using too many chocolate shades

Browns are considered a neutral tone by many and are often used to complement wooden furniture pieces and standard magenta and beige walls. However, dark brown, or chocolate shades, can really overpower a room as well as give the impression of uncleanliness. Estate agents recommend that walls are not painted solid brown as this is usually the first ‘turn off’ hue cited by potential buyers.

Instead… invest in wooden furniture and use this to bring some mocha and chocolate tones to warm your beiges and other neutrals.

Embracing citrus hues

Citrus colours in interior decoration are often recommended as colour ‘pops’ and accents but it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Anything situated under light or where light directly reflects off of it should be muted to avoid appearing neon. Aside from the fact that neon shades clash with just about everything other than other neons (only an option if you’re opting for a full 90s raver décor and selling to someone into the same thing), they drain colour out and overly illuminate space – much like over-exposure on a human face when taking a picture in the dark. 

Instead… try a sage green on a single wall in a room rather than a lime. Ideally the wall will be one that draws your attention as soon as you enter the room to really stand out.

A room with bright yellow walls

Brightening with yellows

Yellow has long been a controversial colour in interior design circles – some designers love it and swear by it to bring some sunshine in, whereas others hate its implied perkiness. The selection of shade is critically dependent on the room in which it’s being featured. In some instances, a pastel yellow will simply wash out the colour of everything else but in some it can soften and tame. In some rooms, a bright sunshine yellow can warm through but in others it may overpower. Get it wrong and buyers simply won’t be able to see past it.

Instead… of just going all out with a yellow you like because you like it, test several shades in the room and look back on them at different times of the day to take into account differing light levels. The most suitable will be the one that looks the most suited all the time. If you’re unable to judge impartially, invite a friend (or anyone who doesn’t live in the home) for their opinion and fresh perspective.

Go goth

Many homes with moody teenagers within have at some point had a painted black or dark purple wall; but anyone who’s tried to will tell you they can be a nightmare to cover up. While black living rooms and dark statement walls have been considered desirable for a few years now, they’re not often buyers’ first choice of colour scheme. Dark wallpaper is considerably easier to remove than paint so should be used if possible, but ideally even this will need to be taken down before estate agents’ photos are taken and viewers are invited in.

Instead… use black as an accent colour on a monochromatic colour scheme. One wall could be painted black and white with chunky stripes with furniture and ornamental items complementing, or a removable wall sticker pattern of black stuck on. This will also negate the effect black and other dark hues have of closing in a space and can create interest without claustrophobia.

A room decorated in green patterned wall paper and stripy green curtains

There’s a large misconception that it’s always best to swiftly paint your entire house magnolia when you intend to sell, but things needn’t be quite so basic. Buyers still want to be able to visualise character in a home, even if it’s not quite the way they’d do it themselves. Avoiding major renovation works that aren’t easily reversed should be common sense, but when painting or redecorating, just think twice. If a photo of your room is likely to be passed around a group of people for disapproval when it appears on an online estate agency website, it may be costing you considerably in financial terms. Instead, work with what you can and get creative – your bank balance will thank you in the long run. 

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