Color is everywhere in Hawaii and whether it is the inviting blue of a clear summer sky on the Big Island or the cold impersonal gray of a waiting room colors have a psychological and physical impact on us.

We all react to colors, however, there are a number of factors influence that reaction. Although researchers have tried for years to pin down a universal classification system that predicts how people interpret and respond to the colors around them, none have accomplished it.

What they have discovered is that as much as colors and hues affects us, it has just as much to do with a person’s culture, gender, age, emotional and mental state, specific experiences, and mood. The appearance and combination of the colors themselves can also affect a person’s reaction and, even then, those reactions will most likely vary in type and intensity from person to person. Although no answers have truly been found, research to find the correlation of color and the human emotions continue and the field of color psychology is a popular one.


The research into color psychology isn’t solely for academic purposes either, but is driven to a great degree by our marketing industry and wanting to understand the impact colors have on us that encourages us to like a brand or buy a house. Everything from logos to the décor of hospital rooms and nurseries are being designed with color psychology in mind.

Color psychology can definitely be a selling (or reason you are not selling) factor when people are searching for a home on the Big Island and this goes for both inside and outside the home. Market researchers agree that it is a good course of action to apply a fresh coat of paint on your home before it goes on the market. This is a highly recommended step to selling your home and it comes with some important caveats.

Take, as an example, the exterior of one of the average homes in North Kona… Even though you love orange, purple, and lime green, don’t paint your house those colors unless you are planning to never sell your house. Keep in mind that the most important aspect to consider when you are trying to sell your house is what a buyer will be looking for. So, it makes sense that appealing to the widest pool of potential buyers should be your goal.


Most real estate experts agree that white is the safest bet, however, it is also important to look at your neighborhood and chose colors that will blend with the general color scheme of the houses around you. A poorly painted house on a street can devalue not only your home but the homes of your neighbors up and down the street. 

There are a range of popular colors to choose from for your house’s new look:

  • White

  • Gray

  • Blue

  • Tan/Brown

  • Cream

  • Beige

  • Pale Green

  • Pale Yellow

  • Brick Red

Whatever color you choose, muted neutral hues are the most strongly recommended. They can convey the message that your house is bright, clean and spacious. Light, neutral shades will help your home appear new and fresh and and added perk is that light colors are less likely to fade over time.


Colors for your trim, shutters and doors, is a whole other story. Sticking with the colors listed above is still a safe bet, but with these exterior trimming you have much more freedom to go with your favorites and, if you can’t paint the entire exterior of your house for one reason or another, this is where you can concentrate your efforts to give your home that added bump. In particular, the front door is a key area and a warm, welcoming color can make a very nice impression on potential buyers. Bright blues and reds can really make a home pop.


For the inside, once again consider how color psychology can play into your favor for the interior of your home. To improve lighting you can use neutral colors to make rooms look brighter and more spacious, off-white is the top choice of interior designers. Primer will cover any dirt, stains and out of style color schemes you might be looking to conceal and, some paint brands mix the primer with the base paint so it can usually be done with one coat. If you can’t paint all your interior areas then concentrate on the first room the buyers will enter, take care of any problem areas and use size-enhancing colors for smaller rooms.


Then let your potential buyers know if you’ve put in the time and money to have your house painted.  Color schemes and curb appeal are important “first impression” factors especially if you are wanting to get a quick sell. Talk with your real estate agent about other ways that you can improve your curb appeal with color.

One final tip: If you are part of a homeowners’ association check with them before painting to see if there might be any restrictions on what colors you can use to paint your house.

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