"Moody" Paint Colors Can Increase Your Home's Value, New Study Says

By choosing this color, you stand to gain thousands of dollars, according to a new Zillow study.

When you decide to sell your home, you may look around and realize that to make the most of its value, some upgrades are in order. One of the simplest ways to update your space and attract interest is to give your home's interior a fresh coat of paint. However, a recent study conducted by the real estate marketplace Zillow found that not all paint colors are created equally if you're looking to increase your home's value. Dark, rich, "moody" paint colors are especially effective in driving sale prices higher, the study found.

Read on to learn which particular color had the greatest impact, and to find out why moody paint colors have such an effect, according to real estate experts.

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This color increases your home's value the most.

black bedroom
iStock

Traditionally, sellers have painted their homes with light, neutral colors to increase resale value by appealing to a wide range of potential buyers. However, the Zillow team says this study points to a new trend in home sales.

"Buyers are saying goodbye to bland and bidding more on homes with dusky, dramatic walls," they said via press release.

In particular, the study determined that dark gray walls were associated with higher offer prices compared with white walls, regardless of which rooms had been painted in the moody hue. In fact, homes with white walls fetched an average of $600 less than walls painted with color.

Consider the shade carefully.

Kitchen in a modern style with gray walls, white lockers and shelves with accessories. There is a wooden table with chairs, dark ladder, fridge with metal doors, sofa, sink with faucet, hanging lamps.
Shutterstock

To attract a wide range of bidders, you should give careful consideration to the shade of gray you choose, the study suggests.

"Homes with a charcoal gray kitchen can sell for an estimated $2,512 more than similar homes, while a dark gray living room can command offers of $1,755 more," the study authors wrote.

"Homes with a deep graphite gray kitchen can sell for an estimated $2,512 more than similar homes, while a midtone pewter gray kitchen can command $2,553 more than expected. Dark gray in the living room and bedroom outperformed pale neutrals, with the potential to command offers of at least $1,755 more," they add.

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Here's why moody colors appeal, experts say.

View of a modernist home office with dark gray walls and wood accents
Ground Picture / Shutterstock

Painting your walls a moody color can give your home a look that is at once modern and classic, experts say. In fact, these darker tones have been enjoying the spotlight in 2023.

"The finding that darker, moodier paint colors can raise a home's worth is true given the current prevalence of these color palettes in interior design trends, which appeal to buyers seeking a fashionable and modern look," explains Richard Mews, CEO of the U.K.-based real estate company Sell With Richard.

"Darker hues give off an air of refinement and opulence, elevating the home's perceived quality and thus raising its worth," Mews continues. "These colors can give different rooms in a house depth, personality, and a hint of luxury, and when used thoughtfully, they can raise a home's overall appeal and perhaps draw in buyers who value these unusual color choices."

Don't be scared off by bold color.

Vintage grey living room interior
iStock / KatarzynaBialasiewicz

Another benefit of painting your home a rich, moody color is that it still functions as any other neutral tone would.

"While moody colors may seem bold, they often function as neutral backdrops, allowing other design elements, furniture, and artwork to stand out. The versatility of mid-tone to dark gray shades enables potential buyers to envision their preferred décor and personal style, making the space more appealing," explains Hubert Miles, a certified master inspector and owner of Home Inspection Insider.

However, it also adds more visual interest, he notes. "When used strategically, moody colors can create striking contrasts within a room that enhance architectural features, such as ornate trim work, molding, or unique design elements, thereby adding visual interest and increasing perceived value."

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Try these other moody colors, too.

green bedroom
iStock

Gray isn't the only dramatic color that may add value to your home. "Tones of deep blue, rich green, and black are other moody paint colors that could raise a home's worth," says Mews.

That said, you should give some consideration to whether the colors suit your home and target market before reaching for a paintbrush. The location, decor type, and architectural style of your home can all affect whether those particular colors will appeal to and fetch top bidders.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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