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How to Lighten and Brighten 

 written by Jill Gargus, CID 

Last week was very deep and packed full of information, so this week we will tone it

down a little and “lighten and brighten”

your home. One of the first words out of a buyers mouths today is that a property is too dark. “It’s so dark in here.”

They could mean from an exposure perspective, or it has been too closed up for too long and has not seen the light of day.

Other times the paint colors are way too dark or there is dated wood paneling that has kept the house in the 1970’s. Regardless of why they think or feel it is too dark, is the better question of “How can we fix it?”

To lighten and brighten a home may be a simple process or an extensive one. Either way it needs to be done. Start with opening all the window coverings or even removing them. See where that leads you, besides exposing the sins of the dirty windows and wells, the bigger item we are looking for is how has doing this changed the brightness of the room?

Natural Exposure and Paint

Exposures of your property create varying degree and colors of natural light and that is a buying factor when buyers consider purchasing a home. Some buyers refuse to buy north facing homes due to the lack of light coming into half the home. So your first plan of action is to determine which direction your home is facing. You cannot change the direction of your home but you can influence its overall interior lighting.

Keep these points in mind when choosing paint

  • North exposure causes a dull gray hue to fill the room
  • East creates a green hue causing a darker cool feeling
  • South exposure brings a yellow or bright hue
  • West adds orange/red and creates deep warm glow.

Working with the paint colors and the other elements within the room can make a huge impact on the overall first impression. It is a consistent truth that the paint colors seem to change from the store to the home, from the paint can to the tray and from the tray to wall. And usually when the paint dries, people think the paint colors were mixed wrong due to the stark difference in color. However this is not the case, it is simply the fact that the exposure, weather, and lighting all change color.

Choose colors that work well in all these rooms and if you are having difficulty consider hiring a Certified Color Consultant for help with this. Jill Gargus is a Color Consultant she can be reached at 780-452-4527.

If you choose to have a consultation for paint will be well worth the small investment and save you bigger problems later once the new paint is applied and you do not have to change it because it was chosen correctly to start with. When painting to sell, it’s important that no mistakes are made. Universally neutral colors are the best road to take, but be warned all color chips are made up of multiple drops of pigment and therefore cause an undertone. An undertone can be your biggest nightmare or your best kept secret. Neutral paint will have green, pink or yellow undertones and the key here is to choose paint that enhances your existing fixed elements, not the opposite.

Undertone Nightmare

Before I understood this important truth, I had a client who had a very pink house. Everything from tile, carpet, counter tops, walls, blinds, curtains and sheers, furniture, sinks, tubs…all pink. Even the kitchen cabinets were oak with a light pink wood stain. I had never seen anything like it. So, since we were using all of the client’s furniture for staging and they were unwilling to do other changes, all we could do was paint. So I took my paint fan to the STORE and chose a color. A nice neutral beige, paid for 10 gallons and arrived to paint.

I did the entire top floor, painting in my own little world before I noticed the color in its DRY state. It was green. So now I had a green and pink house! The pink elements in the home were now brighter PINK with the un-complimentary color of the green under toned paint. That lesson cost me a small fortune to fix and led to me get training on why that happened and how to not do it again!

Paint is an inexpensive way to add huge overall impact to a property and it can, if chosen correctly, create a wow factor first impression and add value to your property.

Oh and one more tip, Painters are applicators not decorators, so don’t let them choose your color!