Coloring Buyers' Perspectives

Colors affect every aspect of our lives, even home buying.

June 30, 2002


Colors affect every aspect of our lives, even home buying. The power of color — emotionally and psychologically — can make or break a model home.

“A builder should consider the age, lifestyle and ethnicity of a buyer when choosing colors, as well as at what price they are buying, whether the home is primary or secondary, and what the home’s physical environment is like,” says Jay de Sibour, president of the Color Marketing Group, a not-for-profit association in Alexandria, Va., that predicts color trends in almost every industry.

Georganne Derick, president of Merchandising East in Ellicott City, Md., concurs. A market that houses engineers or others attracted to practicality might prefer a more conservative color palette, whereas status seekers might respond to dramatic, high-contrast schemes.

De Sibour and Derick agree there are some guidelines:


  • Primary, high-contrast colors appeal to children and the elderly because they define space and items best.

  • Older, sophisticated buyers or high-end buyers prefer a complex palette — rich chocolates or copper-orange.

  • Ethnic buyers might respond to colors that reflect the familiar — reds, oranges and yellows are valued in Latin America, for instance.

    Regardless of market subcategories, some colors affect us all similarly, and that should be taken into account. Red makes the heart beat faster and increases appetite and thus works well in dining rooms, whereas blue has a calming effect and is a good choice for bedrooms.

    Color resources abound. The contractor section of the Paint Quality Institute’s Web site ( features a digital color wheel that shows how certain colors work together. Home decorating books and magazines, furniture and home stores (and catalogs), paint stores, and even clothing stores and buyers’ choices of fashion can clue builders in to what colors their buyers find comfortable and appealing.

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