Have you ever been driving through a neighborhood and all of a sudden a Pepto Bismal pink house shocks you out of a daydream?

Did you notice anything other than the color – the lush green lawn or the squeaky clean entry way, perhaps? Of course not. You were probably too busy gawking at the color.

Color is a Powerful Thing

Red is stimulating, which is why you don’t see too many school rooms painted this color. Dark blue is relaxing. Yellow reminds us of sunlight, so it has a tendency to evoke cheerful feelings. Green encourages peacefulness and stability.

Colors can remind us of certain people, specific places or times in our lives – some good, some bad.

When preparing your home to put it up for sale, one thing you don’t want to do is evoke the wrong feelings. It’s best to play it safe and opt for neutral, reflective colors like white or ivory for the interior. White, light gray and tan work well for the exterior.

How to Hide Shortcomings in your Home

Use of color is a great way to create optical illusions that are effective in downplaying a home’s shortcomings.

For instance, using lighter colors will make a small space seem larger. Conversely, if you wish a room to look smaller, then paint it a warmer color. If a room is long and narrow, paint the walls at either end a dark, warm color like deep brown or green. This will draw the ends to the center of the room, giving it more of a square look.

To lower a ceiling that’s too high, paint it a darker color – coffee tones, grays, or dark green. Just make sure the room is light enough to handle the darker colors. To make a low ceiling appear higher, paint the walls a darker color than the ceiling.

Busy walls with areas chopped up by radiators, doors, vents and windows make a room look smaller. Paint the room in a flat tone, including the radiator, doors, vents and casement, and these negative features will blend into the room.

Color allows one to make the best of a home’s not-so-great features

Many experts favor paint over wallpaper, but there are times when wallpaper may be the best choice. Use wallpaper if it covers a cosmetic problem or if it adds to the home’s historic charm. Exercise caution and self restraint, though, and stay away from large or loud patterns, strong colors and unusual designs.

Vertical stripes make a room seem taller and hallways shorter. Horizontal stripes make a room look wider and hallways longer.

Regardless of the design flaw being camouflaged at your home for sale, it’s best to keep wallpaper as nondescript as possible.

Keep it Neutral

Generally, the rule is to keep walls, ceilings and floors neutral and add colors with accent items. Temporary splashes of color can be added with all types of fabrics – area rugs, table cloths, napkins, sofa cushions, window curtains, bed spreads and quilts.

Kitchens can be spiced up with canisters, dish towels, framed prints, curtains, window blinds, wallpaper boarders and green plants. Just be sure to keep the plants watered.

Give pizzazz to bathrooms with matching towel sets, bath mats, shower curtains, toilet seats, decorative hand soaps, silk flowers, curtains, blinds and wall hangings.

In bedrooms, throw in color through comforters or quilts, sheets, window treatments, area rugs, and plants or flowers. Just keep in mind that these items are to enhance the look of the house; they’re not to add clutter or make a statement.

You want the house to speak for itself.