Selling Advice

I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas…..or Would Blue Be Better??

Selling a home used to mean that everything got a fresh coat of white paint! These days, the concept of “staging” has caused us to re-think the “white sells best” concept. A couple of years ago, I read an interesting article in the Old Republic Title News Digest. The article took an interesting look at colors and the messages they convey. Jamie Jackson, then an interior designer with Pacific Home in Honolulu helped explain the psychology of color.

What’s in a Color?

Basically, each color paints a picture of a different lifestyle. For instance, it’s no accident that white conveys cleanliness. It’s the symbol of peace (dove), purity (bride) and elegance. Jamie says white, especially in Hawaii, can be used as a “blank canvas” upon which an owner can build. Contrary to popular belief, blue is a calming color not a depressing one. Jamie says that blue can be a reflection of the ocean. At the time, it was being paired with contrasting colors. In my personal experience, blue is a color that evokes strong emotion; people love it or they hate it.

Green obviously is a color that paints our island landscape. It can be a spring color symbolizing “renewal and growth” or it can be a calming color. Lanai areas are typically green focused areas. Be careful with “Paniolo Green”, however. I’ve found that only homes built in the original style can get away with such strong exterior paint but believe it or not, black exteriors are quite popular these days.

Lemon yellow “represents harmony and optimism.” Painting only one wall “golden can make a room appear larger.” Although citrus yellows may reflect the sunlight, I don’t find many amateurs using it successfully in their staging efforts. Like yellows, “dessert” colors such as tangerine, are considered joyful colors. They tend toward the warm range and I have seen them used successfully.

Children love the idea of purple bedrooms but unfortunately, they don’t normally make the buying decision. Purples and pinks represent the “feminine side.” In Hawaii, they reflect tropical flowers but don’t get carried away. During a past REALTOR® caravan, one home that evoked a very positive response was painted a combination of warm colors with white as an anchor.

Use Color to Your Advantage

The use of color definitely turned an otherwise basic home into a showpiece. Giving up all white can be scary, I’ll admit, but there’s no need to “go where no man has gone before” in order to achieve great results. It’s fairly simple to find homes online that have used color to the fullest advantage. It’s also easy to find the year’s most popular colors listed on paint store websites. Your agent can likely recommend a good home stager, decorators, and designers. Whatever color palette you choose, here’s hoping it all turns out Merry and Bright! Merry Christmas everybody!!

Jamie and her partners can be found at

About the Author

Denise Nakanishi

Denise Nakanishi is a REALTOR Broker with Hawai'i Life. Denise Nakanishi is one of Hilo's most acclaimed real estate agents. She reached the rank of Major in the US Army and is now known by many as "Major Mom." The nickname fits–not only does Denise bring the discipline and mission-oriented attitude you'd expect, she's also caring and compassionate, always looking out for her clients like they're her own family. Having made the Big Island her home since 1987, Denise combines her extensive knowledge of the area with a sharp focus on customer service and the results speak for themselves. She's the recent recipient of the Best East Hawai`i, Best of Zillow, Chairman's Circle Award, President's Circle, Top Producing Agent since 2001, and Realtor of the Year awards. Denise stays ahead of the curve because she's passionate about education–she served as Education Chair for Hawaii Island REALTORS® for many years. She's one of Big Island's best real estate resources, known for her weekly article in the Hawaii Tribune Herald. Denise leads Team Nakanishi for Hawai`i Life, who is committed to their family, work, and community. In her little time away from work, Denise is a committed runner and Grandy. She also devotes many hours to various Veterans' Organizations, the East Hawaii Cultural Center, and the Hawaii Island REALTORS®. You can email me at or via phone at (808) 936-5100.

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