By now you must have read at least one of my posts bemoaning the lack of character in the paint colors my Realtor and her stager had me use in my kitchen. They want everything to be as neutral as possible, so we don’t alienate anyone. As a marketer, I feel we’re missing the opportunity to engage our key target audience (someone who will appreciate turn of the century architecture.)
One of my go-to sources for posting ideas had an article that offers a compromise. In the June 30 New York Times, Katharine Q. Seelye wrote about how paint companies are changing the way they name their colors. Per Ms. Seelye, they’re doing this to capture consumers’ attention. They’re now using names that, among other things, “summon a memory or evoke an emotion” or represent the consumer’s lifestyle. The names rarely have any relationship to the colors they represent, and it’s OK if they sound negative.
I smell a marketer behind this trend! The Home Depot’s merchandising VP for paint articulated my compromise nicely when she stated that “Emotional color names in neutral shades and color combos are crucial for successful home sales.” Thank you, Lyne Castonguay. Since my house painting is now complete, it’s left to me to come up with emotional names for what are mostly bland, unemotional colors.
Let’s start with the kitchen, which has been painted Fossil (walls) and White Dove (cabinets and trim.) I’m naming this combination “Truffle Season in Piemonte.” My sister and her husband took his sister and me there during truffle season. The weather was overcast, so the vistas were a hazy, grayish white. That’s also the color of white truffles as they are shaved onto your risotto. While my potential buyer is mentally savoring truffles in Piemonte, perhaps she won’t notice the lack of granite countertops and designer appliances.
The entry hall and stair tower have mostly bittersweet orange and white striped wallpaper. It’s subtle, as stripes go, but it runs on and on up three stories in the tower. If it were a color, what comes to mind for me is “On Hold for the Social Security Office.”
The living room is wallpapered light blue with pale coral medallions. If it were a color, it would be “Quiet Walk on the Beach at Sunrise.” There’s even a Coalport china bowl filled with sea shells on the sideboard. The dining room has been painted a spicy color that borders on neutral. I’m calling this “Learning to Do the Tango.” That should highlight the open spaces in the entry and dining areas; there’s room enough to tango.
The master bedroom has muted wallpaper with soft sprigs of flowers. It gives the impression of being painted cream, as in “Homemade Eggnog at Our Tree Trimming Party.” The main guest bedroom has been painted Parchment, but I’ll call it “Love Letters from Your First Boyfriend.” That should make buyers notice the bay window with its romantic seating area. The smaller guest room has nondescript wallpaper (off white with fine blue plaid lines.) I’ll name this “Pedal Pushers You Wore to Band Camp.” (Don’t ask.)
The third floor bedroom that is newly painted is pale yellow (Lemon Whip) and the bathroom is pale green (Green Tea.) I’m renaming them “Remember When Whole Foods Was Bread and Circus” and “Lunching with Friends at Whole Foods.” There are two Whole Foods within two miles of us, lest we forget; reason enough to buy the house just for that.
I haven’t named the colors in every room, but I feel that I’ve covered the ones that will matter most to my target audience. If my office area weren’t paneled in faux wood, I’d color it “Where I Go with My Glass of Wine When I Need Inspiration.”
Speaking of which, here I am at my computer. Now if I can just remember where I moved the wine when the stager banished it from the dining room…