10 Painting Tips The Stars Of HGTV's Unsellable Houses Swear By

The experts on HGTV's "Unsellable Houses" have shared valuable painting tips that anyone can use. From color psychology to practical application, sisters Lyndsay Lamb and Leslie Davis' expertise transcends the screen, empowering viewers to tackle their own painting projects with confidence and skill. From color selection to application methods, the stars of the show are always dishing out great advice that has become a go-to strategy for homeowners, renovators, and aspiring designers alike.

Plus, they understand that painting isn't just about beautifying a space; it's also about adding value. They understand the impact that a fresh coat of paint can have on a property's perceived worth. So whether you're preparing to sell your home or simply seeking to refresh your living space, these tried-and-true techniques are sure to make a lasting impression. You don't need to renovate your entire house, you just need to touch up a few things. These are the 10 painting tips the stars of HGTV's "Unsellable Houses" swear by.

1. A fresh, light color can update old wooden cabinets

If you have old wooden cabinets in your kitchen, you don't have to do an expensive and time-consuming remodel to update their look. Instead, the stars of "Unsellable Houses" reckon all you need is a great coat of paint to turn things around. "We are obsessed with the transformation in the kitchen," the duo shared on Facebook. "The old wood panels and dark cabinets made the house look dated, but we turned it around by creating a custom look by painting the kitchen cabinets Sherwin-Williams Aleutian SW 6241."

This subtle blue is reminiscent of a pair of cool blue jeans. You can purchase it from any Sherwin-Williams in-person retailer, or online to make things easier. Although the manufacturer suggests it in the bathroom or bedroom, it's easy to branch out and take the color's relaxing vibe into any area of the house. "We loved the color so much that we even used it as an accent in multiple other parts of the house bringing life throughout!" the stars also posted. Once you've updated your kitchen on a budget, don't be afraid to double dip on your favorite paint in other areas of your house. There are no rules against it!

2. Accent walls can make ceilings seem higher

High ceilings can make a home with even the smallest square footage seem airy and opulent. If you are lacking in space, Davis and Lamb have a fantastic painting hack to make even the tiniest of spaces seem just a bit larger. In the Season 4 episode "Unsellable Disaster," Davis decides to paint the top of the tallest wall in a home a bold color instead of leaving it white. Creating an accent wall, even if it's only partial,"makes your eyes go up, and that's one of our big selling points for this house. This back room with these vaulted ceilings and the skylights," she shared, per Realtor.

Even if your house isn't the nicest or the largest, it's possible to use this painting tip to trick the eye into seeing more space. In this episode, the sisters separated the top half of the accent wall from the rest of the room with a touch of molding. This is because it's not a great idea to just paint half a wall. If your home doesn't follow suit, consider painting the entire wall one color to keep things more uniform. Having one bold color against three other white walls will still stand out and create the illusion of space. You might even consider painting the ceiling an accented color to further the illusion. 

3. Don't throw it out — just paint it!

If you don't like your kitchen table, old rocking chair — or anything else about your home — Davis and Lamb have one tip to share: You don't need to throw anything out. In most cases, a fresh coat of paint can make something seem as good as new, if not better. When Austin Monthly asked the sisters "What's an easy DIY that homeowners can do that totally transforms a space?" they had an enthusiastic reply. "Paint, paint, paint! Even a little paint goes a long way!" they said. "You can totally transform the look of a room or a piece of furniture with a fresh new coat or color change. Painting walls inside your home truly makes such a huge difference to a space."

So whether something is old, dingy, or just not in style anymore — doing a bit of research on classic colors is the best way to revive something. The sisters recommend neutral colors across many different brands, including both Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams, with subtle grays and stark whites always making the cut.

4. Grays should have green undertones to be a real neutral

To the untrained eye, most gray paint colors can look quite similar. If you want to select a true neutral gray for your home, Lindsey Lamb warns that you need to look for options with plenty of green in them. This is instead of the more traditional blue hue. "Gray Owl is the ideal neutral gray," she shared on her blog when discussing the Benjamin Moore product. "Now, most grays have a blue undertone that can tend to make gray feel very cool, but Gray Owl is unique as it has green undertones. The green undertone does a great job of warming the color while letting it remain cool. Truly making it a neutral hue."

The best way to discover a paint's undertones is simply to ask the employees who mix it. If you have a swatch in your hand, they will know the exact pigments needed to create it. If no one is available, or they don't know, another great way to discover the undertones in paint is to compare the swatch to colors nearby. When laid in a row, you can often tell if something is too blue or green, or anything else you don't want. The comparison makes the difference much clearer.

5. Bold exterior colors will sell a house, not neutrals

The stars are constantly dealing with unsellable houses, often due to painting mistakes. One thing that comes up often for clients is a home facade that doesn't call to buyers. It is boring. It is basic. And it's easy to pass over. In the Season 4 episode "Vanity of Vanities," the duo wasn't impressed with their client's bland home front. "The cream exterior that Tom and Cassie had on this home just made it kind of disappear into the neighborhood," Davis said, per Realtor. "So I'm going with a beach blue with white trim."

She recognizes that this kind of touch-up can be expensive, but it's going to be worth it. It's the difference between a sold house and one that sits on the market forever with no bites. "Painting the exterior of a home is not cheap, but having the exterior stand out, especially in this market, is absolutely going to attract those buyers," she continued. In this instance, it works in that the couple has a profit of $15,000 even accounting for the cost of the renovations. 

6. Painting doors can save you tons of money

Swapping out doors can quickly become expensive. The average price for a single interior door can range from $200 to $1,700. If you are replacing a cellar door, you might find yourself with a bill of up to $6,000. The sisters are aware of this and plan their renovations accordingly. Instead of removing doors, they recommend giving them a fresh coat of paint to elevate their look without putting you out of so much cash. In the Season 4 episode "Vanity of Vanities," Lamb says, "To keep the cost down, we are reusing all of the doors. But we're painting them this stunning gray-green to give it a Pacific Northwest pop of a coastal vibe," per Realtor.

Viewers of the show might wonder if the pair uses ideas like this as one-time fixes. However, they also shared on the HGTV blog that this painting tip is a common practice for them. "A pop of color on your front door is an easy and affordable way to establish curb appeal and allows your house to stand out from the rest on the block," they wrote.

7. Brick fireplaces and mantels are prime for painting

These sisters love to paint everything. They are firm believers that you can transform the look of a space without major renovation simply by painting the brick or stone. So instead of getting rid of that old fireplace, their best tip is to give it a fresh coat of paint. "More than 3/4 of homebuyers are seeking a new home with a family room fireplace, so if you're fortunate enough to have one, help it stand out," they wrote on the HGTV blog.

We see this in action in the Season 3 episode "Cottage Vibe," when the duo do just that with the large brick fireplace in their client's home. They use the texture of the brick to make a bright white statement piece out of something that was overbearing and bulky before. Painting brick can be just a little bit tricky to master. The best tip is to thoroughly prepare your space before by cleaning the brick with brushes. You should also never skip priming the brick to make sure the paint sticks to an otherwise porous surface. Not priming can lead to an uneven finish.

8. Avoid ombre walls

If you do anything when repainting, the best tip the duo can give is to avoid doing ombre walls at all costs! While the two-tone look might work for hair, even professionals struggle to make it look good for walls and other places around the home. The main issues people face when trying this method are overspray and putting the paint on too thick. "Ombre painting is a fading technique that takes things from like a dark to a much lighter color... I have zero confidence we are going to pull this off" said Leslie in the Season 1 finale.

While it turns out okay in the episode, it's best to avoid this technique at home. You don't want just okay results, you want the best. Instead, stick to solid colors for each wall. While adding an accent wall can be great visually, a wall with two different colors, mixed in an ombre fashion, is likely to look confusing to most who will visit (and eventually want to buy) your home. Like chevron was in 2014, ombre walls are also likely just a flash in the pan fashion-wise, so you will have to redo it anyway. 

9. Don't be afraid to use paint unconventionally

Most of us assume that you have to use paint in traditional ways. It covers the wall and adds a touch of visual interest to a room. That's it. However, for the hosts of "Unsellable Houses," paint is also a way to express your creativity. If you are an artist, or just an art lover, the duo urges you to paint a mural in your home. "Paint is something that's always fun to play with because it's so easy to change," Davis said in the episode "Small House Save," per Realtor.

When most people hear mural, they think of it in the street art sense. They might imagine photorealistic portraits or vast landscapes. However, in this instance, the sisters painted a mural on the wall that looks a bit more like wallpaper. It's a fun, textured way to bring a touch of liveliness to a room. While a bit more labor-intensive to create, these murals are significantly easier than wallpaper to change up, as it's simple to just paint over them.

10. White can make a room seem larger

If you are ever at a loss on how to make a room look larger, reach for a can of white paint. It's a solid strategy that will never go out of style or stop working. We see this tip show up often on the sisters' show. One example is in the Season 3 episode "Rustic Cabin Reno." The wooden cabin was small and charming, but felt way too cramped inside. "This wood wall is so dreamy with all the textures, the knots, like, so much character," Davis said, per Realtor. "We just need to lighten it up a little bit. For this design and this house that's surrounded by large trees blocking a lot of sunlight, it's a must."

If you find yourself in a similar situation, white can amplify even the smallest bit of light to make your house feel bigger. However, you want to avoid stark whites as they can feel sterile. Instead, choose hues with warmer undertones. Picking the right white paint is important to achieve the look you want.