by Katy Weldon
In difficult times companies are seeking ways to spark more interest in their products. Manufactured housing is no exception and many companies are using color to help their homes stand out from the crowd.
While the use of color is an excepted method, in a down market the wrong choices can be a disadvantage.
Generally speaking – and areas will differ to some degree - when a family has more disposable income they tend to choose brighter colors and pattern. Products such as carpeting, upholstery and window treatments will show a great color emphasis. The concern over their replacement is minimal because in a few years time they can afford to replace it, if they tire of the color or styles change.
Those ideas become more conservative as finances begin to shrink. The expense to replace bright Rust or Emerald Green carpet is now a taller order than in the past. The longevity of these decisions and those products is now the concern.
Changes in buyer concerns, and purchasing, have caused the latest trends in color to begin a steady rise toward Neutrals in the retail market. Grey, Beige, Taupe and Soft Gold all fall in the category of Neutral. Most current color pallets for carpeting will show this. Neutral carpet colors add visual space which makes the room seem lighter and larger.
There is another area where adding the right color makes a big difference; it is the walls of a home. Studies show that even in an affordable range product line, the use of beige rather than Contractor White is much preferred throughout.
NOTE: Leave the baseboards and the doors white for a very upscale look. These simple changes add warmth and charm.
Many people today are facing the task of downsizing. They still want a home to look as “undownsized” as possible. Affordable home customers are not the same customer of 10 years ago, so upgrading the interior look is a definite plus when appealing to this group of buyers.
Accent walls are the perfect way to introduce some spark and interest to your neutral interior.
Accent walls add interest and can highlight architectural features. From the customer’s point of view, it is much more affordable to add a painted wall and some accent pillows than to deal with years of Bright Rust carpeting. Affordable drama and spark are great, so show them how to do it. Be the home they remember as the one with good ideas.
It is now time for the decision part. In doubt as to what shade to use?
One good way to determine the market trends and to better associate your product with the ideas your customers are seeing is to visit Home Depot or Lowes. NOT the paint or flooring departments. They are fine, but not focused on your need at the moment. Instead, find the cabinet displays and take the brochures for kitchen and bath cabinets. Notice the cabinet stain colors and the painted walls shown in their photographs. This is where the market trends are. Follow them and you keep up with national sales.
Companies pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in research on customer buying trends and advertising…all free for your use.
COLOR is a marketing tool more than a design element in this case. Its application in retail sales is changing with the times. Where as in the past heavy color emphasis helped to sell a home, today that is not the case.
The use of color is a science in the world of consumer spending and has fairly predictable results.
The use of color is inexpensive, very inexpensive and accurate when it comes to attracting attention to your product line. It says, without salespeople and brochures, that your products are current and you are customer oriented.
Take advantage of this wonderful marketing tool and you will see positive results.
Design/Sales Motto: Change is good…without it we have nothing to sell!
Katy Weldon, IIDA
Owner & Principal
Santa Barbara, CA.
Katy has had almost 2 decades of manufactured housing experience, working with many of the industry’s major companies. She has created model homes for Silvercrest Western Homes for 16 years and worked as a consultant on the choosing of materials such as carpeting programs, cabinet style and colors, counter top materials and light fixtures. She has designed kitchens and baths as well. She has created profit centers for both manufactured and site built housing. She has created model homes for Skyline, Golden West, Fleetwood, and Cavco too, and has helped many great retailers spruce up display models. As a designer for site built she has a special vision for the manufactured home industry…….know who your competition is, and it’s not other retailers. Know who your customer is and what will draw that person to spend money with you. Be proactive in your research and apply the latest trends. It will serve you well.