Selling Sunset's Emma Hernan says these kitchen colors are 'the perfect recipe' for selling your house

In an exclusive interview, the agent revealed the best colors for attracting potential buyers – and the ones that should be avoided

emma hernana in a blue suit on a porch
(Image credit: Jason Kent)

While design is an art, it is also an investment. If you are making massive changes to your home, there is an expectation that they will help garner a higher price when it comes time to sell. You can't guarantee returns, but you can do your best to choose timeless looks that raise the value. 

Luckily, Emma Hernan, a high-end real estate agent at the acclaimed Oppenheim Group and star of Netflix's Selling Sunset, told Homes & Gardens the kitchen colors she swears by. 

'I think you can't go wrong with white kitchens, big and small. They all look great with a crisp white cabinet and a crisp white countertop,' the agent explains.

Emma's advice doesn't stop with a coat of white paint. She continues:, 'I really, really like incorporating some type of wood into a white kitchen. Wood helps to warm up the property and brings that balance. Because you don't want it too stark with white. I don't think neutral wood mixed with white ever going to go out of style.' 

With the rising popularity of wood kitchen cabinets, we're sure to see more of this look in the coming year.

freestanding kitchen cabinetry in white and wood kitchen

(Image credit: Devol)
Emma Hernan
Emma Hernan

Selling Sunset star Emma Hernan is the go-to agent for many luxury home buyers and sellers, both across the US and internationally. Alongside her place in the real estate industry, Emma has a rich background as an entrepreneur and angel investor – simultaneously serving as the CEO of her successful food company. 

When asked if there is any particular shade of wood she prefers, Emma responded that it's all about light wood for her.  

'A light wood mixed with white is like the perfect recipe. It's like a chocolate chip cookie. It's like a perfect combination of gooey goodness.' The combination results in a very classic Scandinavian kitchen look that will never be off-trend.

scandi kitchen with limed cabinetry with white larder and wooden flooring

(Image credit: Naked Kitchens)

However, don't get the idea that Emma is anti-color. She claims there are ways to incorporate color into a kitchen, with one important caveat. Emma told H&G: 'For those who are looking for a little bit more color, I always recommend staying neutral. So earth tones, olives, something calm. Just grounding colors, colors that are timeless, timeless, and calm.' These relaxed, neutral kitchens are still beautiful when it comes time to sell.

'That's what I would recommend to any of my clients. And that's personally what I would do. I own properties across the US, and that's all I would do. Anything neutral, whites and neutrals,' Emma adds.

Though light neutrals are fine, Emma categorically advises against dark kitchen cabinets for those planning to sell. She said: 'I think that back in the day, probably like 10, 15 years ago, you saw a lot of those dark colors, and those went out of style so, so quickly. And all of the houses that stayed neutral, they stayed white, they stayed with some kind of earth tones and wood, they never went out of style.'

She continued on the shades that date your home, stating: 'I see that a lot with my clients who are looking to either do a remodel or a little freshen-up before they sell. Not everyone is going to gravitate towards black. I think it can just be a touch much. Anyone who went with those darker tones all have to give their house a little bit of love before putting it on the market.'

Our White Paint Picks


With white, wood, and neutrals in your kitchen, you're on the right track to sell your home.

Sophie Edwards
News Writer

I am a London-based News Writer at Homes & Gardens. My interests lie at the intersection of design and popular culture with a particular focus on trends and celebrity homes. Before joining Future, I worked as a Content Writer and Communications Lead for Fig Linens and Home, a luxury linens and home interiors brand based in Fairfield County, CT. I have a BA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College in New York and an MSc from the Oxford University Department of Anthropology.