Choosing a Color Scheme for Your Building’s Style

January 22, 2013

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Deciding on a paint color scheme for your commercial or industrial building is a very important consideration. The exterior of your business is the face you present to the world, and a great color scheme not only projects a welcoming image, but also lets your clients or customers know that attention to detail is important to you.

In general, there are two important considerations when choosing an exterior color scheme: the architectural style of your building, and the context of the surrounding structures.

Color and architectural style

In most cases, the best choices for historic architectural styles are the original color schemes. Of course, buildings weren’t painted exactly alike, even in their historic periods, but most styles followed some general guidelines. A few examples include:

Colonial and Colonial Revival structures were often colorful on the inside, but the exteriors typically did not display much color variation. Most followed a three-color scheme—one color was used for the field and trim, another was used as an accent, and the natural red brick of the chimney and base was left unpainted.

Victorian buildings sported famously colorful exteriors. These distinct structures, frequently referred to as “painted ladies,” might have used six or more bright colors for the trim and accents—a difficult look to pull off today without a chaotic effect.

In the early 20th century, the Craftsman style was a popular choice, and the general color schemes trended toward earth tones of deep greens, reds, and browns. These types of structures are enjoying a resurgence in popularity today.

Blending with the surroundings

In addition to the style of your industrial or commercial building, your color scheme should also take surroundings into consideration. Structures in historical districts should strive to match period-specific schemes, particularly when neighboring buildings follow this pattern. Older buildings situated in more contemporary neighborhoods may have more room to experiment with color for different effects.

The natural landscape around your building can also inspire color choices. For example, tree-lined streets might suggest an earth palette, while structures located on or near waterfronts might use vivid blues and corals.

It’s a good idea to consult with an experienced commercial painting contractor when choosing an exterior color scheme for your building.

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