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Can Exterior Wall Colors Mean Big Business?

Design Trends

There may be no bigger color trend right now than the one taking place among exterior walls. Creating the perfect sought-after space in the built environment is fraught with many considerations — material, commercial paint color, lighting, sound, location, and people. A built space can be magical when the right combination of these items exist. This holds true not only for a building's interior space but its exterior, as well. Further, when it comes to a building’s exterior, color curation is perhaps a more crucial component for commercial painting than ever before.


Image Credit: Rodion Kutsaev via Unsplash

At Dunn-Edwards, we know well the impact a brilliantly colored door can have, even more so when it comes to a building’s entire exterior. Utilizing the hottest paint color trends can enable a business or retail establishment to quickly make a name for itself. Curation is top of mind as the influence of social media — and platforms like Instagram — rises. With their rise comes the idea that anyone can create a visually-stunning and influential story with just small images on a grid. This is where the examination of color as a curatorial variable comes into play. Curating the right exterior commercial paint color can generate a following of fans for a business in both the digital and real worlds. In fact, 62% of [Instagram] users follow a brand just because they like it!"

Take the west side of Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, Calif. There you'll find blocks of retail spaces that are photo-ready with intentional color. British Designer Paul Smith’s Melrose retail space is one of LA’s “most Instagrammed” walls according to LA Magazine. Why? The shop’s exterior was “painted pink to attract passing drivers.” Everyday digital influencers and Instagram novices stop to take photos in front of the pink backdrop. In the Instagram era, the commercial space’s exterior paint continues to make the store a destination.

A study in color design shows that paint colors are used for more than decoration. In fact, the psychology of color details the effects that paint hues have on behavior. When paint colors are selected for built environments they specifically impact perception in discreet and meaningful ways.


Image Credit: Robert Barragan

For example, a clinical study published in the Journal of Color Research & Application found that the color red was linked to excitement as it is considered an arousing and stimulating color, and it was also associated with characteristics of activity and strength. Red, orange, and yellow hues lead to states of excitement and cheerfulness. Unsurprisingly, warm tones tend to garner the most likes on social media — further supporting the color theory.


Image Courtesy of Emmauelle Moureaux Architecture + Design; Photography © Daisukke Shima / Nacasa & Partners

The tipping point for new businesses today, in large part, happens via social media. As a result, architects, designers and professional paint contractors must now consider whether or not their selection of exterior paint colors are multi-dimensional enough for a digital world. For more commercial color trends, check out Dunn-Edwards 2017 report of commercial design trends.