When it comes to your home, choosing which exterior paint color to use is primarily aesthetic. Color scheme preference is all that matters. After all, your home’s skin, as in the protective layer, is the siding or construction materials under the paint.

However, for large businesses, choosing the best exterior paint colors for commercial buildings has less to do with aesthetics. The paint job is a protective layer that protects the structure underneath from exposure to the elements.

When your commercial building’s exterior paint job fails, water, salt, carbon, and other elements get into the surface underneath, which can cause structural damage.

In this article, we’ll explain why your exterior paint color matters and give you enough information so you can choose the best exterior paint colors for your commercial building.

There is a lot more that goes into this decision than most people realize, including the psychology of color. It’s incredible how something as simple as a color scheme can affect mood and productivity at work, and we’ll dig deeper into this, too.

Numerous factors go into choosing a color scheme for your commercial or office building. Once you figure that out, then it’s time to find the best commercial painting company in your area.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet.

The color of your building matters

You only get one chance to make a first impression in your social and business lives. And the color scheme of your building will likely be the first impression anyone has of your business.

A properly-maintained exterior creates a positive impression and can even attract potential customers. It’s essential to consider this when choosing the right color and design.

However, creating a positive first impression is just one small piece to this puzzle, as you’re about to see.

How do I choose a commercial building paint color?

There are a few factors you should consider before making this critical decision, and these include:

Your Brand Identity

Every business has a brand identity or should have one. The colors you choose for your commercial building’s exterior should reflect your brand values and reinforce that identity.

However, your exterior paint colors should be manageable and clear for your customers. When in doubt, a subtle, neutral color scheme is the best way to go.

Alternatively, if your brand has a color scheme that you use on your website and other marketing materials, it’s a good idea to stay true to that as much as possible. Your customers will recognize those colors and make the connection.

Think about the color scheme of UPS for a second and how easy it is to link those colors to that brand.

Your Building Size

Your building’s exterior paint color can also transform the space and make it look bigger. Light colors, in general, are great for accomplishing this, while darker colors have a slimming effect on buildings just as they do on people.

In addition, it’s best to choose a color scheme that displays your logo to its advantage. A dark logo on a dark exterior is difficult to notice, and you want to be noticed.

Your Local Surroundings

It’s a good idea to consider the environment around your building. Is your building in a more natural area with many trees? Or is it in an urban area surrounded by nothing but concrete and other buildings?

Earth tones will work great in the first instance, while brighter colors may be more appropriate (and noticeable) in the second example.

Besides the local environment, look at the color schemes of the buildings surrounding yours. As marketing is all about standing out, choose contrasting colors rather than more of the same. Blending in is excellent for cocktail parties rather than for businesses.

Your Competitors

You’ll develop a preference for your color schemes in commercial businesses like yours. You’ll develop an appreciation for your color schemes. Shopping for a color scheme is also something to consider.

The Psychology of Color

Colors psychologically affect us, whether we realize it or not. Do you think McDonald’s and Burger King chose a tan/light orange paint on a whim?

Different colors evoke different emotions, and that light orange color, for some reason, makes people hungry. Blue, on the other hand, has a calming effect. And yellow creates a feeling of happiness and excitement.

Architecture and Exterior Materials

The architectural style of your commercial or office building and its exterior materials play an essential role in choosing a color scheme and coating type. For example, you wouldn’t paint a 100-year-old Victorian-style building in bold colors, would you?

Again, if your brand is bold and you want to stand out, it’s OK to color outside the lines. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to exterior paint color.

Different building materials require an additional exterior paint coating. For example, wood requires a layer other than concrete or stucco.

However, this factor isn’t something you should be too concerned about. If you hire a high-quality commercial painter, part of their job will be assessing your building’s materials and choosing the best coating.

Let’s look at some specific commercial colors by Sherwin-Williams and the effect each might have on your customer’s emotions. As pros in this space, we believe these are some of the best exterior paint colors for commercial buildings.

White: You can’t go wrong with a crisp, clean white building, as it imparts professionalism and sophistication. It’s a classic choice for a reason.

Gray: Gray is another neutral color that combines nicely with other accent colors to create various looks for office buildings. And for commercial buildings, it makes a more modern appearance.

Black: Black is a bold choice that matches a fearless brand. And it’s a color often used to create a modern and sleek look for your office building.

Tan: A tan exterior conveys a sense of reliability and stability. Successful businesses seek to portray these traits, and something as simple as a color can do that.

Brown: Brown creates a traditional appearance for your building, which is why many office buildings use this color as a default choice.

Green: Green has a calming effect like blue, but it’s more earthy and will fit nicely with a natural environment flush with earth tones. It’s also an excellent color choice for businesses that want to convey an eco-friendly attitude or persona.

Red: Red is the most vibrant color. It conveys passion and desire. Red is never dull and will attract a lot of attention. Is your brand bold enough for a red building?

Explore Sherwin-Williams commercial color palette.

What type of paint is used for commercial buildings?

Discuss with your commercial painter the best exterior paint colors for commercial buildings, but researching ahead of time is still a great idea. While using our free commercial color paint chart will help, pairing your building’s exterior materials with the proper type of paint is extremely important.

Let’s look at a few standard exteriors and the types of paint that work best for each.

Building with Stucco or Brick

Stucco and brick present more complications than smooth surfaces. They require paint that has been specifically formatted and special prep work to get the exterior ready.

Choosing an exterior paint that will provide the most coverage and long-lasting finish is a good idea, as stucco and brick can stain over time and appear old and worn more quickly than other building materials.

Elastomeric, acrylic, and latex paints are all suitable options.

Keep in mind that mildew-resistant paints can keep your paint job looking fresher longer, especially in areas where mildew is a concern.

And when in doubt, a flat sheen is always a good choice with stucco and brick.

Building with Siding

Is your vinyl siding looking old and worn? If you cannot replace it, painting it using special techniques is a great, cost-effective alternative.

Make sure to choose a paint that has been formulated for vinyl siding.

Acrylic and urethane resins provide excellent adhesion when applied to vinyl. And they quickly expand with the vinyl as it reacts to heat, for those in hotter climates.

Also, lighter colors are a great choice in hotter areas as they don’t absorb much heat, which can help lower cooling costs.

Building with Siding

If you have a metal commercial building, you’ll want to choose a paint that protects against rusting, especially in areas where rusting naturally occurs.

Rustproof paints are a great way to protect your building against damage and erosion.

This type of paint will block pores in the metal so moisture cannot settle in and eventually rust.

And you can add a rustproof primer to create an extra layer of protection.


If you choose a paint color for your living room, you’d probably drive to the paint store and look at some samples. The same goes for choosing the color scheme of your commercial or office building.

Take samples of your chosen paint colors and test them out next to your building. For some reason, the paint often looks different outdoors than in the store. And this allows you to see exactly how it will look before buying.

While your building is being painted, will you remain open or have to close? If staying open isn’t an option, you must factor this downtime into your decision.

You aim to get the most efficient and high-quality paint job that disrupts your business as little as possible. Balancing these opposing needs can be tricky, as quality often takes longer. If you’re in this situation with your project, it will be essential to choose a commercial painter that can help you achieve both goals ‒ speed and quality.

About Interior Colors for Your Business

A happy employee is a productive employee, and productive employees make a business successful. Remember, why not use interior colors to maximize your staff’s potential?

Here are a few colors and the effect they have on people in the workplace:

  • Blue: Perhaps the best color to maximize efficiency in the workplace. Employees who are less stressed will think much more clearly, which is why a calming influence is advantageous.
  • Yellow: If you want to ramp up creativity in the workplace, yellow is the prime color choice.
  • Green: As mentioned earlier, green (like blue) is calming. But it also helps create a harmonious office environment. It makes sense, as it’s the prime color of nature, where harmony abounds.
  • Red: if your employees expend physical energy at work, like in warehouses, red is the best color to energize and stimulate.

It’s strange to think that colors can significantly impact our productivity and happiness at work, but they always affect us everywhere. We don’t realize it.

Imagine increasing efficiency and productivity just by changing your color schemes. You can paint different offices or departments in the most advantageous color for each role.

Choose HBP Painting Contractors for your exterior painting project.

Our commercial painting services include interior, exterior, and color consulting.

If you have a commercial property needing professional painting services, contact us for a free onsite estimate. We will provide a clear and timely estimate and finish the job quickly.

HBP Painting Contractors offers interior and exterior painting for residential and commercial clients, cabinet painting, and deck staining in cities across St. Charles County, St. Louis County, Jefferson County, and Franklin County.

We also have the HBP Promise, where our #1 priority is to provide you with the best experience from a painting company.

The HBP Promise

We offer free in-office estimates!