The Psychology of Color and Exterior Design

It is probably not surprising that I am fascinated by the psychology of color. My company, Color Design Development Group, LLC, is dedicated to the art of choosing great exterior paint color for commercial properties, so my interest is obvious.  But do you know just how greatly color, and color alone, can influence mood, feelings, and buying decisions? Marketers do! Color is an incredibly important part of branding and plays into everything from packaging to signage and website design.

For example, blue creates sensations of trust and security while yellow conveys optimism and youth. Purple is soothing and calm while green is the easiest color for the eyes to process. White represents cleanliness and orange is decisive and invokes action.

When you combine color psychology with exterior design, the nuances become even more intricate despite the fact that the scale of the project becomes larger. Blending colors is an art form inside a home or office with controlled lighting and accessory choices. Move to the exterior where nature and neighboring properties play a role, the stakes are higher and good decisions are all the more difficult (and expensive) to make.

We all have driven by a house and thought, “Yikes! Did they choose that color?” It might be too dark, too light, or too bright. The undertones might read wrong against exterior influences or clash with the roof. As novice beholders of a given paint job, we probably do not consciously consider these intricacies or why we don’t like what we see – we just know we don’t like it!

Now, consider this same psychology of color on your prominent commercial building or your multifamily community located on a busy corner ideally suited for drive-by attention. The first thing I think about when redesigning an exterior facade is what impression does my client want to give and how can I not only improve the condition of the property, but also dress it up in a way that will resonate for the owner and prospective residents? Sure, you can skip the design element and go the easy route. Choose a neutral color and “whitewash”, for lack of a better word, your buildings. This approach might seem cost-effective and help you  avoid the “Oops” factor, but you are certainly giving up any opportunity for a “Wow” factor.

The appearance of your property increases its value in a myriad of ways. When my real estate agent pulled up in front of what would be my first home, I initially told him to drive away. There was no curb appeal, and all I could see was a lot of work to be done and nothing inviting whatsoever. Luckily, my Realtor convinced me to look past the exterior for all the great qualities on the inside, but I know for sure many buyers are simply not willing to be talked into such a project. They just pass on it all together and move on to the next one.

How many prospective tenants have driven by your property without giving it a second thought? Renters and business people want to be proud of their home or place of business. It is a fact that it is easier to lease, and at  higher rental rates, when the exterior is compelling and provides a strong first impression. Buyers and renters  alike are more often drawn to properties which are in good condition with excellent curb appeal. Your investment in exterior design is a smart part of your overall marketing strategy. Done right, it will greatly improve your ROI. A common reaction from my first time clients is “You were right Kimberly, I had no idea how much better this property could look.” That is the psychology of color in exterior design; difficult to imagine, but once in play, undeniably impactful.

Estates on Maryland (before)

Estates on Maryland (before)

Estates on Maryland (after) by Color Design, LLC

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