The harsh southwestern sun makes it challenging to sustain the paint condition of the exterior of home and commercial buildings. An additional challenge is presented when Home Owners Associations dictate the color palette a home owner may choose their paint colors from.
In the desert southwest, a look at new or recently re-furbished commercial properties (condominiums, apartment complexes, shopping centers) will illustrate the move away from the lighter desert tones TO more vibrant, saturated colors that make a visual design statement and stand up to the harsh environment better. A trip to any of the new home developments reveal a greater choice of more exciting color options.
Color can be used to highlight or downplay your home or building architectural details (or lack there of). For example, painting the eaves and fascia the same color as the walls will make a short building look taller, while painting them the same color as the roof will make a tall building look shorter. Columns, pop-out window details or trim can be highlighted with accent color to draw the eye towards them.
It is crucial not to forget the larger environment in which the building stands. While you want to stand out, you must also fit in. The goal is to fit in to your environment, but also get noticed. Color choices will convey an unspoken message. Ask yourself the following questions:
What are these colors communicating to my customers / neighbors?
Do these colors communicate elegance? friendship? safety? a specific cultural tone?
Robert Shapario, the executive director for Color Guild, says the main colors emerging in commercial buildings over the next year include warm and rich browns, earthy oranges, bright yellows, conservative reds, true blues and mid-tone to light grays. For the individual home owner, rich brown / red tones and muted greens also fit in the palette.