Commercial building designs are breaking away from the traditionally bland corporate style. Industry professionals have more room for individuality when decorating, which also means they have higher expectations from the public.
Here are six smart ways business leaders can enhance the exterior of their commercial properties and make a strong first impression.
1. Spruce Up the Landscaping
Landscaping conditions are one of the first things people notice when approaching a building. Commercial property owners must complete these non-negotiable maintenance responsibilities to keep their landscaping looking fresh:
- Make sure the lawn drains properly.
- Establish a consistent watering schedule.
- Aerate the grass at least once a year.
- Become familiar with the area’s most common weeds and pests.
- Choose the right grass species for the local climate and keep the length between 2 ½ and 3 inches.
To boost the landscaping’s visual appeal, add eye-catching trees, bushes and flowers that complement the building’s style and color scheme. Here are some common plants used in commercial spaces:
- Japanese maples
- Dwarf Alberta spruces
These plants share a few qualities. They’re low-maintenance and durable, thriving in a variety of climates. None of the species are invasive, so they won’t become overgrown or dominate the property. The tallest Alberta spruces and Japanese maples are only about 13–15 feet and they’re easy to prune. The proportions are ideal for commercial buildings.
Their colors also go through drastic changes throughout the year. Japanese maples are red in the summer, turn white in the spring and remain a burnt orange in the fall and winter. Roses, daisies and hostas come in an assortment of shades, making them highly versatile for design purposes.
2. Add Easy-to-Read Signage
Commercial buildings must have readable signage to help guests navigate the property. Put up traffic signs and directions toward the different entrances. Make sure the accessible parking spots and other assigned parking spaces are clearly identifiable.
The most crucial factor is the proper utilization of colors. Colors have different psychological effects that influence how people respond to the sign’s message. These are the traditional functions of each sign color:
- Red: life-threatening dangers and emergencies
- Yellow: warnings and precautionary instructions
- Green: directions to different rooms or resources, emergency procedures
- Blue: obligatory instructions and information for specific employees or guests
Wash the signs regularly so the text and colors stand out. Ensure they have enough light exposure so guests can read them at night. These small efforts play a significant role in preventing confusion and accidents.
3. Establish a Centerpiece
Every successful commercial space has a memorable centerpiece that greets people as they enter. Large company logos and statues are two common attractions, but they don’t serve any functional purpose. Using artwork is also risky because it can draw negative attention and give the building a poor reputation.
Architectural clocks contribute to the design and functionality of a building’s exterior. They’re also highly versatile, coming in many styles and fitting with various commercial spaces. You can find numerous examples of architectural clocks at office buildings, athletic stadiums, churches, education centers and more. Take a look at some examples before deciding.
4. Provide Ample Visibility
Strong lighting makes people feel secure and highlights the building’s other features. Commercial properties must provide ample visibility to help workers and guests get around safely. These fixtures are the most stylish and practical for commercial buildings:
- Lampstands: Lampstands give structure and symmetry to outdoor spaces and provide strong downlighting on high-traffic intersections or entrances.
- Path lights: Path lights make walkways clearly visible and blend seamlessly with the rest of the landscape.
- String lights: LED string lights have exploded in popularity in commercial spaces. They’re durable, energy-efficient and easy to relocate if necessary.
- Canopy lights: Canopy lights are the go-to fixtures for businesses with expansive outdoor landscapes or parking areas, such as gas stations, athletic stadiums and large retail outlets.
- Flood lights: Flood lights are primarily for security purposes, but they’re also helpful for nighttime illumination. If the building has a nighttime operation schedule, flood lights will keep the area bright.
Incorporating different types of fixtures also makes the building look more sophisticated and professional. Guests will notice and appreciate the attention to detail, especially at night. A bright and welcoming exterior will help team members and customers feel comfortable on the property.
5. Upgrade the Entrance Doors
Commercial buildings can go in many different directions with their entrance doors. Wood, aluminum, galvanized steel, glass and hollow metal are common materials. The most appropriate material depends on many factors, including the local climate, the building’s security needs and the property’s design.
Glass doors are by far the best option for the building’s main entrance. They enable customers to see inside before entering and fill the lobby with more natural light, which will improve their mood and overall experience. Tempered glass is the perfect material because it can withstand blunt force attacks and harsh weather conditions better than regular glass.
The door’s style is another factor to consider. Entrance doors should always be pull doors, not push doors. To avoid causing confusion or damage, many commercial buildings install automatic or revolving doors that do the work for them. In any case, the glass must stay clean and smudge-free to maintain a professional appearance.
6. Provide an Outdoor Hangout Space
Every commercial space should have at least one outdoor refuge for employees and guests. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. A small courtyard, pavilion or pergola with tables and benches is more than enough. This area serves two equally important purposes — provide staff with an alternative break area and provide guests with outdoor seating while they wait.
Regardless of who uses the space, it offers an escape from the indoors and allows people to enjoy the sights and sounds of the surrounding environment. Getting a brief taste of nature will brighten their moods and make their days a little bit better.
Aim to establish this hangout area away from the building’s parking lot and main entrance. These high-traffic areas would make the space too loud. If possible, make the area in a secluded part of the property with only the sounds of nature in earshot. Consider adding bird feeders or a small fountain to attract wildlife and make the space more immersive.
Show Some Personality
The commercial buildings of generations past were strictly about business. They had a uniform design meant to evoke competence and professionalism. These qualities are still important, but professionalism and personality don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Commercial property owners can design their buildings with class and creativity with these six design principles.