Part 2: How to Select an Exterior Paint Scheme for Your Multifamily Property

Choosing the right exterior paint color scheme not only provides an updated, fresh look to your property but will also help drive traffic to your leasing office by enhancing the curb appeal and giving your property a pop that competitors may not have.  In Part 1 of this series, we discussed the essential factors to consider when painting the exterior of your multifamily property (like your demographic, competitors and building types to name a few), now we’re exploring how to go about choosing the right color scheme for your property.

Consider the Surface that will be Painted  

The type of surface you plan to paint will determine the type of paint you will need to use. Is the surface wood? Masonite? Vinyl? Aluminum? Brick? Depending on what material the surface is made up of, you will have to choose accordingly to enhance the appearance of the paint color on that surface, and also to avoid any deterioration of the paint or materials over time. The same exact paint color will look very different on different surface types.

Make sure to refer to your contractors and paint suppliers as experts in choosing the correct paint type for each specific surface.

Factor in Other Property Elements  

When choosing paint colors, factor in existing or new landscaping in your color palette.  You will want to choose colors that complement the landscaping rather than clash to create a cohesive, harmonious look.

If you have vibrant, bright colored flowers, you will want to choose a more neutral paint scheme with complimentary colors. A palette like our Pebbles & Ash color scheme would work well.

For a more natural setting of green, you can pick something with a little more pop to it like our Perfect Oasis color scheme

Your roof, chimneys, and parking lot are all areas that will not be painted but should definitely play a role in your color choices. For exteriors that are partial stone, choose a color that will enhance this feature and create harmony. 

For exteriors that are partial brick, you may want to consider painting the brick depending on the current condition and color of the brick. If you decide to not paint the brick, you will need to choose a color scheme that compliments the brick exterior as well.

Canyon Grove is a good example of a property where we had to tie in the existing brick siding as well as existing natural stone architectural accents with the new exterior color scheme. As you can see, the existing brick siding is a cool toned reddish brick with accent speckles of white and gray tones. The exterior of the leasing office/clubhouse has natural stone that is more warm toned but also has white and grays that we were able to enhance by choosing the right exterior color scheme. Being able to pull out the same hidden color tones in both the brick and the stone allowed us the tie everything together.

We decided to color block the paint job by alternating two different main siding colors by building. Color blocking is a great way to give some additional depth to an exterior paint scheme on a large property while showcasing two separate main body colors. I like to mix it up by alternating a bolder color with a more neutral color but with similar strength and intensity of color.

Fade Resistant Colors

Make sure you choose exterior paint colors that will fair well through weather and sun exposure. Dark colors, like red, may fade to pink and blacks to grays. Choosing the right colors as well as the type of paint used will allow for longer times between exterior paint jobs.


Always test the colors on the buildings before making a decision. I always create 3 color schemes and test 3 color schemes. Once they are approved, I have the contractors do “mockups” where they put the colors up on a large span of a building with each of the 3 schemes next to each other. This area of the building must have good lighting in order to properly view the colors and visualize the finished product. After the first round of mockups, it’s easier to make a decision on which color scheme(s) will look best for your property or make any necessary changes to the schemes if needed.

Brand Recommendation

When choosing exterior paint, I personally prefer to have our contractors purchase from Sherwin Williams. They have excellent customer service with responsive representatives in every city no matter how small the market, which many other paint suppliers like Glidden do not have. Sherwin Williams will also create paint renderings of the selected colors on the buildings at no additional cost. Another factor other suppliers like Benjamin Moore do not offer is an “affordable” line of paint that is conducive to larger exterior multifamily paint projects. Because of these factors, Sherwin Williams is always our go-to for exterior paints.

Taking the time to consider all the factors in choosing the right exterior color scheme is essential in successfully updating the exterior of your multifamily property. When done properly, a fresh, new look will help keep current residents longer as well as fill any vacant units much more quickly. If you are ready to update your color scheme but feel like you need a little help in choosing the right color palette for your property, please contact us today to schedule a consultation. 

Part 1: Essential Factors to Consider When Painting the Exterior of Your Multifamily Property

Painting the exterior of your multifamily property can bring a fresh clean look to your property and enhance aesthetic value while improving its curb appeal. A fresh paint job will hide imperfections and, if done properly, will also act as a protective measure against future weather damage. Choosing the right exterior paint color scheme will enhance the overall look and feel of the property, can highlight interesting architectural details while driving traffic to your leasing office. It may sound simple, but more often than not, it is a much more difficult task than you think. Several elements must be taken into consideration which must flow together in order to create that “pop” that separates your property from the rest of the pack.

Lifestyle & Demographic

What is the demographic of the current tenant base and which lifestyle are you trying to portray to the future tenant base as you transform your property? Consider your neighborhood and the lifestyle you are presenting to your residents. A bright, funky colored building may appeal to a more urban millennial demographic, whereas a traditional neutral color scheme may attract an older demographic. 

Competitors (submarket)

What do the neighboring competing properties in the submarket look like? Have they re-painted or renovated their amenities recently or do they plan to? Consider how you differ from those properties to help you create a scheme that will help you stand out from the pack and create interest in the people driving by the property every day.

Modern Gem Design :: Essential Factors to Consider When Painting the Exterior of Your Multifamily Property
Modern Gem Design :: Essential Factors to Consider When Painting the Exterior of Your Multifamily Property
Modern Gem Design :: Essential Factors to Consider When Painting the Exterior of Your Multifamily Property

Condition of Existing Surface Materials

What surface materials are you working with for siding, trim, railings, and doors? Wood, aluminum, brick, masonite, vinyl? Will any of these surface materials be replaced before the painting begins? If you come across damage due to rotting or deterioration of the buildings, those areas must be replaced before painting. If you don’t replace it and simply paint over it, these areas will turn into more serious issues down the road that will be costly.

Analyze the buildings with great detail

Analyze the entire property and get a feel for buildings relationship to the other elements and amenities on the property.

  • How many building types are there? Each building type has different architectural elements. Each of these elements need to have a paint color tied to it, and to be cohesive with the other building types.
  • Roofs. What color is the roof? Will the roof shingles be replaced? The color MUST coincide with the color of the roof or else it just doesn’t look cohesive. Sometimes you have to sacrifice ideal style and color preference so that it works with the roofs.

Your roof, chimney, and parking lot are all areas that will not be painted but should play a role in your color choices. 


When choosing paint colors factor in existing landscaping in your color palette. If you have vibrant, bright colored flowers or a natural setting of green, choose colors that will complement them. 

Use an experienced and reliable contractor

Find a contractor that has excellent experience with all aspects of painting apartment communities including materials, proper prepping, paint type for building materials, weather restrictions, and time of year to paint (October and late Spring before Summer are best) when it’s not super hot, when it is dry (no rain, snow, or excessive heat)

Feedback from Staff & Residents

Get feedback and approval from onsite staff and residents. How will the change in your community translate to the people who live and work there? There may be times where if you do not seek out opinions from residents and they don’t like it, they may move out. On the flip side, if they do like it, they get excited and spread the exciting news to friends and family.

As you can see there are numerous factors to consider when choosing a new exterior paint scheme for your multifamily property. However, once you consider all of these factors and choose the right color scheme for your property will help provide a fresh, clean look for your property and help improve the quality of life for your tenants. If you are considering updating the exterior paint of your multifamily property and would like some professional help, please contact us for a consultation today!