Updating the paint on your building’s exterior can be a challenge for the small business owner. You want to show you’re riding the trends, but you’re afraid of shelling out a lot of money for a brilliant and bold effort that turns out to be a mistake.

Paint companies are dispensing lots of advice these days on choosing colors for commercial and residential buildings. They warn us that generations are driving paint choices, as with so many other aspects of our lives. Is your business oriented toward an older customer? You’re probably safe with grays and beiges, or “greiges” as some call these neutral shades. But then, you don’t want to be too stodgy, turning off Millennials or even Gen Zers, so you decide to add a splash of one of the colors the paint company says the younger generation favors. For instance, millennials are said to like soft greens, sand and “complex” grays for calming the mind, as well as botanical hues that bring nature to the indoors.

Oceanside, Sherwin-Williams’ 2018 color of the year, is a blue that the marketers described as evoking our current penchant for wanderlust (think dreamy ocean scapes and endless sky) but “pops” of fuchsia and peacock were also allowed in the same color scheme. Meanwhile, to lure Gen Z, said to be embracers of technology, convenience and innovation, the company recommended violet, bright orange, watery blue and something known as Gen Z Yellow.

Can you picture painting your business a subdued sand or greige, but going wild on the trim or the garage door with Gen Z Yellow or Peacock? That’s a trend we’re seeing in home exteriors: painting the house a neutral color, such as a greige, but then making things pop with the trim or garage door in a much brighter, eye-catching hue, such as orange or bright green. You can apply this concept to your commercial building as well. For instance, whites and neutrals continue to be trendy, but often these subdued shades are paired with bolder, more futuristic tones such as bright yellow or fiery orange.

Want to send a calming message in your commercial neighborhood? Contact one of the paint manufacturers and ask about calming blues, preferably shades that evoke water and tranquility. The experts may well recommend serene aqua mint and sky blue as the hues to use.

Of course, your choice of colors may be limited by your corporate brand, by neighborhood restrictions or other issues. Nevertheless, you want your color scheme to “recharge and refocus,” as a color expert with Sherwin Williams admonishes. You don’t want to jar or offend, but you do want your colors to bring your building into the 21st century, so that your business doesn’t look dated.

Where to start in your journey to update? Hiring a consultant is always a good idea. Students are graduating with degrees in color, going on to work for paint manufacturers and in various industries, developing some pretty advanced research on how people respond to color in the marketplace, in offices, and in residential dwellings. Color consultants may be able to guide you as you seek to integrate your building’s exterior colors into your overall marketing strategy.

But if you’d rather go it alone, you can study paint manufacturers’ collections and curated palettes. Often their digital tools will let you upload photos of your business and try different color schemes.