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Looking up at a wall of windows next to a wall of VintageWood fiber cement siding from Nichiha surrounded by palm trees and tropical plants.
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7 Exciting Commercial Exterior Trends You Need to Know About for 2022

Last year was a tough year for many businesses, as public health mandates saw customers sheltering-in-place instead of out shopping. But what may be a challenge can also present an opportunity — many businesses took the chance to rethink traffic flow through their buildings and even revamp the commercial design of their operations while physical stores were closed.

Commercial Building Exterior Updates Post Pandemic

The updates to storefronts and commercial properties are varied, but high-quality building materials and durability are the base for all exterior improvements. The looks range, of course, from colorful to serene from sleek to cozy, but some distinct trends in commercial real estate emerged.

Architectural wall panels and other fiber cement products from Nichiha are the perfect fit for incorporating these trends into a variety of commercial projects. We've gathered some of the biggest commercial exterior trends business owners have developed for 2022.

1. Outdoor Space

A ground-floor look at the back patio of a hotel, featuring wood pergolas, orange umbrellas and brown wooden patio furniture. People are highly adaptable, so when they hear the same message over and over for more than a year, it starts to become part of their inner workings going forward. This is definitely the case for social distancing.

Businesses are responding to the increased need for personal space by ramping up their outdoor presence. Decks and rooftop gardens are all the rage, particularly in restaurants. They also offer a benefit in the form of added amenity space for office buildings and more patio space at hotels. Contemporary patio furniture has upped the ante and looks like it could belong in any chic living room, so patrons can get comfy and enjoy the fresh air in style.

2. Windows Galore

Exterior view of a modern commercial building with a mix of brick and wood siding showcasing multiple large windows.

An image of the Paul Bunyan Communications building from the front, showcasing black Miraia and VintageWood fiber cement siding next to large vertical windows.Call it what you will, but cabin fever from all that time indoors has made views of the outdoors more important than ever. Bright spaces with all kinds of natural light are very popular this year, and businesses are responding with the biggest windows possible. 

Full glass walls are being seen in some buildings, while others are using glass for semi-permanent partitions between two areas. Frameless glass panels that pivot provide a great multifunctional tool for great views on cooler days or open-air spaces when the weather’s fair.

3. Natural Elements and Earthy Tones

A commercial space (shops and apartment building) featuring an exterior building design with fiber cement siding that’s highlighted by wood and earth tones.

As people yearn for wide-open spaces, they’re choosing colors and textures that remind them of mother nature. That’s why rusty reds, natural beiges and moody greens are making their way into the exterior finishes on commercial buildings.

Wood and stone-look surfaces are big too, especially mixed and matched to make an interesting modern twist on a design classic. 

4. A Homey Feel

An image of the drive-up front of a medical building with VintageWood lap siding and stone pillars supporting a drive-thru canopy.

Looking up at a wall of windows next to a wall of VintageWood fiber cement siding from Nichiha surrounded by palm trees and tropical plants.

Hospitals and other institutions are learning that how a patient feels can be critical to medical outcomes, so aesthetic appeal and interior design are overtaking that clinical look for hospitals in particular. Indoor spaces are seeing warmer colors, including copper and bronze hues, along with private waiting rooms and built-to-use spaces. Outside, welcoming architecture and warm exteriors that remind patients of home are very big for 2021 and into 2022.

5. Low Maintenance

An upwards view of blue shake fiber cement siding, white and black iron balconies and light brick pillars.

While business owners are aiming for earthy and homey aesthetics, commercial buildings still need quality craftsmanship to stand up to the elements without immense upkeep costs. Painted wood shake is all the rage right now, but wood can crack or warp when subjected to the elements or suffer infestation from pests such as termites, carpenter bees and woodpeckers. 

More versatile and long-lasting coverings like fiber cement panels are making waves in the design world because they can give the wood look without high overhead costs. Fiber cement cladding also involves less mess than brick and less upkeep than wood.

6. A Custom Look

A far view of a bright blue school building, featuring three shades of blue from light to dark behind a flag pole flying the American flag.

Looking at the exterior entryway featuring an ombre of yellow fiber cement siding from white at the top fading to dark yellow at the bottom.

One thing 2022 will hate is a cookie-cutter appearance. Hotels, schools and restaurants are looking to stand out from the pack with their own palettes and unique designs. Just about anything designers can dream up is possible when they can mix and match textures and hues. 

Fiber cement panels come in custom colors and designs that result in truly one-of-a-kind buildings.

7. Balance the Warm and the Sleek

The side entrance of an office building, with large windows surrounding the door next to VintageWood and Illumination siding in shades of tan.

A sidelong view of the front of Gabberts retail store, showcasing the black reflective Miraia fiber cement siding and large vertical glass windows surrounded by stone cladding.

There’s a fine balance to strike between the classic and the modern, and today’s commercial exteriors are achieving it with a mix of sleek and rustic finishes. Stone look panels are offset with bold colors, and wood is balanced with glossy black to create a look that’s both warm and current. 

The result is a modern look without appearing off-putting or edgy.

What’s Your Style?

We’re at a pivotal point in architectural history where the impacts of a global pandemic have forever altered the way we live, work and play in the buildings we inhabit. These pivots are going to be visible in 2022 and long into the future. Luckily, though, all these fiber cement panels can be specified to adapt to almost any style, configuration, color or texture required. If you can dream it, Nichiha can help you achieve it. 

Compare the prices of traditional materials with fiber cement using Nichiha’s cost estimator and materials calculator.


Know a building that could use a revamp for the post-pandemic era? Check out all the possibilities, or call a Nichiha rep to get started.
Categories: Trends

Commercial Exterior Trends for 2022

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