Best Black Paint Colors for Interior & Exterior

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Look no further for that perfect black paint as I’ve rounded up the best black paint colors for your home that are perfect inside or out! After much personal trial and error, and several samples of black paint, I narrowed down a list of favorites to share with you.

When we realized we were moving to a property in Tennessee, that had a barn in our backyard, I knew I wanted to go dark. Growing up in New England I have seen my share of lovely old antique barns and the black barns were among my favorite. Although I LOVE a classic white barn it would have been very hard to keep it clean with all the trees. We live more rural now, if we were surrounded with more concrete, perhaps I would have gone with a white or a gray, but painting the barn black was a the best choice. I LOVE IT!!!

Dark exteriors are all the rage and I think they are gorgeous! While I’m not sure I am ready to paint our main house all black I knew I could commit to an all black barn guest house, workshop and woodshed and compliment the main house with black shutters to tie the properties together.

The issue – black can be very difficult to select just the right shade. Black paint can look too blue, too green or too grey and lighting has a lot to do with it. Every color will look differently on every house in every lighting, but hopefully these black paint colors will serve as major inspiration for you and point you in the right direction.

collage of popular black paint color swatches

Black Paint – Barn Inspiration

This black paint post came about because we needed to find the right black paint color for our barn and I thought it might help to share what we discovered. We knew we wanted to go a shade of black but as stated previously, the right shade of black paint can be hard to nail down. They can be too light, too dark, too blue, too green…we tried several, but before we get into the paints I wanted to share some black barn inspiration photos with you.

When I saw a black barn in person I took a picture of it and have a couple to share with you. I do not know what color black are on these barns, but they inspired my black barn journey.

Keep reading to see which shade of black we chose out of the twelve listed here. We tested seven of the twelve shades and finally came up with a winner.

Black barn with gray roof, gravel driveway, barn lights and truck parked in front of garage doors
black barn next to trees and fence

Front and back picture of black barn in downtown Clifton, VA

black barn with stone front

The lovely barn at Tranquility Farm in Loudon County, VA

Why Black Paint?

Black is the epitome of style! It’s so timeless and elegant. Think “Little Black Dress” for your walls; it doesn’t need anything else to dress it up.

A black exterior is a striking choice for any home style. It’s authoritative, bold, and a classic. It’s impossible not to make a statement with a black exterior.

Black exterior paint adds drama and depth and makes a strong visual statement. Black paint is great at highlighting architectural design while also complementing its outdoor spaces.

Equally a room that has black interior walls is also bold while still being classic. While we didn’t paint any interior walls black, any of these colors could be used for your interior as well and would look amazing

Black Barn with garage door on a winter day with sun setting next to the barn

Black Paint Light Reflective Value (LRV)

Before we dive into the colors let’s talk technical shall we? Paint has something called Light Reflective Value or LRV. What may help you in determining the best black for your space is to consider the Light Reflectance Value number or LRV.

A color’s Light Reflectance Value (LRV) measures the amount of visible and usable light that reflects from (or absorbs into) a painted surface. Simply put, LRV measures the percentage of light a paint color reflects.
Diamond Vogel

On a scale of 0-100, true black is zero and pure white is 100. So the closer to 0 will show how dark the color is and the farther you move away from 0, will show how much white is added to the black.

You’ll be able to look at the LRV number for any paint color and see that the higher the number, the lighter the color. I do have the LVR’s listed for each paint that I explain so you can use that to base how dark or how light any of these shades truly are. Let’s dive into the paint colors shall we?

black barn with copper gooseneck lights, potted tree by the door and a bicycle propped up next to the building

Black Barn | Source

Test Black Paint Colors

Black paint can really enhance and transform a space, however it can also be quite intimidating. Testing black hues is very important.

Before you commit to painting your entire exterior black, I strongly suggest you test each and every color you are considering. Do not just read this article (or any other) and select a color from the list and go about painting. You will likely be disappointed. I read all about black paint colors, researched how they would look, but it wasn’t until I tested them until I knew exactly what color to chose.

I tested seven colors on the black color wheel and each of them were very different and not quite what I expected. They looked drastically different than what I thought they would.

Decide whether you want a warm black or a cool black paint color or perhaps you just want the most neutral, true deep black that you can find. Here are 12 black paints to get you going.

different shades of black painted on wood barn
three different shades of black paint on top of brown painted barn

12 Black Paints to Chose From

1. Benjamin Moore Soot (LVR 4.11)

This one is often recommended because it is a perfect grey black. It’s more of a warm charcoal instead of a straight black. Soot is a rich black color with cool blue undertones. It makes a statement all on its own, yet pairs perfectly with white as a pop. This is a cooler black.

Benjamin Moore Black Paint Swatch Soot BM 2129-20

Benjamin Moore Soot BM 2129-20

2. Valspar Ebony Field (LVR 6.194)

Ebony Field is a deep, dark black with a charcoal influence and looks great on exteriors. One of our Instagram followers suggested we try this color and we did give it a chance.

building painted with Valspar Ebony Field.

Valspar Ebony Field | Source

3. Benjamin Moore Nightfall (LVR 6.36)

Nightfall is more of a blackened gray taking its color from the night sky. This one looks great with warmer wood.

Benjamin Moore Nightfall swatch BM 1596

Benjamin Moore Nightfall BM 1596

4. Benjamin Moore Black Beauty (LVR 3.26)

After testing eight colors I did not get around to testing Black Beauty. It is very similar to Onyx but not as dark since it has a higher LVR. This is a lovely shade of black and a great go to black color.

Benjamin Moore Black Beauty BM 2128-10

5. Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black (LVR 3)

This black paint color rivals BM Black Beauty and Onyx. Tricorn Black is a neutral color that is void of any undertones! It is for all intents and purposes and quite lovely. This color is pure, refined, and unblended.

Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black SW 6258

Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black SW 6258

6. Sherwin Williams Peppercorn (LVR 10)

This black color is loaded with depth and character. Peppercorn is a lighter black since it is a 10 on the LVR scale; this is the second lightest black on the list. This is a gorgeous color both inside and out if you are looking for a lighter shade of black.

Sherwin Williams Peppercorn swatch SW 7674

Sherwin Williams Peppercorn SW 7674

7. Sherwin Williams Iron Ore (LVR 6)

Iron Ore is similar to BM Wrought Iron so we didn’t test it. It is a tried and true color and used a lot for interiors and exteriors alike. It is a dark, inky, charcoal gray paint color that I truly love.

Sherwin Williams Iron Ore SW 7069 Swatch

Sherwin Williams Iron Ore SW 7069

8. Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal (LVR 12.96)

Kendall Charcoal HC166 is a versatile neutral, it also works well with most color schemes. It can feel green or gray in different lights and to me it’s a bit of a chameleon and changes colors with different lighting situations. This color is rich and deep without being too dark as it is the lightest color in our line up in this post. Kendall Charcoal is a great shade and was in our dining room when we moved into our home.

Dining room with dark walls, long table, cane chairs with chandelier and windows along the wall

9. Benjamin Moore Graphite (LVR 5.66)

Graphite is part of the Classic Color Collection and is a near neutral color from the Blue Hue Family. It has very little color to it at all, but you may sense blueness but it’s not because of its blue undertones – its certain lighting.

Benjamin Moore Graphite  Swatch BM 1603

Benjamin Moore Graphite 1603

10. Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron (LVR 6.16)

Meet Wrought Iron. This dark shade of blue-black is a worry-free workhorse for about any space. You may see this one categorized as a dark grey too. It really is a muted version of black and really not harsh whatsoever.

Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron Swatch BM 2124-10

Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron BM 2124-10

11. Benjamin Moore Mopboard Black (LVR 4.27)

Mopboard Black CW 680 is one of the most stunning black colors that Benjamin Moore has to offer. It is refined, sophisticated, and the model for elegance. We used Mopboard Black on the interior front and back door of our Virginia house and liked the touch of black that wasn’t too stark.

Living room overlooking deck with door painted black.

12. Benjamin Moore Onyx (LVR 2.9)

Onyx BM 2133-10 by Benjamin Moore is a fan favorite for good reason. It is a dark black with little or no undertones which is a huge plus! Onyx has smooth hues with undertones that are warmer compared to other black paint colors.

Black barn with stone foundation, two car garage and gray metal roof surrounded by trees
Black barn with door, silver barn light hanging above with stone foundation
Black painted barn with gray roof and flags on either side of barn doors

Final Thoughts on Black Paint

If you are looking to add some drama and elegance to your space, either inside or out, then reach for a black paint color and take a walk on the wild side. Any of these 12 shades would be perfect inside or out, but don’t take my word for it; grab some sample cans and test them first.

They will each look differently inside as opposed to outside and even differently on various interior walls. Keep in mind lighting plays a huge role when choosing any paint color but think it can be more tricky especially when working with black.

So…would you ever paint your house, room or an accent wall black? Would love to know your thoughts on this bold and dramatic hue!

We can’t wait to get started on our barn and shop painting projects and see our space come to life.

Happy Painting and Decorating friends! Stay tuned for our black painted barn; it’s being worked on right now!

collage of popular black paint color swatches


Best Black Paint Colors for Interior & Exterior

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