11 Black Paint Shades Interior Designers Use on Repeat

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When it comes to selecting a neutral paint color that’s versatile enough to transcend time and trend, white seems like the obvious choice. But over the past few years, designers have been proposing an unexpected alternative: black. Don’t let its dark and dreary reputation fool you: Black paint has the same enduring versatility as its lighter counterparts—not to mention it can give a space a dramatic edge. And applied within the right layout, a few fresh coats can make a room appear bright, airy, and shockingly spacious, making it a great choice for kitchens, powder rooms, and anywhere else that could use a little oomph.

But as the saying goes, beauty lies in the eye of the beholder—and black paint is no exception. With so many nuanced undertones available, selecting the right shade for a project is a decision that should not be taken lightly. So it’s no surprise that once a designer has found a shade that ticks off all the boxes, it becomes a go-to for all types of projects. For a trip to the dark side of the color spectrum, AD PRO spoke to 11 designers about their go-to noirs.

A Forbes + Masters–designed bedroom takes a sultry turn with black walls.

Photo: Forbes + Masters

Limousine Leather by Behr

Monet Masters and Tavia Forbes, Forbes + Masters

The great thing about Behr’s Limousine Leather is that it is a true black that does not carry any undertones of blues or browns.

Green kitchens are trending—but the black kitchen, like this one designed by Nina Magon, is here to stay.

Photo: Par Bengtsson

Black Magic by Sherwin-Williams

Nina Magon

Black Magic by Sherwin-Williams is a wonderful option if you are looking for a true black. This color is fantastic because it feels bold and crisp with a timeless and sophisticated edge. It really adds a bold dose of drama to any space you apply it in!

Another black kitchen, this time by Phillip Thomas, who prefers the hue Cheating Heart by Benjamin Moore.

Photo: Michael Mundy / Courtesy Phillip Thomas

Cheating Heart by Benjamin Moore

Phillip Thomas

Cheating Heart by Benjamin Moore is my all-time favorite. Not only is the name captivating, but the color is as well. Although it’s a very dark color, it is full of pigments that reflect and give off light, making even the smallest corners feel luminous and bright. In fact, I love this shade so much, I used it when designing my sister’s New York apartment.

An interior by Gioi Tran, where black is used strategically for a dynamic, graphic feel.

Photo: Christopher Stark

Off-Black by Farrow & Ball

Gioi Tran, Applegate Tran Interiors

We find that saturating a room in one color really enlarges the space—it prevents your eyes from catching the ceiling and walls as separate planes, and dividing the space geometrically (which can be jarring). The uniformity of covering all surfaces in one color translates the area into one cohesive environment.

For this project in Atherton, California, we painted the dining room in Farrow & Ball’s No. 57, Off-Black. This shade of black has just enough warmth to feel like a deep graphite and takes the color black into a warmer, richer, and more complex tone. Ceiling, trim, walls, and doors are painted in this one color, with the walls in modern emulsion and the trim and paneling in estate eggshell for a slight sheen.

A powder room by Breegan Jane proves that black bathrooms can feel glam when paired with the right accoutrements.

Photo: Ryan Garvin

Onyx Black by Glidden

Breegan Jane

I love Glidden’s Onyx Black because it’s so deep and moody. People think that painting something dark makes things seem smaller, but the opposite is true, actually.

Kelly Wearstler favors her own shade of black produced with Farrow & Ball, called Tar.

Photo: Trevor Tondro

Tar by Farrow & Ball

Kelly Wearstler


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