Not many colors survive the test of time as well as black. It’s a flexible color that pairs well with just about any style, and because it’s such a classic, it won’t look dated a few years down the road. There are lots of black paint options on the market today, but Sherwin-Williams Tricorn Black 6258 is unquestionably one of the most popular. This versatile, balanced color is a rich black that works well with just about any color palette.
What is the “Undertone” of Tricorn Black?
“Undertone” is a tricky word when it comes to paint color, mostly because it’s referring to a subjective opinion based on lighting and context. When we scientifically evaluate a paint color, though, we examine three characteristics: hue, chroma, and value. These characteristics are known as spectral data. Spectral data is not subjective or based on opinion; it can be objectively and scientifically calculated using colorimeters and photospectrometers. Understanding a color’s spectral data can help us accurately predict how it will render on the wall.
Hue, or hue family, refers to the area where a particular color lives on the color wheel (red, yellow, blue, green, etc.). All colors, even the ones that seem to be neutral, belong to a hue family. (It’s sometimes just a lot harder to see on whites, blacks, and grays).
If we look at Tricorn Black’s LCh* spectral data, we can see that it has a hue angle of about 281°, putting it in the Purple-Blue hue family. Chroma, a measure of a paint color’s vividness or saturation, is also very low (only 0.7) for Tricorn Black. So even though SW Tricorn Black is part of the Purple-Blue family, it has almost no discernible hue (or what some people refer to as “undertone.”) This makes it a great choice for pairing with almost any color palette. It’s also why many designers refer to this color as a “true black.”
What is the LRV of Tricorn Black?
Light Reflectance Value (LRV) is a measure of how much light a paint reflects back into a room, with 100% being highly reflective and zero being not reflective at all. With an LRV of only 3, Tricorn Black is one of the darkest paint colors on the market. In fact, according to Jackie Jordan, director of color marketing for Sherwin-Williams, Tricorn Black is “definitely our blackest black, a really rich, deep perfect black.”
It’s important to remember the way a color is perceived in any space is highly influenced by the lighting and surrounding environment. Because Tricorn Black absorbs so much of the light thrown at it, you may not notice the effects of your lighting as strongly as you would with a lighter-colored paint. Be sure to always use light bulbs in the 3000 K to 3500 K color range for best results. When it comes to exterior light, remember that the quality of light changes throughout the day as the sun moves. Be sure to view a sample of this color on all walls and in a variety of artificial and natural light before using it.
You must sample this color in the space you intend to use it before you start putting it on your walls, cabinets, or trim! (We mail 8″ x 10″ paint swatches of our recommendations to our Virtual Color Consultation clients.)
What White Goes With Tricorn Black?
This black paint color is truly so neutral that it looks great paired with any white paint color. If you’re looking for a good starting point, check out our six favorite white paints to use for home staging.
What Other Paint Colors Coordinate With Tricorn Black?
Tricorn Black is incredibly versatile and will work with almost any color you pair it with. We’ve put together a sample Tricorn Black color palette below just for fun and to give you a visual of what coordinating colors might look like. Use what inspires you!
Is Tricorn Black a Good Cabinet Color?
Yes! Seriously, this color goes with just about everything and is as timeless as a little black dress. Painting your kitchen island a different color from the main cabinets is a great way to ground your space and create a unique focal point. Black cabinets can also be a great way to tie in black appliances if you aren’t ready to switch to white or stainless steel.
Is Tricorn Black a Good Exterior Paint Color?
Tricorn Black looks amazing on home exteriors, but we wouldn’t recommend using it on broad surfaces because it absorbs so much light. On large expanses, it can feel a bit overwhelming and actually diminish certain architectural details. However, when paired with lighter colors or big swatches of neutral colors, it can make certain features really pop!
The shutter color is SW6258 Tricorn Black, the trim is SW7004 Snowbound, and the brick is Benjamin Moore Sandy Hook Gray.
Using Tricorn Black on accents and textured details, like a front door, trim, shutters, or a garage door, helps give a structure a little more dimension, drama, and depth. We think it looks especially pretty paired with brick, stone, and natural wood.
The body of this home is Sherwin-Williams Dover White, and the garage doors are Sherwin-Williams Tricorn Black.
Remember, lower LRV colors, like Tricorn Black, tend to fade a lot faster in the sun compared to higher LRV colors. That’s worth considering if you have a southwest-facing front door in a southern US climate and don’t want to re-paint it very often. Again, view paper samples on the exterior wall prior to painting.
Front door and shutters in Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black. All other trim in Benjamin Moore Pure White.
What Other Paint Colors are Similar to Tricorn Black?
I never, ever recommend color-matching between different brands. You cannot color match between brands and expect to get identical results. But if you’re looking for something similar to Tricorn Black in another brand, there are options. Based on their spectral data, these colors are pretty comparable to Tricorn Black:
- Benjamin Moore Black Tar 2126-10
- Benjamin Moore Twilight Zone 2127-10
- Behr PPU18-20 Broadway
- PPG 1011-7 Onyx
- Kelley-Moore KMA87-5 Stiletto
How does Tricorn Black compare to other black Sherwin-Williams paint colors?
Besides Tricorn Black, Sherwin-Williams has a few other popular black paints available.
Tricorn Black vs Black Magic
SW Black Magic 6991 also has an LRV of 3. Its hue angle is .001° putting it right on the border of the Red-Purple and Red hue families. Consequently, it might look slightly warmer compared to Tricorn Black, but this subtlety may be difficult for the untrained eye to detect. It’s still considered a “true black” with very little discernible undertone.
Tricorn Black vs Caviar
SW Caviar 6990 is also considered a “true black” and has an LRV of 3. It has a hue angle of 332.9°, on the line between the Purple and Red-Purple families. This gives it a slightly earthier, brownish tone by comparison, but again, it’s still pretty black. Caviar looks especially nice paired with taupes and browns.
Tricorn Black vs Iron Ore and other softer charcoal colors
SW Iron Ore 7069 is in the Green-Yellow hue family. With an LRV of 6, it feels a bit softer and less intense than Tricorn Black. It’s also a bit more vulnerable to the effects of its lighting and its surroundings. Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron 2124-10 (LRV 6) is in the Purple-Blue hue family, but similarly soft by comparison. SW Peppercorn 7674 is in the Purple hue family and has an LRV of 10, making it much lighter than the other charcoal paint colors.
If you’re going for a more monochromatic exterior look, we’d recommend using Iron Ore or another lighter charcoal shade on the larger surfaces and accentuating the architectural details in a glossy finish Tricorn Black for drama and dimension.
Need Help Choosing a Color?
Need help finding the right paint color? Order a Virtual Color Consultation Report from the color professionals at Three Bears Home Staging to get a custom, curated palette and guidance for your next painting project.
One Room Paint Color Report | Virtual
Need help choosing the best paint colors for your room? Then this is the (virtual) service for you! Based on your questionnaire responses and uploaded photos, we’ll create a personalized digital Paint Color Report just for you. We’ll also send you paint swatches! Click below to learn how it works or to get started!
Exterior Paint Color Report | Virtual
Ready to give your home exterior a fresh new look, but feeling overwhelmed with the decision? Get a little virtual help from the color experts at Three Bears Home Staging! Based on your questionnaire responses and uploaded photos, we’ll create a personalized digital Paint Color Report just for your home’s exterior. We’ll also send you paint swatches! Read below to learn how it works…