Our Top Picks for Dark Exterior Paint Colors

I am such a sucker for dark exteriors! I think a lot of people love the look but are scared to go that route, and understandably so. It’s a bold statement. Although we will not be brave enough to go completely dark on our new build exterior, we will probably go darker on the trim and siding of the new house.

Dark colors also work very well when contrasted with lighter colors. We will be doing a lighter color brick and darker siding with some wood and copper accents.

It’s important that before you choose your dark exterior paint color keep a few things in mind. If you are painting the entire exterior a darker color, it tends to look slightly darker in larger areas. So you may want to choose just a tad lighter when doing such an expansive area. Another little tip is that we recommend using a flat finish for the exterior. When using a sheen it tends to show more imperfections, especially in direct sunlight.

Sample Before You Paint

Before you invest money in gallons of paint, it’s extremely important that you sample several paint color options first. You can do it the old-fashioned way, which is time-consuming and messy. Or you can use Samplize to order large peel-and-stick paint samples with accurate color representation.

Here are our top contenders for dark exterior paint colors that we absolutely love. Now, choosing one for our exterior is going to be a challenge.

Benjamin Moore Iron Mountain

Credit: JHF Homes
Credit: Nicky Kehoe

Iron Mountain by Benjamin Moore is one of the top contenders for our new house. It is somewhat of a darker gray-brown. It is very warm and is another one I love seeing on the exterior of a home.

Sherwin Williams Black Magic

Credit: Rosewood Custom Builders

Black Magic by Sherwin Williams is normally seen on interior doors but also looks magnificent on the exterior. It is a soft black that looks great paired with stained wood.

Benjamin Moore Black Panther

Credit: Remodelista

Black Panther by Benjamin Moore is another soft black that looks great when used both on the interior and exterior.

Sherwin Williams Domino

Domino by Sherwin Williams is not pure black. It is a little softer with a touch of brown. I have noticed it is used a lot for exterior front doors and it looks amazing!

Sherwin Williams Iron Ore

Credit: Pam Sessions

I have to say I’m loving Iron Ore, but I also love the homes that Pam Sessions of Hedgewood Homes is designing, and she uses Iron Ore a lot. This is probably one of our favorite top contenders at this time. I would describe it as grayish-black. I love that it isn’t too dark, but at the same time appears to have navy undertones. Although, when using it on the exterior in direct sun it will appear a little lighter and even warm at times. My sister used Iron Ore on their garage this past year during their new build. It turned out amazing! They paired it with stone and wood accents.

Sherwin Williams Caviar

Caviar is another great one by Sherwin Williams. I would say it is more of a warmer soft black with subtle brown undertones. It is for sure an eye-catcher on the exterior.

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  • Reply Phyllis R Limiero

    We chose to paint our home with SW Gauntlet Gray with white trim and a bright blue front door. We love the look of the dark color and our gardens really shine against the gray.

    August 29, 2019 at 2:09 pm
    • Reply Brooke

      Hi Phyllis. I’m sure that looks amazing! That’s a great color as well.

      August 30, 2019 at 4:45 pm
      • Reply Karmen

        Hi Brooke, Is there a darker color that you think looks best with a brown roof? I’m really having a tough time trying to decide what will look the best.

        June 17, 2020 at 1:35 am
        • Reply Cris

          Hi Karmen. I am having a similar problem. Our large two-story home has a medium-brown color (I sometimes wonder if this would be easier with a darker brown up there). I’ve been using two online virtual-paint programs to preview colors on a photo of our home. I’ve almost settled on a main (field) color, after looking at different shades of dark-blue-gray and finding many of them look great with the roof. I think this may at least in part be because I love brown with blue. My favorite is SW 2739 Charcoal Blue. Unfortunately, my husband and my father have both said it’s a bit too dark (boo!). So I may be reaching out at my local Sherwin Williams store to find a color which is basically the same but a little lighter. I admit, I am starting to like SW 2740 Mineral Gray…as long as it isn’t going to end up looking too light on our big hulking house!

          August 22, 2020 at 4:13 pm
          • karmen

            I think we are going with wrought iron. Iron ore was a contender along with iron mountain. Trying to figure out if I go darker on trim or do all the same color. What did you decide?

            September 20, 2020 at 1:24 am
          • Nancy

            Raccoon Fur…Benjamin Moore

            October 14, 2020 at 12:23 pm
          • Lynn

            Hi Chris and Karen,
            My husband & I are working on our interior & painted the front door & master bed dresser with Wrought Iron. It’s a great color inside and out & shows well in all directions – NESW.
            I just happened to run across this article, curiously, as I’ve been a bit of an industrious home artist four times over now. Wrought Iron has a brown in its undertone & looks excellent with our wood furniture. It’s friendly with numerous whites, as well, and goes beautifully with many colors. Good luck with your homes!

            October 18, 2020 at 4:07 am
        • Reply Gina

          Karmen, Curious what color you decided on. I’ve been agonizing over this for months! Thanks!

          October 10, 2021 at 2:03 am
      • Reply Jay

        Is the color in the very top picture (triangular top – cottage feel) caviar? It almost has a slight green undertone.

        April 16, 2022 at 10:17 pm
  • Reply Sharolyn Schofield

    WoW! Perfect timing on this article…thanks! Just getting ready to choose colors for a teeny little 50’s style house in the woods…and it’s been hard to pick what really looks good from the paint samples! Thanks so much for the inspiration. -Sharolyn

    August 30, 2019 at 4:24 pm
    • Reply Brooke

      Hi Sharolyn. Thanks! Glad you found it helpful. Good luck on choosing your color.

      August 30, 2019 at 4:46 pm
    • Reply Lara

      I ran across your comment in this article. I too am trying to choose a paint color for a small 50’s farm house, a couple year after you. Trying to find a darker color,because my windows are light and I like contrast. I’m curious, what did you end up choosing? Thank you in advance 😊

      April 14, 2022 at 2:19 pm
  • Reply Danelle

    I love sw iron ore. But consider too sw urbane bronze. I have this paired in my home with Sherwin Williams Greek villa and its amazing. The contrast is just stunning and there is a hint of I would call gold that just gives it this amazing jewel deep deep deep dark Brown jewel tone. Everyone who looks in my home says it’s their favorite Room. And I think it would work just as well for exteriors. Bear in mind some of my trim like my stair well railing is painted iron ore

    January 19, 2020 at 6:16 pm
    • Reply Henry

      Hello Danelle! Yes, I love that color as well. It sounds like your home is very beautiful!

      January 20, 2020 at 3:12 pm
    • Reply Deanne Jimenez

      Thank you so much for the inspiration! Can you please confirm the color choice on the top A frame home with the yellow flowers? Thanks for doing all the hard work for all of us who truly benefit from your knowledge.

      February 24, 2022 at 5:34 pm
  • Reply Timothy

    I started with iron mountain but almost looked to brownish purple when the sun hit it. I switch to iron ore it’s the dark gray I was looking for thanks

    April 2, 2020 at 11:39 pm
    • Reply Emily

      Timothy, I appreciate your comment as I was contemplating the same colors for my split level exterior (Iron Mountain vs Iron Ore). 2 out of 3 of us chose Iron Ore and I was on the fence. It’s one thing to test paint, but to see the entire exterior painted is different. So, we decided on Iron Ore, and then I found your review. I think that was a sign to go with my first gut feeling.

      June 27, 2020 at 8:32 pm
  • Reply Kim

    What color is the light blue door on the “Iron Mountain” house?
    Thank you!

    April 16, 2020 at 6:06 pm
  • Reply Kim McGreivy

    Do you think the blue door on the Iron Mountain house is perhaps BM Bird’s Egg or something brighter??

    May 9, 2020 at 3:07 pm
  • Reply Karmen

    Wanting to paint our house dark but trying to figure out what color looks good without roof.

    Some of my contenders are Iron mountain
    Wrought iron
    Bear creek
    Urban bronze
    Grey hearth
    Iron ore
    if I sent a picture of out house could let me know what your favorites are. We will be staining out selves too save $$. It needs to be painted-cedar

    May 14, 2020 at 2:47 pm
  • Reply Chris

    DO you know the paint color for the brick of the JHF homes photo above? I like the creamy white with what seems to be Iron Ore, but would love clarification as it isn’t listed. Thank you!

    February 13, 2021 at 3:14 pm
  • Reply Kash

    Black trim on the exterior, what kind of paint would be best? Just to paint over the existing white paint and not o have to worry about, longevity, and integrity of the paint

    March 15, 2021 at 9:15 am
  • Reply April Aldighieri

    What color would you paint shutters? I have a cape cod. Would Imdo black with black shutters? Or white shutters?

    April 30, 2021 at 3:32 am
  • Reply Kristine

    It seems like most of the dark houses online have black windows and dark trim. We have white windows and I’m thinking about doing white soffit and fascia with a black roof. My color at the moment is Iron Ore. Our house is a mid century modern design with a really simple roofline. We also have a section of brick by the front door that I am planning to paint Repose Grey. Any thoughts or ideas?

    June 6, 2021 at 1:23 pm
  • Reply Liz Marx

    Can you tell me what the white is on the Iron Mountain house? I love that contrast.

    June 10, 2021 at 7:49 pm
    • Reply Brandi

      B M classic gray

      January 1, 2022 at 4:15 pm
  • Reply Patty

    Can you tell me what color the blue is on the black magic house.

    October 29, 2021 at 9:15 pm
  • Reply Olga

    It’s 2023 and I’m about to put a very dark grey or black siding on my house. Is the trend over or is it still a design choice. I have a smaller 1959 ranch on a corner lot with brick halfway on the front. I wanted the darker color to make the house look updated. I’m debating on the trim as well. White or black?

    March 16, 2023 at 1:39 pm
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