This paint from Benjamin Moore is incredibly dark - so dark that it really looks black in the can.

Hackrea, Visualizer

What do we know about shades of green? The first thing that comes to mind is something bright, fresh, summer, and cheerful. Of course, those who follow interior trends may have other associations based on the fashionable palettes of recent seasons – there, as you probably remember, cool gray-green tones of sage, mint, and olives dominate, which, depending on the decor and furniture, can manifest as natural tranquility and calm sophistication.

However, there is another side of the green – and this side is so dark that sometimes the key shade here does not lend itself to immediate interpretation. No, in this case, we are not talking about the colors of emerald and spruce needles: these tones of green are really dark, but their base is unambiguous and noticeable. In light of current color trends, it makes sense to talk about more complex, we would even say, borderline shades of green – and we suggest you start with PM-11 (HC-188) Essex Green by Benjamin Moore. Are you intrigued by this name? Well, it’s time to get to know each other better.

Essex Green paint color features

From the name, it becomes clear that when Essex Green is mentioned, we are talking about some shade of green. However, if you haven’t seen it before, you will be in for a total surprise. The fact is that this paint from Benjamin Moore is incredibly dark – so dark that it really looks black in the can. That is why experts advise evaluating its complexity and perception using specially prepared samples.

The name, and indeed the shade itself, in principle, has its own philosophy. Essex Green is part of the Historical Collection, Benjamin Moore explains. This series was inspired by the architecture of North American buildings dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. All tones included in it, including our dark green, are designed to create a deep, calm, and stable atmosphere with a touch of unshakable tradition and classic respectability. As for the Essex Green itself, then, according to the designers, it should evoke associations with the romantic stone buildings of that era, entwined with dense ivy.

Essex Green: is it warm or cold?

Benjamin Moore’s designers position Essex Green as neutral. And, since he confidently strives for black, there is some truth in this. At the same time, black is known to be incredibly close to cold, which allows this dark shade to be considered the same. In addition, under specific lighting, the appearance of a blue tint becomes apparent, and therefore you can rest assured: Essex Green is really a cool tone.

How does lighting affect Essex Green?

As we said earlier, when concentrated, Essex Green looks almost like black, but lighting can very well help you express the personality of this beautiful color. How it will behave in dim or twilight light, you probably already understood. But in the sunlight or light beams from lamps, surprises can begin.

So, in sufficient natural or warm artificial light, the shade will manifest itself as a very noble and natural dark green. Of course, it will not look light and bright, but you will see sophisticated greenery and an exquisite grayish sheen.

However, bright sunlight or lamps with cold lighting will allow the blue tones to show more – especially if you are using light, you might say, white materials for contrast. In this case, the color of the surface painted in Essex Green will look highly complex but at the same time elegant and sophisticated.

Essex Green LRV

Benjamin Moore’s Essex Green has a light reflectance of 3.53 and, as you might guess, this is very low. This value undoubtedly refers this shade of green to the group of dark colors, which means that it needs sufficient lighting to reveal its individuality and versatility fully. If there is not enough light, Essex Green will go into a flatter black color.

Essex Green undertones

Essex Green contains a sufficient amount of green for identification. Still, at the same time, the active participation of black and blue in the formation of this unique color cannot be denied. Thus, the shade contains blue and gray tones, which can be more or less pronounced depending on the light intensity, viewing angle, as well as the colors and textures with which the surfaces painted in dark green from Benjamin Moore interact.

Similar colors

We can say that Essex Green is unique in its kind – and this even applies to the manufacturer’s palette. It is unlikely that you will find shades identical to it, although there are quite a few similar ones. However, some of them appear a little more gray or blue, and most of them are noticeably lighter. And yet, just in case, we will give several shades of a similar type as an example.

  • Dragonfly AF-510 – pleasant and natural dark green with deep blue-blue accents;
  • Tarrytown Green HC-134 – very dark green with a pronounced steel gray undertone;
  • Lafayette Green HC-135 – spectacular and natural gray-green shade with low light reflectance;
  • Trellised Ivy PPF-54 by Behr – very similar to Essex Green, only with fewer blue and gray undertones;
  • Marshmallow 11-4300 – a slightly darker green with undertones reminiscent of the military color.

Coordinating colors

Essex Green looks great with different shades of white and gray – which, however, does not interfere with trying warmer woody tones. Benjamin Moore designers offer to evaluate all the benefits of sophisticated combinations with the following corporate colors:

  • Storm AF-700 – natural and moderately dark gray, captivating with impeccable neutrality;
  • Whitestone 2134-60 – very light color, balancing between soft cool white and smoky gray;
  • Shaker Beige HC-45 – pleasant and mesmerizing beige with delicate notes of natural, linen gray;
  • Jackson Tan HC-45 – a surprisingly warm golden brown with a subtle terracotta undertone.

Essex Green use in interior

Let’s say without false modesty: designers adore Essex Green and call it “rich,” “luxurious,” “atmospheric,” and capable of bringing warmth and comfort to any palette. Today it is widely used in interiors of various styles, but it is especially appropriate in an elegant and modern setting, providing a fairly neutral palette and natural textures. However, we will not be unfounded and will study in more detail the options for using the dark green shade from Benjamin Moore for both interior and exterior decoration of the house.

Wall painting

It is worth mentioning right away that Essex Green is a real find for an accent wall. This dark green shade’s minimal LRV and low lightness smooth out any contrasts, making it look calm and luxurious.

At the same time, nothing prevents you from using it for a complete painting of the walls – of course, provided that you choose light furniture and warm textiles. Essex Green can be used to paint plastered surfaces, shiplap, boiserie panels, and even gypsum and polyurethane stucco moldings. 

A small life hack: against such a background, decor with metal elements made of brass and bronze looks perfect – and, first of all, mirrors in curly frames and fashionable lamps.

A new look at art deco

We are all used to associating this sophisticated style with a palette dominated by chocolate brown, white, black, and gold. Now, let’s replace the first color on this list with Essex Green – and we can create a rich and sophisticated space. And do not forget about the main thing: more glass, crystal, and gold-colored metal, exquisite decor, velvet, and elegant lamps.


Essex Green is truly remarkable for spaces that need to create an intimate and atmospheric setting – and the bedroom is best suited for this. In this case, you will have two options for using a dark green shade: painting all the walls or featuring the accent wall at the headboard.

In the first case, you will have to balance the depth and darkness of Essex Green with light or warm brown wood floors, light textiles, and light, perhaps even moderately dark furniture. In the second, combine a green accent wall with a soft white background, fluffy beige carpets, and curtains, and do not deny yourself the pleasure of placing luxurious modern lamps made of glass, crystal, and golden metal on such a wall.

Kitchen cabinets

If there are any colors that can create the perfect kitchen cabinet, Essex Green is the pro in that regard! This gorgeous dark green perfectly fits both flat facades and surfaces with a classic figured finish, emphasizes the impeccability of kitchen furniture, and makes your cabinets look like a real work of art – not to mention the fact that brass and gold hardware look on them truly exquisite. At the same time, a total look in such a kitchen is not at all necessary: the countertops can be wooden or made of white or gray stone, the lamps are made of translucent frosted glass, and the floors are brushed or casually painted in light colors.


Suppose you are already tired of the absolute dominance of gray, white, and beige in bathrooms, and you want to add colors without excessive brightness and saturation. In that case, Essex Green will definitely become the object of your closest attention. White patterned tiles, light gray marble, matte black bathroom fixtures, wood accessories, and dried flowers in white ceramic vases are perfect partners for dark green bathroom cabinets.

Essex Green use for exterior

If Essex Green is a welcome guest for almost any room in terms of the interior, then it is used much less often in exterior decoration. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine a house entirely painted in dark green – perhaps it would be too extravagant.

However, at the same time, one cannot fail to note the amazing demand for Essex Green for painting the front doors. Just the right choice of color transforms not only the entire entrance group, but the entire facade as a whole, giving your home an elegant and not devoid of zest. Another plus of this shade is its compatibility with wood, brick, and stone.

PM-11 (HC-188) Essex Green by Benjamin Moore is a unique dark green shade that will overwhelm you with its complexity and versatility. It is not for nothing that designers consider it one of the most spectacular discoveries of the last two years: this color allows you to dilute trendy, completely neutral interiors, making them livelier and more diverse and at the same time not devoid of modern chic.

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