An almost true gray. Why almost? Well, regardless of its very dark base, it is a chameleon and can have many faces depending on particular factors.

LRV 10

Today, we would like to refer to one of the most popular accent paint colors at Sherwin-Williams, which is part of the Top 50 Colors collection and replicates a fabulous mix of sophistication and depth. Ladies and gentlemen – “Peppercorn” to your attention. Peppercorn SW 7674 is a very complex shade of dark gray. It seems to be devoid of undertones, staying true to its own values. Regarded as a true gray by many designers, which is not always the case, this outstanding hue is a go-to option for the most intriguing design projects. From a color used for a whole makeover to an accent hue, Peppercorn impresses with its ability to adapt to any situation in part. 

The name itself implies a mystery, a secret that this shade simply doesn’t want to reveal, but this is what makes this paint color so special – you keep wondering what hides behind its fascinating veil. There is always science behind any hue developed by paint manufacturers, and, based on facts, we will try to discover Peppercorn little by little. 

Peppercorn paint color features

Peppercorn is an almost true gray. Why almost? Well, regardless of its very dark base, it is a chameleon and can have many faces depending on particular factors. Inspired by the kitchen staple, referring particularly to pepper, the color is no less spicy when it comes to its features. One should note that its dark notes place it at the border with true dark colors, where you cannot find other shades than black and charcoal. However, Peppercorn is sometimes referred to as a variation of charcoal, depending on the amount of light penetrating the space. As regards the rest, this charming paint color from Sherwin-Williams is a standout replication of limitless depth and drama. A single touch of this hue on your interior and the space is filled with an intriguing sense of elegance, formality, at some point aristocracy, or even timeless contemporaneity. 

Peppercorn: is it warm or cold?

This is when things get interesting. It seems a dark color like this cannot go any other way but reflect a deep sense of cold stability. Well, let’s reveal one of the secrets. Peppercorn is a mix of very cold and very warm scents. It doesn’t gravitate towards a particular extremity but stays at the border where the two meet. The final decision is always taken by light, which will be discussed later. Considering this color within neutral conditions, we can surely state that Peppercorn is a balance between cool and warm notes. There is no wonder such a dark color would be penetrated by cold particles, but what about the warm ones? Well, we haven’t told you yet, but this shade also has a slight creamy base. How far can this paint reach? Let’s go further and find out!

How does lighting affect Peppercorn?

As already stated, light is the boss here. In north-facing rooms, Peppercorn reads cool, even impressively cold, which by the way, are the best conditions for this color where it can reveal its natural beauty. At the same time, in east, west, and south-facing rooms, this color leans a bit warm. Nevertheless, playing with dark colors in spaces with constantly changing lighting is dangerous. If you still want to bring its warm notes to the surface, we suggest opting for artificial lighting with warm undertones for a constant soft feeling. The scenario changes entirely in small or poorly lit spaces, where Peppercorn opens up its dramatic scents, radiating even a kind of blue vibe, which doesn’t stop it from embracing a slightly creamy or purple appearance under particular lighting.

Peppercorn LRV

Let’s start with the basics! LRV stands for Light Reflectance Value and is used to determine how light or dark a shade is on a scale from 0 to 100, where 0 is the representation in figures of a true black. Peppercorn reaches a value of 10. It is very close to entering the category of pure blacks but stays true to its dark gray nature. Of course, in a space that lacks enough light, this paint would look like an actual black shade. This is why it is essential to ensure an appropriate amount of light so that Peppercorn can reveal its entire range of features. It absorbs light without bouncing it back, and the wrong amount of light can simply make it feel suffocating. 

Peppercorn undertones

It is no surprise Peppercorn is devoid of undertones. Its closeness to true shades of black simply keeps it on the safe side when it comes to staying true to its natural values, which works perfectly under enough light. As already stated, the lack of appropriate lighting may bring hidden blue notes to the surface for a mesmerizing dramatic environment, while a slightly warmer one may lead to a subtle creamy effect, underlining a particular amount of purple scents.

Similar colors

You will surely not find any other gray shade that replicates such a perfect balance between warm and cold undertones, which stays true to its core values, is closely related to black but doesn’t cease to impress with new notes every time it interacts with external factors. But… There are exceptions, to be more specific – there is one exception, and you will find it as follows. Still, dark grays are popular, and there are many that reflect at least a part of what Peppercorn is, which are not devoid of their own beauty. Let’s see what Sherwin-Williams has in store and refer to other manufacturers as well!

  • Forger Steel SW 9565 – impressively identical shade, even the LRV is the same, although appearing slightly less intense;
  • Stony Creek SW 9610 – a slightly darker color, gravitating towards black but not devoid of this dramatic sense perceived at Peppercorn;
  • Thunder Gray SW 7645 – an even darker variation of gray, resembling a black shade, although bearing a similar scent of hidden warmth;
  • Iron Ore SW 7069 – a slightly noticeable darker alternative to Peppercorn with a more intense base;
  • Gray 2121-10 by Benjamin Moore – identical to Peppercorn, without a single scent going any other direction;
  • Shadow Mountain PPU24-22 by Behr – a slightly noticeable darker alternative, while the other features are preserved;
  • Night Jewels 2 by Dulux – a bit darker than the previous shade, while everything else stays the same.

Coordinating colors

Peppercorn is bold, and its chameleon feature even makes it harder to find appropriate matching partners. Since this shade works best as an accent, the neighboring colors should be lighter and neutral enough to balance the environment. We usually refer to a wide list of coordinating colors, but this one is so special that we cannot risk the result. You better stick to the limited list of colors suggested by experts from Sherwin-Williams and stay on the safe side.

  • Windfresh White SW 7628 – cool white diluted with gray particles and penetrated by slight purple scents, resembling a stormy sky;
  • Nebulous White SW 7063 – calming white with subtle blue notes replicating a peaceful cloudy sky;
  • Willow Tree SE 7741 – a soothing shade of green with a slight foggy effect that resembles a rather dusty gray.

Use of Peppercorn in interior

Despite its bold features, Peppercorn looks no less impressive when used for a whole makeover, although its integration as an accent is a favorite. It is not a simple accent color but rather a sophisticated one that adds visual interest and a bit of drama. You will simply be impressed by how much depth such a dark color can bring to a space. Let’s scroll through some design solutions and get convinced that Peppercorn is a go-to color in contemporary settings.

A new accent

There is no other design solution that would beat the integration of Peppercorn as an accent. Furthermore, the range of possibilities is so wide that at least one of them will meet your standards of style. From an accent island in the kitchen to an accent wall in the bedroom or living room, be it a plain wall or wood paneling, a built-in bookcase, any other piece of furniture, or an interior door. One should note that white is to be considered as a background, while lighter gray shades or dark wood should be chosen for other elements of the room for a result that radiates harmony.

Living room

If you are at the beginning of your journey of discovering accent colors, it is worth giving Peppercorn a try in the living room, which feels both a personal and common space and would benefit from a bit of personality. Cover the walls entirely to fully embrace the sophistication hidden behind this shade and offer the living room a sleek contemporary look. No less enchanting is using Peppercorn as an accent wall or painting a piece of furniture. In both cases, a pairing with lighter colors should be considered both for the background and other room elements, such as sofa or the rug. Natural wood is a no less suitable option, particularly for the floor or coffee table if there is one. 


Whether you go with an accent wall or an entire covering of the walls in this shade, your personal space will instantly be filled with a complex sense of confidence, sleek contemporaneity, and limitless individuality. According to the pattern, white, a lighter shade of gray, or wood are the go-to options when it comes to finding partners for Peppercorn. One should note that the headboard, in particular, should be white or a particular variation of this color to balance the contrasts and make the space acquire a sense of well-established borders. Dilute the formality with a few drops of greenery by decorating the place with indoor plants or a few splashes of brass for the wall sconces. 

Kitchen and dining room

Undoubtedly, Peppercorn is perfect for kitchen cabinets combined with white, be it a dark gray island or lower cabinets painted this way with a light background and upper cabinets in the same refreshing shade. It may sound strange, but such a pairing is quite enough for a contemporary setting. Well, you may add visual interest by opting for a wooden or marble countertop. Another great idea is to consider Peppercorn for the lower cabinets and open shelving instead of upper cabinets on a white background. This way, the balance of contrasts will compensate for the light that Peppercorn is absorbing.

It is amazing how a slight change in the design can instantly influence the entire result from an ultra-modern dining room to an elegant traditional one. Consider Peppercorn as an accent, a white background, and wood furniture for a contemporary dining room or a splash of brass on the chandelier, a large wooden table, and flamboyant chairs for a contemporary approach to the beloved elegant styles. 


All approaches that involve the integration of Peppercorn into the bathroom are almost similar: consider this shade as an accent for the cabinets or wall paneling, add wooden texture, dilute the palette with a few drops of brass or black metal, and don’t forget about the element that brings the pieces together – greenery. Such spaces are usually small, and playing with a dark shade within its limits is quite bold, but an appropriate approach to lighting will always keep you safe in this sense. You can even gravitate between colder or warmer notes of this shade or go with the ones that fit your preferences.

Use of Peppercorn for house exterior

The most interesting part is yet to come. Regardless of the enchanting sense of depth that Peppercorn integrates into the interior, this feature acquires more strength when this color is applied to the house exterior. Let’s start with the traditional style: a classic wooden house with walls painted in Peppercorn, accompanied by white for the front door and shutters for an authentic sense of aristocracy. The other extreme would be a contemporary wood or stone house painted entirely in this dark shade and similar paint color for the front door for a sleek modern appearance. If you don’t want to go too extra in either of these directions, choose a balance between those two and use Peppercorn for a smooth pairing. Don’t hesitate to paint your front door in Peppercorn on a contrastive background since even a tiny splash of dark gray will add individuality to your exterior.

The Peppercorn SW 7674 paint color from Sherwin-Williams is this irreplaceable dark gray that adds a touch of contemporaneity and personality to any interior and exterior at its finest. Such an accent cannot simply go unnoticed, being a reliable source of contemporary air and uniqueness.

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