Our Review of Inkwell by Sherwin Williams

The black exterior trend is still going strong. Part of the reason behind this is black paint works well on any type of home, from modern to rustic. Inkwell by Sherwin Williams is a beautiful, moody black paint color that’s perfect for bringing the drama. It’s rich and sophisticated yet still a neutral hue, which adds to its versatility. Keep reading to learn more about its technical specs, color pairing ideas, and more.

Are you looking for a fresh paint color to give your exterior a makeover? Maybe you’re imagining what your home would look like with landscape lighting or a covered patio. We can help you visualize these updates and more. Learn all about our virtual exterior design services.  

large rustic home with black siding

Sherwin Williams’ Inkwell: The Specs

Inkwell by Sherwin Williams is a deep, moody shade of black with grayish blue undertones and an LRV of 4. (Not sure what LRV means? We break down everything you need to know, including why it’s important to consider LRV when selecting a paint color for your home, here.) Its saturation makes it a great shade to use for a bold look.

If your exterior gets a lot of natural light, Inkwell’s blue and gray undertones will appear more prominent. Contrastingly, if your home faces away from the sun, Inkwell will read as a true black.

ranch home with stone cladding and black siding

Recommended Applications for Inkwell

Because black is a neutral tone, Inkwell’s saturated shade works for any design style and maintains its integrity on any texture. For the above design, our designers used Inkwell siding to accentuate the home’s gable. The deep tone contrasts beautifully with the warmth of the stone cladding on the rest of the exterior.

rustic modern home with black siding and natural elements

Next, we used Inkwell on the siding of this modern rustic home. The wood and stone elements bring a nature-inspired flare to the design, juxtaposed with the sleek elegance of the black paint.

ranch home with beige stucco and black siding

Inkwell Paint Color Pairings

If you want a neutral color palette for your exterior but still want a daring aesthetic, Inkwell plays perfectly with other neutrals. Above, our designers used Benjamin Moore’s Grant Beige on the stucco and trim, adding in pops of Inkwell on the siding. The black siding looks striking against the warmth of the beige stucco.

traditional home with black siding and white trim

If a more classic color palette speaks to your design goals, you can’t go wrong with black and white. Our designers used Benjamin Moore’s Snow White for the trim on this home, which brings out Inkwell’s cool tones in an elegant way.

black and gray house with wood accents

Pros & Cons of Inkwell


  • It is a deep neutral that translates beautifully on virtually any texture or design style
  • Its saturated tone is perfect for a dramatic look 
  • With blue-gray undertones, it’s a more dynamic shade of black


  • Its undertones won’t really come out to play if the home faces away from the sun; if you want that blueish flare, you’ll only want to use Inkwell if your home faces the sun
  • With an LRV of 4, this color is truly dark, so if you’re unsure about using an ultra-dark shade on your exterior, Inkwell might not be for you
We always recommend sampling and testing paint colors before committing. Factors such as natural lighting, undertones, and your property’s fixed elements will have a significant impact on how a color will appear on your exterior. Our friends at Samplize offer extra-large 9 x 14.75 inch peel-and-stick paint samples of the colors we love for exteriors. Order your ‘Real Paint, No Mess’ samples from Samplize here.

Inkwell Alternatives

Inkwell is a rich, dramatic shade that will bring boldness to any style of home. But it might not fit your specific exterior and design goals. Here are some other similar color options to explore.

modern house with black siding and wood paneling

Benjamin Moore’s Raccoon Fur

While Inkwell has subtle grayish blue undertones, Benjamin Moore’s Raccoon Fur leans into those colors even further. The near-black shade has strong blue and violet notes.

Dark exterior on modern rustic lake home in upstate New York

Sherwin Williams’ Caviar 

Sherwin Williams’ Caviar is all things dramatic and sophisticated, and with an LRV of 3, it’s just a touch darker than Inkwell. Caviar is also made up of a pretty even mix of RGB (red, green, and blue), so it doesn’t have complex undertones.

traditional home with black siding

Benjamin Moore’s Soot

Like Inkwell, Benjamin Moore’s Soot is an inky black shade with blue undertones. But with an ever-so-slightly higher LRV of 4.11, Soot reads a bit more charcoal. 

split level home with black siding

The Bottom Line on Sherwin Williams’ Inkwell

If a bold and dramatic neutral is what your design dreams are made of, you might be able to manifest them with Inkwell by Sherwin Williams. Whether you use it as the star of the show on your exterior or as an accent shade to sprinkle in a little contrast, it’s a stunning black ideal for elevating the curb appeal of any style of home.

On the hunt for the right paint color for your home? Rather than committing to a shade based on instinct alone, partner with us to visualize what paint colors will look like on your home before making costly decisions. We’ll help you pick the perfect paint color and will digitally render any other updates you have in mind, from shutters to decks. Get started on your exterior design project today.

Our designers only use and recommend products that we know, love, or would use on our own properties. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission, at no cost to you.