Our Review of Sherwin Williams’ Caviar

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Sherwin Williams’ Caviar is one of our top exterior house colors of 2022, and with good reason. This near-black shade is full of drama. It’s sophisticated and rich, but it isn’t for the faint of heart. Join us as we dig deep into Caviar’s specs, how our designers tend to use it, and alternative paint colors to compare it against.

All paint colors look different depending on their settings, and that’s particularly true when they’re used on exteriors. That’s why the house designs throughout this post appear a bit darker or lighter than one another, even though they’re all rendered in Caviar. Our best-in-class virtual exterior designers take into account your home’s setting, the direction it faces, and other factors when rendering your exterior design.

Virtual exterior rendering of a sprawling home painted in Sherwin Williams' Caviar

Caviar: The Specs

With an LRV of 3, Caviar is dark, dark, dark. (Learn more about LRV and what it means for painting your exterior here.) It’s composed of a fairly even mix of red, green, and blue — aka RGB in the world of paint — with values of R: 49, G: 48, B: 49. This is why Caviar, and other similar black and near-black paint colors, can actually function as neutrals in an exterior color palette.

It doesn’t have strong undertones, though it can read a bit brown depending on the materials it’s paired with. This is why we always recommend testing before you commit to a paint color!

Virtual rendering of a home painted in Caviar

Recommended Applications for Caviar

At brick&batten, we lean toward using black exterior paint colors on homes (and commercial properties!) that have a modern flair. Caviar is a stunner on all sorts of home styles; however, it will bring a more contemporary feel to a traditional home.

Our designers have used Caviar as a field color on siding and stucco. It looks great on vertical paneling, modern panel systems, horizontal siding, and more.

Caviar’s sophisticated feel is elevated when it’s used on exteriors that also feature dark-stained wood and stone siding. Concrete and blue stone hardscapes also look stunning with Caviar homes!

Two story modern farmhouse home rendered in Olympic Mountains and Caviar

Caviar Paint Color Pairings

We love using Sherwin Williams’ Caviar for high-contrast colorblocking executions and on monochrome designs.

Above, we’ve paired Caviar with Benjamin Moore’s Olympic Mountains on the brick and accents for a gorgeous transitional style design.

On the design below, our team rendered this modern home with Caviar on the stucco and siding, Tricorn Black on the eaves and soffit, and a Romabio wash on the stone in Silver Lining. Using Caviar in concert with other black and near-black paint colors is a favorite of ours.

Virtual exterior design of a home rendered in Silver Lining and Caviar

Two story home rendered in Caviar with wood accents

Pros & Cons of Sherwin Williams’ Caviar


  • Striking and daring
  • Sophisticated and rich
  • Acts as a neutral in an exterior color palette, so easy to work with


  • Because it’s so dark, Caviar isn’t a great choice for energy efficiency in hot climates that get tons of sun
  • Some might find it too bold for their tastes

Caviar Alternatives

It’s a smart idea to compare your preferred exterior paint color option against similar shades. Here are a few to keep in mind when you’re considering Caviar:

Virtual rendering of a cabin in the woods painted in Tricorn Black

Sherwin Williams’ Tricorn Black

With the same LRV of 3, Tricorn Black is just as dark as Caviar, and, as mentioned above, we sometimes use these two paint colors together. Tricorn Black has just the tiniest smidge more blue in the RGB mix. That said, it tends to be even easier to work with than Caviar as it rarely reads brown.

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.

small home painted in black magic with white trim

Sherwin Williams’ Black Magic

Black Magic is another dark Sherwin Williams offering we love for exteriors. It also has an LRV of 3. Sometimes the red in its mix can come across a bit more strongly than Caviar or Tricorn Black. But, again, this depends on your setting. It’s a great idea to test all three of these paint colors side-by-side!

Contemporary home rendered in Inkwell with wood siding accents

Sherwin Williams’ Inkwell

Finally, Inkwell is a great choice for homeowners who want something a touch lighter than Caviar. Inkwell has an LRV of 4. It also has a noticeable blue undertone that makes it appear as more of a deep charcoal gray than a black.

Modern farmhouse rendered in Caviar

The Bottom Line on Sherwin Williams’ Caviar

Using Sherwin Williams’ Caviar on a property’s exterior is a striking, eye-catching choice. This saturated hue isn’t for everyone — but we love when our clients commit to going bold and saturated. Some of our favorite recent home designs are rendered in deep, saturated colors like this.

Still scared of a black exterior? Check out these beautiful designs for more inspiration.

At brick&batten, we’re more than exterior paint color consultants. That’s part of what we do, sure. But our expert designers look at paint color as one part of a cohesive exterior design. That includes everything from outdoor lighting to gutters. Want your curb appeal to make a statement? Let’s partner on making it happen! Get started today.