Our Review of Sherwin Williams’ Peppercorn

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Dark exterior paint colors are growing in popularity, and Sherwin Williams’ Peppercorn is one of our favorites. This dark gray neutral tone can add a dramatic touch to any home design. In this review, we highlight paint color pairings and recommended applications for Peppercorn, dive into the technical specs of the shade, and more.

Wondering what Sherwin Williams’ Peppercorn — or any paint color — will look like on your house? Find out before you invest the time and money to paint. Our expert virtual exterior designers can help you visualize a selection of paint colors on your home before you commit, ensuring you pick the perfect shade. 

Sherwin Williams’ Peppercorn: The Specs

With an LRV of 10, Peppercorn is definitely a dark shade, but it still has excellent depth. And it’s light enough that it won’t read black, especially not on exteriors. Rather, it has a nice softness to it. (Learn what LRV is and why it’s essential to consider when painting your house here.) 

Because Peppercorn doesn’t have a singular strong undertone, it is often referred to as a “true gray.” However, all grays have undertones, and it is possible to catch a slight hint of purple or blue or even green from Peppercorn in certain lighting. This is why it’s always important to test your paint colors before committing!

A home design featuring a high-contrast color palette

Recommended Applications for Peppercorn

Peppercorn is one of the most versatile gray shades around. It looks great as a home’s primary or secondary exterior paint color and also functions well as an accent on trim, columns, and other design elements. In the rendering above, it’s used on the home’s trim and garage and creates contrast with the base color, Seapearl by Benjamin Moore.

Peppercorn works well with a variety of home styles, too, from farmhouses to modern abodes. We’ve even used it on commercial properties and apartment buildings.

A two-story home rendered in Sherwin William's Peppercorn and Reserved White

Peppercorn Paint Color Pairings

We love a high-contrast color palette, and we often pair Peppercorn with light shades to achieve this. The rendering above features Peppercorn and Benjamin Moore’s Rockport Gray — a much lighter gray — on the siding and Sherwin Williams’ Reserved White on the trim and column. 

A rendered of a home's exterior featuring a dark color palette

We don’t always pair Peppercorn with lighter hues, though. Here, our designers went with a similarly dark color on the trim: Benjamin Moore’s Bracken Slate (LRV of 14). Rich wood accents round out this moody design.

A two-story home rendered in Sherwin Williams' Peppercorn

Pros & Cons of Sherwin Williams’ Peppercorn


  • A versatile shade that can be used as a main or accent color
  • Gorgeous cool neutral
  • It offers great depth and feels luxurious


  • It might be too dark if your home doesn’t get much natural light
  • Because it’s cool, it can clash with paint colors that are strongly warm
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.

Peppercorn Alternatives

If you aren’t sure if Peppercorn is the perfect paint color for your home, consider these alternatives.

A home design featuring siding painted in Sherwin Williams' Iron Ore

Sherwin Williams’ Iron Ore vs. Peppercorn

With an LRV of 6, Iron Ore is almost black. It’s noticeably darker than Peppercorn but still similar enough that we consider it a solid alternative. This true charcoal color has almost no undertones and, like Peppercorn, really pops against crisp white and neutral tones.

A home rendered in Benjamin Moore’s Kendall Charcoal

Benjamin Moore’s Kendall Charcoal vs. Peppercorn

Kendall Charcoal by Benjamin Moore is a neutral dark gray paint color with rich, varied undertones. With an LRV of 12.9, it’s just slightly lighter than Peppercorn and reads a bit warmer, too. This versatile shade works well on just about any style of home, from modern or contemporary to Craftsman or traditional. 

Front exterior rendering of new build rustic lakeside retreat

Sherwin Williams’ Urbane Bronze vs. Peppercorn

Sherwin Williams’ Urbane Bronze is a complex greige shade with great depth and range. With an LRV of 8, it’s a bit darker than Peppercorn and has stronger undertones (specifically green). We love using Urbane Bronze on contemporary homes or to add a modern feel to houses with more traditional architecture.

A front view of an exterior home design rendering

The Bottom Line on Sherwin Williams’ Peppercorn

Whether you want to add a touch of drama to your home or give it a more modern feel, Sherwin Williams’ Peppercorn is an excellent paint color choice. We’ve recommended this shade on tons of designs and don’t plan to stop anytime soon. 

When you’re ready to see what Peppercorn or another paint color looks like on your home, we’re here to help. Get started today.