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Farrow & Ball Off Black

Looking for a striking color choice? Farrow & Ball Off Black is a popular color choice for those looking to go bold. Is this saturated hue for you? Find out with my expert color review.

Farrow and ball off black

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What colour is Off Black?

Off Black by Farrow & Ball is a black paint color with just the slightest whiff of a blue undertone.

If you test many colors in the world of black paint colors, you’ll notice that the undertones of black paint colors run the gamut of blue, charcoal, green, bronze/brown and purple.

This frustrates many as a lot of people are looking for a true black color, free of undertones, but I will say that out of the black colors Farrow and Ball offers, this has the least amount of blue without getting into the stark black color territory.

Black paint colors are harder to work with, as they can look very cold without a good bit of decorating. One of the good things about Farrow & Ball’s colors is the fact that they have two unique finishes Modern Emulsion and Estate Emulsion, which are extremely matte sheens, making the stark black color significantly softer.

Did you know you can order a peel and stick sample of Off Black? Order here.

What is the LRV of Off Black?

Farrow & Ball’s Off Black has an LRV of 3. LRV stands for light reflectance value and shows how light or dark a paint color is, and you can guess that 0 is true black and 100 is pure white.

With an LRV of 3.3, Off Black is pretty dark, comparatively speaking, other lighter black paint colors like Peppercorn and Iron Ore have an LRV of 10 and 6 respectively, whereas there’s several darker colors that have LRVs close to Off Black. Off the top of my head, I know that Ben Moore Onyx has an LRV of 4 and Tricorn Black has an LRV of 3.

How does Off Black compare to other colors?

Let’s look at some similar colors to off black in the Farrow & Ball Line.

First, we’ll look at Off Black vs. Pitch Black

Here’s why I always harping on the fact that you must compare colors when selecting a color. When you look at Off Black by itself, it really looks like a pitch black paint color. But now, you can really very clearly see that Off Black has just the slightest blue undertone.

Nothing wrong with a blue undertone; in fact, I happen to love decorating with blue and black, but if you weren’t aware of it ahead of time, it might catch you off guard, because you can bet you will notice it once it’s painted on your walls.

If Off Black has just a hint of a blue undertone, Railings has an undeniable one. I’d actually consider Railings more of a black blue color, rather than a black color, whereas I wouldn’t label Off Black in quite the same category.

Railings is also significantly lighter than Off Black, as its LRV is double that of Off Black.

Just like with all the other colors we’re looking at here, Paean Black on its own looks like a soft black, but compare it with something closer to a true black and the purple undertone is practically screaming at you. Paean Black is also much lighter than Off Black.

Can Sherwin Williams color match Farrow & Ball?

Technically yes, Sherwin Williams can match Off Black, but the paint formula that makes Farrow & Ball so unique will be completely lost. Not only will it be completely lost, I recommend not color matching a Farrow & Ball color at Sherwin Williams.

If you like the idea of Off Black but don’t like the price tag, try Benjamin Moore Onyx or Sherwin Williams Inkwell.

3 tips to help you decide if Off Black is for you

Understand how affects dark paint

There’s no getting around it, the absence of light really darkens paint. This is an obvious concept, but many people seem to forget this when it comes to choosing a paint color.

Now clearly you want bold and dramatic if you’re even contemplating a black paint color, but you might get more than you bargained for if your room has small windows that are opposite of the sun most of the day.

If you are choosing Off Black and you just adore the tiny hint of navy blue, make sure your room is very well lit, or else you will end up losing the blue altogether.

If you find that you wanted a softer look and Off Black looks way too stark on your walls, look at black colors that have LRVs in the 6-9 range.

Repeat your wall color

Black walls are a bold choice, and they can look stunning, but they can also fall flat. The two main reasons people end up hating their black walls are because, one, the failed to decorate the room, and two, they failed to repeat the wall color in the room several times.

This design principle applies for any paint color, not just black, but you should always make sure you wall color is represented in your room 2-3 other times in various sizes. Don’t just throw two small black accessories in the room and call it a day. Be intentional about it.

Test out your colors before committing

By now you see how important it is to test out paint colors. Here’s the little known tip to test out paint colors that I always recommend.

Put your samples on a piece of white poster board and attach them to the wall. Don’t slap your samples up right on whatever you’ve already got going on on your walls, as it will really distort the color.

I like those peel and stick samples for this reason and I always recommend to clients not to take off the backing of those samples put rather use painters tape to place them on the white poster board, as you’ll want to compare multiple samples. Comparison is the only way to see what you’re working with, undertone and light-depth wise!

Convinced Off Black is for you? Hooray! If not, don’t fret, there’s tons of other black paints in the sea!

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