HELLOOOO CRACKED PEPPER…
Are you looking for THE perfect, dark, moody shade, or perhaps the finishing touch to your alfredo? Look no further, as Behr has knocked it out of the park (or out of the kitchen) with Cracked Pepper.
I always get nervous around this time of year as the top brands release their Colors of the Year. THANK GOODNESS Behr has started this color party off with a BANG with Cracked Pepper, followed by the NOT so bangable Sherwin Williams Persimmon (HGTV Home’s Color of the Year).
Colors of the Year should excite and inspire. They should be approachable and APPLICABLE to the average home on at least ONE paintable surface. Check, check, and…check.
So, let’s look closely at Cracked Pepper and see if it’s what color you’ve been looking for…
BEFORE WE GET STARTED…
To show you RELATEABLE & REAL homes, I ONLY use photos from my Online Color Consulting clients. This means I don’t always have the quality photos I need or the RIGHT photos, but DEFINITELY have some SUPER helpful info to help you on your way!
WHAT TYPE OF COLOR IS CRACKED PEPPER?
Cracked Pepper is a hybrid of sorts, sitting in between black and dark gray. You might even call Cracked Pepper a SOFT black paint color – not crisp, not sharp, but more muted and gentle while still giving an overall ‘blackish’ look.
If you have a room with a TON of natural light, sure, Cracked Pepper will grab a bit of that and look a bit softer and more like an uber-dark gray. However, toss this bad boy in a more moderate or lower light space, and you have a beautiful shade of soft black on your hands.
What’s the difference between Cracked Pepper and a REAL BLACK?
It all comes down to LRV…
WHAT IS CRACKED PEPPER’S LRV?
Cracked Pepper has an LRV of 8. LRV stands for ‘Light Reflectance Value,’ which helps you determine how light or dark a paint color is. And while an LRV of 8 puts Cracked Pepper DARN CLOSE to the black range, it’s a few points shy. You might not notice this until you compare it to the other blacks like Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black (LRV 3) and Benjamin Moore Black 2132-10 (LRV 4.65). This difference in LRV separates the TRUE blacks from the SOFT black.
That’s right; Cracked Pepper is a soft black paint color as it’s not as dark or sharp as other popular shades of black.
Want to learn more about LRV? It could save your paint-lovin’ life – read all about it HERE.
WHAT UNDERTONES DOES CRACKED PEPPER HAVE?
To say that Cracked Pepper has violet-blue undertones would be a massive overstatement. In fact, in a world where colors with an LRV in this range tend to have noticeable undertones – Cracked Pepper is shockingly and impressively neutral (and it takes a lot to impress me).
I haven’t had any clients use Cracked Pepper, so I took one of their images and used BEHR’S visualizer to see how it looks – I LOVE IT. A little tweak to the toss cushions and this color will feel right at home.
Sure, toss Cracked Pepper on your home’s exterior with south-facing or afternoon western sunshine, and you might see a weee wink of violet pop up. However, on the average home, Cracked Pepper reads like a VERY (very) dark charcoal gray or a soft and subtle black.
WHAT WHITE TRIM COLOR GOES WITH CRACKED PEPPER?
Because of its striking depth and lack of obvious undertones, Cracked Pepper is reasonably flexible as to white paint colors.
- BEHR Ultra Pure White would be my first choice
- Sherwin Williams Pure White for a softer contrast
- BEHR Polar Bear, for some playful warmth
IS BLACK PEPPER A GOOD COLOR FOR THE EXTERIOR OF A HOME?
Black Pepper is as good on siding as it is on steak. Black Pepper’s depth makes it a gorgeous choice for exterior trim or a front door (as long as it suits the surrounding finishes). And if you’re a fan of the current ‘all-black exterior,’ Black Pepper should be in the running as it offers a slightly softer approach. In particular, notice how it contrasts with black windows (assuming you have them, if you’re going for the black-o-black look).
IS CRACKED PEPPER A GOOD COLOR FOR KITCHEN CABINETS OR ISLANDS?
While not every kitchen can pull off black cabinets, MANY kitchens are itching for a black-inspired island. Make sure the flecks (usually granite) or veining (quartz) in your countertop suit Cracked Pepper’s subtle, stormy backdrop. Some countertops need a slightly green undertone, in which case, Sherwin Williams Iron Ore could be a better choice.
HOW TO DECORATE YOUR HOME WITH CRACKED PEPPER
Because Cracked Pepper is so dramatic, you can overdo it quickly. If your walls or an accent wall are painted in Cracked Pepper, it’s good to have a few accent pieces (decor/toss cushions/etc.) that also pick up on that soft black.
Another way to tie in a dark shade like Cracked Pepper is to do black door or cabinet hardware or light fixtures with a black metal finish.
WHICH PAINT COLORS GO WITH CRACKED PEPPER?
You know I’m a Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore kinda gal – Sherm and Ben have been my boy toys for a long time. And while I do dabble in Behr and Farrow & Ball, I always revert back to my boys when I’m looking for my tried and true hues. This is why I’m referring to these brands and BEHR with the suggestions below…
BLOBS are just basic representations of the colors listed
- soft, warm grays with violet undertones
- moody, medium-depth, or darker grays with violet undertones
- medium-depth MUTED cinnamon-inspired shades, such as Benjamin Moore’s Giant Sequoia’
- some shades of taupe that lean more into gray than beige
- a gentle terra cotta-style hue such as BEHR’S Terra Cotta Urn
- green-grays like Sherwin William’s Evergreen Fog or the gentle look of BEHR Green Balsam or Incognito (mad love)
WHAT OTHER COLORS ARE SIMILAR TO CRACKED PEPPER?
Comparing paint colors is the BEST way to choose the one that best suits your home’s finishes and OOOO boy, do I have some beauties to share with you!
And remember, more so than paint pots, SAMPLIZE Peel & Stick samples are the best way to compare colors. Sadly, Behr doesn’t work with Samplize, but these other brands do.
- Sherwin Williams Iron Ore (review HERE)
- Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron (review HERE)
- Sherwin Williams Peppercorn (review HERE)
WHAT’S THE HEX CODE & RGB FOR BEHR’S PEPPERCORN?
If you’re looking for the RGB values for Cracked Pepper PPU18-1, they’re 76,77,79. The HEX CODE IS #4C4D4F
Sherwin Williams Evergreen Fog: Color of the Year 2022(and still my fave!)
Not sure which paint color is best for YOUR home?
Check out my Online Paint Color Consulting – I’d love to help!