When Black is not ‘BLACK’


So, you want to paint your front door black!

Just like whites with various undertones are not truly white, the same is valid for black. Even the ones that have black in their name.

What do you think of black when viewed in various lighting conditions? It may show undertones.
What helps get closest to true black is the Light Reflective Value,

LRV (this number can be found on the back of most paint strips) is a true black. Its absence of all light (black) is 0.
Listed below are the LRVs for the colors shown.
SW Tricorn Black, LRV is 2.4
SW Black Magic, LRV is 4
BM Onyx, LRV is 4.9
SW Iron Ore, LRV is 6
SW Black Fox, LRV is 7
BM Wrought Iron, LRV is 8.17
So, if you want a more authentic black, go with the lowest LRV numbers.
In addition to LRV, you will notice undertones in all paint colors.
What is the definition of undertones anyway?

“Figuratively – Undertone means “a quality, characteristic, etc., that is present but not clear or obvious.” Architectural Color Design ”

Paint color undertones occur because, aside from the primary paint colors (red, blue, yellow), every other color you can imagine is a mixture of different colors.
As shown, you can see various undertones if you view the samples together. Have you ever gone to the paint store and found the color you loved, only to bring the sample home and find that the light in the room makes the color too green for your needs?
The same thing happens with ‘white’ when you find the perfect white, only to discover that it’s got yellow in it, which wasn’t close to what you wanted. It’s also why whites can look pink or blue. There are so many different variations of the same colors.
It happens, making choosing the right neutral or any other color for your space difficult. Hence, finding the right ‘greige’ or gray can take time and effort in certain lights, and finding the right greige can be tricky.

Client Endorsement

Many thanks again for all of the great information and advice that you gave us. It is empowering to look at your home from the perspective of being a seller. Or, in my case, of preparing to be a seller just in case something in my life changes that forces me to become a seller. One thing I know now is that I am nowhere near ready to move.
Take care and enjoy the almost Spring weather.


Shock? I could not believe my living room/dining room could look so good. I now have more floor space and the rooms are balanced.

Betty L., Naperville, IL

Creatively “out of the box” thinking. I was a little skeptical, but now I’m a believer.

Dave S., Burr Ridge, IL

This was the easiest and best experience I have had with someone helping me decorate any part of my house!

Wanted you to know that we had put out house on the market on Monday this week and had 4 offers by Tuesday. Thank you!!! A job well done! Now we are working on an offer for our new space. Which I will be calling you for help in arranging!

Diana B.

Thank you GraceAnn! Your feedback was critical in us getting a contract within 6 days of listing!!

Staging Client