Read all about Sherwin Williams Iron Ore, plus see 30 real homes that use it!
Sherwin Williams Iron Ore (SW 7069) is a rich, very dark gray that is absolutely stunning (and popular) on home exteriors. It’s also a solid pick for accent walls and cabinets. Let me reiterate: Iron Ore is very dark – almost black. It can sometimes read as a soft black with dark gray undertones or a deep charcoal. However you prefer to describe it, it’s a good candidate for those looking for a black paint that’s not too black.
Let’s take an in-depth look at Iron Ore paint to help you decide if it’s the right shade for your next home project!
All About Sherwin Williams Iron Ore
While I’m not typically a huge fan of dark neutrals in interior spaces, there are certainly instances where this deep shade can have a dramatic impact. It tends to look great on exteriors, accent walls, kitchen cabinets, and bathroom shelving and vanities, especially if you’re looking for something a touch softer than black.
Some designs manage to create balance with all interior walls of a room painted in this shade. Most of the time, it’s paired with white trim.
While ultimately, Iron Ore is a true dark gray, its color profile can certainly vary in different lighting and when paired with various color palettes.
Iron Ore Undertones
It tends to look like a soft black (and at some angles, almost a true black) when paired with pure white trim and light wood finishes. In a room with a warm color palette, you’ll clearly see that it’s a gray. Most of the time, it looks like a true dark gray, and sometimes the pigmentation looks downright creamy.
Other times, some undertones might come out. Its undertones can vary greatly depending on the light. Sometimes it reads cool, with slight blue-gray undertones. On rarer occasions, you might catch warm brown, purple, or even green undertones.
I’ve rounded up examples of all of these within this post, so you’ll see what I mean.
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LRV of Sherwin Williams Iron Ore
First, here’s the “numerical” details, or the LRV.
Iron Ore LRV = 6
LRV = Light Reflectance Value: Rated 0-100 with 0 being pure black, and 100 being pure white. Lighter paint shades REFLECT more light from them and therefore have a HIGHER LRV, and vice versa for darker shades).
The LRV of Iron Ore is 6. Yes, 6. That means it’s only a few shades lighter than pure black. However, it is enough that you can tell with the naked eye that it’s a charcoal or dark gray shade, and definitely not black.
Below see Iron Ore (6) side by side with pure white (100). The outside of the circle is in black (LRV 0).
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Iron Ore Paint Compared to Other Colors
Dark colors can be very difficult to compare. Let’s take a look at Iron Ore next to a few shades in the dark gray, charcoal, and black families to get a better understanding of its color profile.
Iron Ore vs Peppercorn
While Sherwin Williams Peppercorn is considered by many interior experts as a soft black, it definitely falls in the dark gray and charcoal families. Its LRV of 10 makes it noticeably lighter than Iron Ore, and might be a great choice if black if too stark for you.
Peppercorn will give you a hearty level of drama but with a bit of softness.
SW Iron Ore vs BM Wrought Iron
Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron is often included in “best black paint” lists, though it’s truly a dark gray or charcoal. It is incredibly close to Iron Ore on the Light Reflectance scale. At 6.16 LRV, it’s barely lighter than Iron Ore’s LRV of 6. It’s very difficult to distinguish them from each other with the naked eye, even when placed side by side.
In my opinion, along with being just a touch darker, Iron Ore is a tiny bit warmer and richer than Wrought Iron.
Iron Ore vs Tricorn Black
Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black is dark enough to be considered a true black. It has an LRV of 3, so it’s just a few degrees of separation from pure black. It’s very saturated and free of undertones and is a popular pick for doors and accent walls.
Because it’s deeper, richer, and darker than Iron Ore (LRV 6), it may be a great choice for your next project if you’re looking for more punch than softness.
More Colors Covered in our Paint Exploration Series:
If you still aren’t sold on this color, or just want a few more options – here are several other colors to choose from.
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30 Real Life Homes Using Iron Ore
Exteriors Using Iron Ore
1. Sleekness in Seattle Modern Garden Midcentury House | Gardenista
How stunning is this dramatic exterior? The paint color is so rich and beautiful, and nicely contrasts the warm, natural wood finish of the front door. In this lighting, Iron Ore takes on an intensely saturated, inky look.
This exterior is all about the wow factor. The lighting paired with the texture of the wood siding results in a softer, warmer effect than the photo above.
On this modern, mountain-style home, Iron Ore looks decidedly charcoal. It’s a nice contrast next to its natural stone and wood finishes but isn’t as stark as a pure black would be.
This darling, country-style cottage is a great example of the softer side of Iron Ore. When accented with white trim and black shutters, the effect is homey, and not at all dramatic.
I love this example of Iron Ore as a trim color! When paired with a creamy off-white, it creates a lovely, sophisticated contrast.
6. @kathleendager (via Pinterest)
Pinterest user Kathleen posted her gorgeous exterior completed with Iron Ore as the main exterior color with accents of Tricorn Black (shutters) and Sherwin Williams Extra White trim. Makes for a lovely, traditional, yet dramatic trio of colors.
Bathrooms Using Iron Ore
7. Tips for Using Dark Moody Paint Colors | The Creativity Exchange
Iron Ore on an interior shiplap wall gives farmhouse style a clean, modern edge, and will keep this bathroom feeling fresh and polished for years to come.
8. Basement Remodel with a Pop of Individuality | Sneak Peak Design
This bathroom from Sneak Peak Design shows Iron Ore as a shelf and cabinet color, and I have to say, it’s a definite win. When paired with white subway tile and beige walls, the look is modern while also creating serene spa vibes.
9. Black Modern Farmhouse with Black and White Interiors | Home Bunch
This gorgeous bathroom vanity gets the royal treatment with Iron Ore paint and gold hardware. It looks very charcoal here and creates a modern look against the white countertops and glossy black tile.
All the heart eyes for this bathroom. It’s impressive that this designer managed to use Iron Ore on an accent wall, the bathroom vanity, and the door without making this space look too dark. The white marbled floor, white countertop, walls, and ceilings contrast and balance with the soft black/charcoal shade in such an elegant way, and the gold hardware is the bow on top.
This dark bathroom has the opposite effect of the previous one, but with its Art Deco style, it works. The lighting seems to bring out slight purple or burgundy undertones. With the gold accents, there’s a very warm feeling to this space.
Here’s another dark vanity look. The soft black shade lets the pattern of the wallpaper take center stage and brings balance to the small space.
Iron Ore is a great color choice for accent walls. Here, it adds dimension to an otherwise white and bright bathroom.
Copper and brown shades in the countertops, backsplash and cabinet hardware really bring out the dark gray undertones of the kitchen island in this space.
There’s such a creative use of textures in this modern kitchen. The green-hued marbling of the countertops and textured tile backsplash help to bring out the richness of the flat, dark gray cabinets. Matching the cabinet hardware to the exact color of the cabinet surfaces further contribute to the dramatic effect.
Here’s another example of Iron Ore used on cabinet surfaces paired with gold hardware. The creaminess of the dark gray is very evident here.
Iron Ore definitely looks more like a soft black in this predominantly white shiplap kitchen. The barstools are an exact match of the shade of the kitchen island, creating a flat monochrome effect. Ultimately, there are three main finishes/colors in this space: white, black, and natural wood, contributing to a clean and modern farmhouse-meets-Scandinavian style.
Dining Rooms Using Iron Ore
Geometric woodwork adds extra interest to this accent wall. Iron Ore looks like a soft black here, which lends the perfect amount of drama without looking too stark. The matte finish looks especially lovely in this dining room.
This cozy home uses light and neutral colors to keep everything feeling bright and fresh. Painting just the dining room walls with Iron Ore adds a level of formality to the space and is an appropriate pairing with the crystal chandeliers.
Bedrooms Using Iron Ore
20. @Paint Colors | Within the Grove
The way the light flows in this room allows Iron Ore to take on a true black look. The contrast between the accent wall and the white walls and ceiling is especially dramatic.
21. @High Contrast, Dark and Moody Bedroom Update | Little House of Four
In this post from Little House of Four, the title describes this bedroom as “dark and moody,” and I couldn’t agree more. This wall is truly a creamy, dark gray, with the slightest hint of cool blue undertones. The cognac leather throw pillow, plant and brushed gold sconce add extra warmth and elegance.
Don’t want to commit to an entire accent wall? Steal a page from plant_gal and paint just the top third of a wall, covering the rest with white wainscoting. It adds such a nice level of dimension to this fresh, mostly-white bedroom!
Here’s an example of how Iron Ore looks on a textured wall with a satin finish. It adds a little – but not too much – a contrast to a predominantly pastel palette.
This board and batten accent wall adds a cool, sophisticated look to this classic, elegant bedroom. The way the light falls is so interesting, adding some subtle shade variation throughout.
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25. Iron Ore SW 7069 Neutral Paint Color | Sherwin Williams
I’m really becoming a fan of the Iron Ore accent wall paired with pure white trim/walls and natural wood finishes. This combination usually results in Iron Ore looking like a soft black.
26. Playroom Paint Makeover | Honey We’re Home
The lighting in this room makes the Iron Ore walls lean more dark gray than black, exposing the slightest hint of blue-gray undertones.
27. Trade Secrets: Best “Black” Paint Colors Picked by the Pros | Lisa Mende Design
This Iron Ore wall adds depth to the room and allows the white fireplace to pop. Again, gold accents work really well against this soft black shade.
28. Iron Ore SW 7069 (251-C7) | Sherwin Williams for Design Pros
Here’s another example of Iron Ore looking dark blueish-gray, which is the perfect shade for this cool-toned room. The juxtaposition between the walls and light gray furniture works really well.
This is a great look: soft black walls, white brick fireplace and deer taxidermy. A wooden mantle and houndstooth pattern on the accent chair adds an extra touch of texture.
In this living space, the two different shades of wood and the black brick fireplace actually bring out some warm, brownish undertones in Iron Ore’s dark gray.
The light in this beautiful, Victorian country-style sitting room actually brings out some dark evergreen undertones! The brick fireplace and warm palette are so lovely.
Well, that was fun, right? 30 amazing examples of Iron Ore paint in real homes! What do you think?
Pin this post for later! And if you decide to use this paint shade, leave a comment (or better yet, a photo) on the pin! That helps others know whether they want to try this color, too!
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