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What is a black paint with blue undertones?

What is a black paint with blue undertones?

Black paint is a versatile color that can be used in many decorating projects. While plain black paint has a dramatic, bold look, black paint with blue undertones provides added depth and interest. The blue undertones make the black appear richer and more complex. This type of paint works well for creating an elegant, sophisticated look.

When working with black paint that has blue undertones, it is important to understand what causes the blue effect and how to choose the right black paint color. The blue tint comes from artificial pigments added during the paint manufacturing process. Different brands and colors of paint have different levels of blue undertone. Generally, the more purple-blue pigment added, the stronger the blue effect will be.

What Causes Blue Undertones in Black Paint

The blue or purple undertone comes from the pigments used to create the black color. Pure black is difficult to achieve in paint. To create deep, rich black paint, extra pigments are added during manufacturing. Here is an overview of the causes of blue undertones:

  • Pigment Chemistry – The chemical composition of the pigments create the undertones. Pigments with purple, blue, and violet undertones are commonly blended with black to create deeper blacks.
  • Lighting Effects – The undertones are more noticeable under certain lighting. Natural light and lamps with cool undertones emphasize the blue/purple tint.
  • Paint Finish – The paint’s glossiness affects how undertones show. Eggshell and satin finishes showcase undertones more than flat or matte.
  • Application Techniques – Heavy application can make undertones more prominent. Lighter coats hide undertones.
  • Surface Color – Applying black paint over colors like white or grays makes the undertones more apparent.

So in summary, the blue hue comes from pigment chemistry, but lighting, paint finish, application method and surface color impact how visible the undertones appear. This makes the undertones changeable depending on the context.

Choosing a Black Paint with Blue Undertones

When selecting a black paint with blue undertones, you’ll want to consider:

  • Depth of Color – How dark or rich do you want the black to be? Paints with heavy purple-blue pigments create deeper blacks.
  • Visibility of Undertones – Do you want subtle cool undertones or more dramatic blue/purple effects? Look for words like “midnight” or “sapphire” in paint names for bolder undertones.
  • Sheen Level – Eggshell or satin finishes showcase undertones best. Matte paints hide undertones.
  • Room Use – Bathrooms and dining rooms suit dramatic blues. Subtle purples work for living rooms and bedrooms.
  • Personal Preference – Decide whether you want a warm, neutral or cool black and choose undertones accordingly.

Consider doing paint swatch tests on posterboard or foam core to help choose the right black for your needs. View the swatches in both natural daylight and artificial light to see undertone effects.

Top Brands of Black Paint with Blue Undertones

Many major paint manufacturers produce black colors with hints of blue or purple. Here are some top brands and color options to consider:

Brand Paint Colors
Behr Caviar, Blueprint Slate, Rockport Gray
Benjamin Moore Stonington Gray, Black Panther, Black Beauty
Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black, Naval, Black Magic
Valspar Darkroom, Shipwreck, Observatory

These colors contain pigments like carbon black, dioxazine purple, ultramarine blue, and phthalo blue green shade. The mixture of these pigments with black creates the rich, deep shades with purple, blue, and teal undertones.

How Lighting Affects Black Paint with Blue Undertones

The way that light hits the painted surface greatly impacts how visible and prominent the blue undertones appear. Here’s an overview:

  • Natural Lighting – The sun’s light brings out the undertones and can make the paint take on a blue cast. North facing rooms with cool natural light emphasize undertones.
  • Incandescent Light – Warm incandescent bulbs downplay the cool blue/purple undertones. The paint will seem darker and more neutral under this light.
  • LED and Fluorescent Light – Like natural light, the white cool cast of LED and fluorescent lighting makes the undertones more noticeable.
  • Accent Lighting – Use of sconces, track lighting or recessed lighting casts light differently on the paint, creating more visual interest and variation in the undertones.

So in summary, cool white lighting brings out the blue undertones the most, while warm yellow light hides them. Combining different light sources creates more nuance and complexity.

How Paint Sheen Impacts the Visibility of Undertones

The glossiness or sheen of the paint finish also influences how vivid the undertones look. Here’s an overview:

  • Matte and Flat – These non-reflective finishes hide undertones. The paint takes on a flatter, dark black look.
  • Eggshell and Satin – Having mild reflective quality, these mid-range sheens showcase undertones nicely, creating visual interest.
  • Semi-Gloss and Gloss – The high gloss amplifies undertones, but can also create too much reflectivity and glare.

In most cases, eggshell or satin finishes provide the best balance at bringing out undertones while still retaining some softness. Semi-gloss and gloss have high reflectivity that may distort or overwhelm the undertones in the black paint.

How Application Method Impacts Undertone Visibility

In addition to sheen and lighting, the way the black paint is applied greatly affects how strong or subtle the undertones appear:

  • Heavy Coats – Applying with fully loaded brushes or rollers deposits more paint, making undertones bolder.
  • Light Coats – Multiple thin coats blend and mute undertones by allowing the substrate to show through mildly.
  • Sponging and Ragging – Dabbing and blotting softens edges and reduces undertone intensity. Light still shines through.
  • Brushing and Rolling – Smooth brush or roller application provides even color and moderate undertone visibility.

In most cases, two coats applied by brush, roller, or paint sprayer produce pleasing results. Very heavy coats overwhelm the blue tint, while extra light coats essentially hide it.

How Room Use and Surface Color Impact Paint Choice

Before selecting a black paint color with blue undertones, consider both the room use and the surface color that the paint will be applied over. Here are some tips:

  • Dining Rooms – Deeper, dramatic blue blacks work well. Navy blue undertones against white trim pop.
  • Bedrooms – Opt for black with subtle purple or blue gray undertones for a restful feel.
  • Bathrooms – Intense midnight blue blacks complement white tile and fixtures.
  • Dark Surfaces – Lighter coats mute undertones against existing dark colors. No need for heavier pigments.
  • Light Surfaces – Bolder blue/purple blacks look best against white or light gray substrates, providing more contrast.

Always test blacks on a posterboard painted with the room’s base color. This shows undertone intensity and helps prevent too much reflectivity.

Tips for Working With Black Paint with Blue Undertones

Here are some application tips when working with black paint that has blue undertones:

  • Prime surfaces first for richer, truer undertones on the finished coat.
  • Use eggshell or satin finishes for balance of reflectivity and optical effects.
  • Employ a combination of natural and artificial lighting for nuance.
  • Incorporate metallic accents like silver, pewter or iron to complement the blue effect.
  • Choose deep blues for dramatic impact and light purples for subtle interest.
  • Apply two moderate coats for an ideal balance of darkness and undertone visibility.
  • Use high quality roller covers and nylon/polyester brushes.

Following these tips will help ensure you achieve the perfect intensity of mesmerizing blue undertones in your black painted surface.


Black paint with blue undertones provides elegance, sophistication, and visual intrigue. The blue/purple tint comes from added pigments that create depth and complexity. Lighting, sheen, and application impact the undertone effect. Eggshell and satin finishes showcase undertones nicely. Complementary blues work well in dining rooms, while lighter purples suit bedrooms. Preparation and quality painting tools allow the undertones to shine through. When chosen with care, black paint with blue undertones offers limitless decorating potential.