Tricorn Black Vs Black Magic—Differences Including Undertones [Which To Choose?]

You may have come across two trendy colors of black paint from Sherwin Williams: Tricorn Black and Black Magic. If you’re trying to decide between the two colors and wonder what their differences are, keep reading. We’ve researched these paints to help you make the right choice.

Tricorn Black is close to true black, with 2.45 LRV, while Black Magic is lighter, with 2.88 LRV. Also, the latter is a warm, dark color, while Tricorn is a neutral black. Additionally, Tricorn Black has purple-to-blue undertones, while Black Magic has undertones between red and purple.
Once you understand the differences between the two shades of black, you can determine which is best for a room or area in your house. Continue reading to find out the attributes of these paints and how they can affect the style you are trying to achieve. 

Choosing Between Tricorn Black And Black Magic 

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In general, the color black symbolizes mystery, power, and elegance. Black is popular in modern interior design. It’s a timeless color that you can be flexible with, since it is neutral and can be bold.
Below we cover the differences between Tricorn Black and Black Magic, including lightness, undertones, and more.

Light Reflective Value

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Light Reflective Value (LRV) is a number on a scale of 100 that helps determine the lightness or darkness or a point color. An LRV of 0 means true black, while 100 means pure white.
Tricorn Black has 2.45 LRV, while Black Magic has a 2.88 LRV. This means that the former is closer to true black and the latter is a little lighter.


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Tricorn Black doesn’t have strong undertones. It belongs to the purple-to-blue family. It is similar and usually compared to a neutral black.
Black Magic is warmer due to its red-to-purple undertones. The two blacks are in the top three true dark black paints.

Effect In A Room

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Tricorn Black is a classy, versatile shade. It provides a timeless and sophisticated look to a room. It will blend well in a room without much natural light.

In a room with a lot of light, Tricorn Black can look flat and dull, so you may want to use it minimally or as an accent.

Black Magic gives a chic, elegant vibe to a room and has a glossy, satin finish. Unlike Tricorn Black, it will blend well in a well-lit room.

As a general rule, black paint can make a space look wider and more welcoming with windows and white used as a color contrast.

Color Combinations

Green Living Room With Armchair, Corner Sofa, Vertical Garden And Parquet Floor

When combined with natural wood and stone, Tricorn Black makes a cozy setup. It can make neutral or lighter colors pop.

Pairing it with crisp white or gray foundation colors highlights the intensity and proportions of a space. It also looks good with a greenish touch.

You can try pairing Black Magic with other Sherwin Williams colors such as Lemon Meringue, Anjou Pear, or Snowbound. You can also go bold by pairing it with red.

Where To Use Each Paint

Black front door of classic style home in Oregon

Tricorn Black is often used on exterior doors, furniture, window trim, and statement walls. 
It is also good for fireplaces and goes well with natural elements like stone and wood. Designers avoid using it in large homes because it doesn’t contribute light to a space.
Black Magic’s shiny finish makes it suitable for bedrooms. You can use it to accentuate walls or trim. It can add sophistication to your cabinets and to brick areas. It’s flexible and can also be used on exterior elements like doors.


Grill on terrace with plants with black wall exterior

Tricorn Black is Sherwin Williams’ best-selling black paint. It is a popular choice among designers and style influencers and a leading black paint in residential design. Black Magic is also a very popular true black paint.

Dos And Don’ts With Black Paint

Modern classic black interior blank wall with moldings, curtains, hiden door and wood f

Black is a classic, timeless color, but it can be hard to use in decorating, because it is a deep, dark shade. However, the right color combinations and detailing can bring out the best in black. 
Here are some things that you should and shouldn’t do when decorating with black paint:
  • Painting one to two walls black can be overwhelming and make a space seem heavy.
  • Blend black with light colors on the floor or trim to create balance.
  • A room with many things going on may not be a good match with black. Black calls for a minimalistic style in a room.
  • It’s a good idea to pair lively or vibrant colors with black to make it fresh and energetic. Yellow and pink are good choices to contrast with black.
  • Keep the room simple with black and one or two other colors. You might over-design your place and regret it. 

Tips For Using Black Paint

Top view of Material Selections including Granite tile

Using black paint when decorating a room can be a bold step, so make sure you feel confident about your decision. Here’s a guide for choosing and applying black paint:
  • Always do a color test. With different black options on the market, you need to sample your wall or the surface you are painting to know if it’s the right shade during daytime and nighttime. Lighting is essential when choosing a color.
  • Know the sheen of your black paint. Some paints have a glossy look, while some can be flat, such as matte black. Note that matte paint doesn’t hide scratches as well as glossy paint.
  • White trim with a black wall is a classic choice. It creates a great contrast and natural combination. Always go for lighter colors after choosing black as your main paint color. Consider the black paint’s undertone in choosing  light colors to pair.

Check out this white paint on Amazon.

Other Colors To Pair With Black

Mockup frame on cabinet in living room interior on empty dark wall, Tricorn Black Vs Black Magic

As we mentioned before, black is a classy, versatile color that pairs well with other shades. On its own, black is minimalistic and sophisticated, but when you team it with other shades, it takes on new dimensions.

Here are more colors that blend well with black. Depending on the combination you choose, you can add elegance, liveliness, or playfulness to your space. 

  • fuchsia
  • periwinkle or blush
  • navy
  • terracotta
  • light brown
  • emerald green
  • red-orange
  • purple
  • cream or beige

Check out these beige window curtains on Amazon.

What Colors Do Not Match With Black?

Modern living room with a TV on a cabinet

Black is incredibly versatile, but there are colors that you shouldn’t pair it with when decorating. Stay away from shades that don’t create a contrast with black. Also, avoid pairing it with colors that are similar in tone.

For example, brown is similar to black in that it’s a dark tone, and so it does not oppose black. The two colors together can be dull and flat. The combination can also be a bit overpowering.

Summing Up

Mockup frame on cabinet in living room interior on empty dark wall

Tricorn Black and Black Magic are similar to each other. Both of them have appealing qualities that make them the top choices for black interior paint.

When it comes to the differences between the two paints, Tricorn Black is darker than Black Magic. Black Magic has a warm tone, whereas Tricorn Black is neutral. 

If you found this article helpful, check out the related posts below:

What Color Blinds With Black Windows? [ 5 Fantastic Options],

What Wall Paint Color Goes With Black Furniture? [8 Suggestions]

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