Cavern Clay was Sherwin Williams Color of the Year for 2019, but it seems to have arrived ahead of it’s time.
Now the tides are turning towards much warmer and earthier colors, and Cavern Clay is getting it’s moment in the sun!
Should you consider this trendy terracotta?
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What Color is Cavern Clay (SW 7701)
Cavern Clay is a slightly muted red-orange color. It’s a shade of terracotta that isn’t as bright and in-your-face as some other options.
It is more of an orange-brown clay color, than it is red or pink.
Cavern Clay is perfect in a Southwest theme with sage greens, warm or crisp whites, and natural wood tones.
Cavern Clay LRV
The LRV of a color indicates on a scale of 0 – 100 how much light a color reflects (or doesn’t reflect). True black has an LRV of 0 and pure white has an LRV of 100.
In the paint world, we are working in a range of about 3 – 93 because no paint color is purely black or completely white.
Cavern Clay has an LRV of 20.
An LRV of 20 sounds dark, but it is on the darker end of mid-toned colors.
Cavern Clay RGB
Cavern Clay Hex Code
Hex Code: #ac6b53
I love that Sherwin Williams provides hex codes right on their site. Then you don’t need to rely on a third party website to get it right!
Is Cavern Clay Warm or Cool
Cavern Clay is definitely a warm color! It is squarely in the orange and red section of the color wheel, and has no cool tones.
Cavern Clay Undertones
Cavern Clay is a more muted version of terracotta, so it has definite brown undertones. I happen to like that because it’s a more natural shade.
Complementary Colors for Cavern Clay (Plus Other Clay Options!)
Officially, “complementary colors” are those that sit across the color wheel from each other.
In the case of Cavern Clay, that would be a shade of green.
Sherwin Williams Olympic Range (SW 7750)
Olympic range is a nice deep green that would look great with Cavern Clay and similar shades.
Benjamin Moore Fiddlehead Green (2041-20)
Benjamin Moore’s Fiddlehead Green is about as close as I could get to what would be the “official” complementary color for Cavern Clay. I don’t know how much I love the two together, but it is an option!
Here are a few more clay options, in darker and muted shades:
Sherwin Williams Canyon Clay (SW 6054)
Canyon Clay is a darker clay color with more red and brown tones than Cavern Clay. It would be a good choice if you don’t like the orange of Cavern Clay and want something a little quieter.
Benjamin Moore Charlton Brown (CW-265)
Charlton Brown is a really pretty natural color. It’s like a very deep terracotta, bordering on cognac. I’m not a huge fan of brown, but this one is cozy and versatile.
Benjamin Moore Twilight Dreams (049)
Twilight Dreams is similar to Canyon Clay – Sherwin Williams’ darker terracotta. I can tell you that the swatch in my graphic isn’t super accurate. Twilight Dreams in real life is a bit brighter. It’s like a rustic red-orange.
Cavern Clay Coordinating Colors
For this palette, I thought I would keep things earthy and natural.
Sherwin Williams Snowbound (7004)
Snowbound is a warm white by Sherwin Williams that is still nice and light. It is in the same orangey-red color family as Cavern Clay, so it would be a great choice for trim.
Sherwin Williams Fleur de Sel (7666)
Fleur de Sel is a soft greige that works with most other colors.
Sherwin Williams Sea Salt (6204)
Sea Salt is a gray green that is a bit more neutral than others. It looks great with Cavern Clay as a more muted complementary color.
Read all about it: Sherwin Williams Sea Salt (Complete Review and Color Matches!)
Sherwin Williams Naturel (7542)
Naturel is just like it sounds, a soft natural color.
If you like the look of this one, you might also like Shoji White, which is very similar.
Benjamin Moore Vintage Vogue (462)
I love Vintage Vogue! It’s a warmer green that looks pretty sagey in real life.
Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze (7048)
Urbane Bronze is also a once-upon-a-time Color of the Year by Sherwin Williams. It is a dark charcoal brown that really does have a bronzey tone.
Urbane Bronze is a great fellow earthy tone to pair with Cavern Clay.
After I made this color palette, I realized that it could have easily been inspired by Madison’s house (@withmadisonaz) :
You can see much more of Madison’s trendy home in my posts:
Cavern Clay Exterior
Choosing Cavern Clay for an exterior is probably reserved for the bold, but if you want to know how it could look, and what trim colors to use, look no further!
On a home with typical vinyl siding, this is the closest picture that I could find to a Cavern Clay exterior:
I do think that’s pretty darn close! It might be a bit bright, but it’s in warm direct sunlight in that picture.
For a trim shade similar to this, try using Cavern Clay with Sherwin Williams Wool Skein.
If you think about it, Cavern Clay is similar to a red brick exterior, so if you want to use a terracotta on your house, choose colors that you like with red brick.
This brick home is very similar in tone to Cavern Clay:
Try using Benjamin Moore White Dove on your trim to get the look.
You might be thinking that Cavern Clay is too non-traditional to use on your exterior, but once you look around, it’s almost a classic!
Here is a typical southwestern clay colored exterior:
I would certainly consider Cavern Clay if I was repainting a stucco house. It would be fun to revamp a 60’s bungalow in a different style.
We’re not done yet with classic inspiration! Take Venice as another source:
This clay color is ALL OVER in historical cities if you look for it.
Cavern Clay Front Door
Here is how Cavern Clay would look on a front door:
This color is actually a bit brighter, so Cavern Clay would be more subtle, but you can see that it looks great with the Hale Navy siding, and even with the grayish accent color.
Cavern Clay Kitchen Cabinets
As you might imagine, finding SW Cavern Clay on cabinets is pretty difficult!
I love to answer EVERY possible question however, and I know clay colored cabinet people will find themselves here while they are pondering, so I did my best!
Here is a 3D rendering that I found of similar colored cabinets:
I think it would be smart to use Cavern Clay on very simple and modern cabinets like this. I happen to love how it looks with the marble too!
Cavern Clay Accent Walls
Feature walls appear to be the number one place that people choose to use Cavern Clay!
Living Room Featuring Sherwin Williams Cavern Clay
This first home was redesigned by Sarah Rice of @sarahricedesign.
Sarah used Cavern Clay as a pop of color in the alcoves of this otherwise neutral living space.
The accent wall is the focal point of the living room, but the little alcoves were not left out.
Love that shot!
Before we leave the living room, let’s take a quick peek at the feature wall in Rachel’s home (@rachelleahjohn).
SW Cavern Clay Office Accent Wall
This next home features just a dash of Cavern Clay, similar to the alcoves that Sarah styled.
Ashley (@ludic_living) painted a trendy arch in her office.
How chic is this work from home setup?
Ashley had previously used Cavern Clay on (or rather around) her basement bar:
Fancy a drink?
The fastest, easiest, and most affordable way to test your paint colors, is by ordering a peel-and-stick sample!
Samplize will ship you a large “sticker” made of actual paint. You can reposition it to check out the color in every area of your home.
The best part? It often ends up being cheaper than buying the test pots and sampling the old fashioned way. (Plus you can order all the colors you want!)
Canadian? Hello Paint does the same thing, without the expensive international shipping.
Cavern Clay Compared to Other Sherwin Williams Paint Colors
Here are two other popular Sherwin Williams colors that you might come across when looking at Cavern Clay:
Cavern Clay vs Spiced Cider (SW 7702 )
Spiced Cider is lighter and peachier than Cavern Clay. It has an LRV of 23.
It is actually from the same Sherwin Williams color strip as Cavern Clay.
Cavern Clay vs Canyon Clay (SW 6054)
Canyon Clay is another earthy color by Sherwin Williams, but it’s closer to an actual brown clay color than a terracotta.
It is also darker than Cavern Clay, with an LRV of 13.
Cavern Clay Paint Color Dupes
If you’ve had a wander through my articles, you know that I love a good dupe!
Let’s take a look at Cavern Clay alternatives from other brands:
Benjamin Moore Cavern Clay
From Benjamin Moore, I found one pretty good dupe for Cavern Clay: Montana Agate.
Benjamin Moore Montana Agate (056)
Montana Agate is a slightly lighter and brighter version of Cavern Clay, but it’s still pretty close.
THe LRV of Montana Agate is 22.2.
Behr Cavern Clay
I got about as close to Cavern Clay in Behr paint, as I did in Benjamin Moore. The best color match that I found was Iced Tea.
Behr Iced Tea (230D-6)
Iced Tea is nearly identical to Benjamin Moore Montana Agate. As you would expect, it is also lighter and brighter than Cavern Clay, but Iced Tea is even a little more so than Montana Agate.
The LRV of Behr Iced Tea is 23.
Valspar Cavern Clay
Valspar has the best dupe for Cavern Clay hands down, with their shade Bear Claw.
Bear Claw (2004-5A)
I can’t help but think this is a very strange name for a clay color. Valspar’s interpretation of “bear claw” looks like neither the real thing or the cookie.
Bear Claw is just the teeniest, tiniest bit darker than Cavern Clay.
Valspar says that the LRV of Bear Claw is 17.308, but their numbers are always very different than other brands. It is probably closer to 19.3.
Cavern Clay Final Moody Musings
How does Cavern Clay leave you feeling? This Sherwin Williams shade wasn’t my favorite at first, but I’ve really come to appreciate how versatile it is!
- Use Cavern Clay when you need a pop of color that acts like a neutral
- Cavern Clay loooves to be paired with greens and other earthy or natural tones
- A little fearful? Paint furniture, built-ins, or accessories for an accent instead of your walls
Not quite right? Check out these other tempting tones:
Don’t Forget Your Supplies!
This little brush might look funny, but it’s my absolute ride or die!
Rollers like these hold the most paint and make the job faster. Get a metal roller cage for easy on and off.
DryDex is the fastest (and funnest!) way to make chips and dents disappear. (Make sure you get a small spackling tool that actually fits in the container, and a sanding sponge.)
This tool will save your back and limit time on a ladder.