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Step into Soot: Benjamin Moore’s Most Dramatic Charcoal

    Soot is a dramatic and bold backdrop for any decor style. It really makes lighter colors and furniture pop! The secret to this color is its subtle saturation. It looks gray/navy bordering on black, but it has a lot of depth!

    Benjamin Moore Soot swatched beside an iron kettle in a smokey fireplace

    Here we will see Soot in real homes, check out a color palette, and copy the look with dupes from other brands!

    This post may contain affiliate links. Should you choose to make a purchase through one of my links, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. I only recommend products that I use.

    What Color is Benjamin Moore Soot (2129-20)

    Benjamin Moore Soot is a charcoal navy blue paint color. You could also describe it as a soft black or off-black with strong blue undertones.

    Benjamin Moore Soot paint dollop over a background of ashy plumes from a volcano

    It can look like a black paint color, but it will not look like a true black all the time.

    LRV of Benjamin Moore Soot

    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.

    The LRV of Soot is 6.19.

    Benjamin Moore Soot plotted at 6.19 on an LRV chart from 0 (black) to 100 (white)

    Anything with an LRV under 10 is a truly dark paint color, and most black paints are in the 3 to 5 range.

    At 6.19, Soot is very close to being a black paint, but not quite there.

    What Are the Undertones of Soot

    As I mentioned earlier, Soot has strong blue undertones. I would classify it as a dark gray-blue and not necessarily black, so the “undertones” are pretty obvious.

    Benjamin Moore Soot paint dot beside a hex chart of the color, over a background of charcoal wood

    As far as dark paint colors go, Soot is actually pretty saturated. It will look a bit more “colorful” on the wall than many other soft blacks do, even in the same LRV range.

    Is Soot Warm or Cool

    Soot is most definitely a cool paint color. It is squarely in the blue region of the color wheel. Other deep blues can lean purple or green, but Soot is about as cool and blue as it gets.

    Benjamin Moore Soot Color Strip

    Here are all of the colors from the Benjamin Moore color strip that Soot is found on:

    Benjamin Moore Soot Color Strip features from light to dark: Silver Cloud, Mt Rainier Gray, Winter Lake, Normandy, Blue Note, Soot, and Midnight Dream

    Lighter Version of Soot

    Benjamin Moore Blue Note is one shade lighter than Soot on the same color strip. It’s a very popular gray blue.

    You might also like Benjamin Moore Hale Navy as a lighter alterntive.

    Darker Version of Soot

    Benjamin Moore Midnight Dream is one shade darker on the same color strip. Technically it’s barely darker, with an LRV just over 4, but it’s less saturated so this is how it reads darker.

    Benjamin Moore Soot in a Color Palette

    I won’t even lie to you, I was riding the struggle bus when it comes to a color palette for Soot. I was totally loving this Portuguese inspired tile, but choosing on theme colors was hard!

    Benjamin Moore Soot Color Palette features Soot, and coordinating colors Manchester Tan, Sabre Gray, Yin Yang, Simply White, and Silver Drop

    At the end of the day, a deep gray-navy like Soot can be used pretty much like a neutral. Coordinating blues are about the only colors that you need to be careful with.

    I really think that Soot can go with practically any gray, beige, white, green, yellow, or even terracotta.

    Graphic reads "Nail down your neutral color scheme in 60 minutes or less" with an image of the foolproof neutrals ebook. Button below reads "Show me how!"

    Coordinating Colors for Benjamin Moore Soot

    Here are the coordinating colors that I chose for this color palette:

    Behr Silver Drop

    Benjamin Moore Soot Paint drop beside a paint drop of Coordinating Color Behr Silver Drop

    Silver Drop is a very soft greige paint color that can have a touch of blue and even green undertones.

    Bonus: It’s very close to the color family where you can find Soot’s complementary color.

    Read more about this color: Behr Silver Drop Will Keep You Guessing! (Complete Review & Dupes)

    Benjamin Moore Simply White

    Benjamin Moore Soot Paint drop beside a paint drop of Coordinating Color Benjamin Moore Simply White

    Simply White is a creamy white that is still really nice and bright. It will bring a welcome warmth to any space where you are using Soot.

    See more here: Simply White: A Benjamin Moore Classic (Plus Alternatives!)

    Benjamin Moore Yin Yang

    I spent approximately one million years too many trying to pick a nice bright blue to go with Soot. I finally settled on Benjamin Moore Ying Yang:

    Benjamin Moore Soot Paint drop beside a paint drop of Coordinating Color Benjamin Moore Yin Tang

    Yin Yang is in the same color family as Soot. It would look super nice with Soot used as an alternative to Black.

    Benjamin Moore Manchester Tan

    Manchester Tan was needed to bring a little bit more warmth to this otherwise cool color palette:

    Benjamin Moore Soot Paint drop beside a paint drop of Coordinating Color Benjamin Moore Manchester Tan

    Soot would look great with pretty much any tan or beige, so you might also like Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige.

    You can see more from this color here: Benjamin Moore Manchester Tan (Review and Dupes of The Cheeriest Beige!)

    The only color that I would not use both Soot and Manchester Tan with, is probably Sabre Gray.

    Benjamin Moore Sabre Gray

    Sabre Gray is a great alternative coordinating color if you don’t like warm colors like beige. Benjamin Moore describes it as a “Steely gray”:

    Benjamin Moore Soot Paint drop beside a paint drop of Coordinating Color Benjamin Moore Sabre Gray

    Complementary Color for Benjamin Moore Soot

    The “Official” complementary color for Soot (the color directly across the wheel) would be a deep gray brown. You could use something like Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze, and that would be a great idea for something like exterior trim with Soot:

    Paintbrush swipe of Urbane Bronze

    If you are not wanting to use another deep dark color (totally understandable) you could go with a lightened version, which would be pretty close to Silver Drop.

    What Trim Colors Go With Benjamin Moore Soot?

    If you are looking at Soot as an option with existing wood trim, it would be a great choice!

    Benjamin Moore Soot on the walls with dark oak trim behind a gray sofa with white cushions
    Photo Credit: @minttomodern

    Soot is super neutral and looks good with all tones of wood! It will emphasize warm tones though, so if you want to tone down honey oak, this probably isn’t the one.

    White Paint that Goes with Soot

    Let’s take a look at a few popular white trim paints from Benjamin Moore with Soot:

    Benjamin Moore Soot behind a variety of popular trim whites including Cloud White, White Dove, Chantilly Lace, and Simply White

    Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace

    Chantilly Lace is my favorite Benjamin Moore white. It’s a crisp true white that isn’t cool or stark at all. With Soot, it will allow the color to do whatever it wants to.

    Read about it here: Your Guide to Using Chantilly Lace in 2023 (Plus Dupes!)

    Benjamin Moore Simply White

    Simply White is one of the brightest whites that Benjamin Moore offers, so it’s surprising how much creaminess it packs.

    Benjamin Moore Soot on vinyl siding with Simply White trim and veranda planter boxes with light purple petunias
    Photo Credit: @ourculvercasa

    Any creamy white will emphasize the blue in Soot a little bit, but Simply White will allow it to stay looking super dark.

    Benjamin Moore Cloud White

    Cloud White is more yellow than these other whites, so it will make Soot look the most blue. (Blue and yellow are opposite of each other on the color wheel.)

    Benjamin Moore White Dove

    White Dove is kind of a compromise white with Soot. It is creamy but not as yellow as cloud white. It is darker than Chantilly Lace and Simply White, so Soot won’t look quite as black.

    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.

    Benjamin Moore Soot Home Interior

    Let’s take a look at Soot in real life!

    Benjamin Moore Soot Living Room

    Starting in the living room, we have a gorgeous Victorian revival by @minttomodern:

    Benjamin Moore Soot in a Victorian revival living room with a light gray sofa and a view into the white kitchen with a matching Soot island
    Photo Credit: @minttomodern

    They chose smart furnishings to keep the space light, and they have lots of natural light!

    Side angle of Benjamin Moore Soot on a living room wall in a Victorian home with a dark wood fireplace and white crown moulding and ceiling
    Photo Credit: @minttomodern

    It’s a bit hard to understand how this space stays sooo liveable, because Soot is a lot. If you think you have the guts and the light to paint your whole living room with Soot, I say go for it! Clearly it can be done well!

    Here is a lower light shot where Soot looks more cozy:

    Benjamin Moore Soot on a living room wall in a Victorian home with a dark wood fireplace, white crown moulding, and a light gray overstuffed chair
    Photo Credit: @minttomodern

    You can still see that the window is letting in a lot of light, so this certainly isn’t the darkest that Soot could look.

    One more of this gorgeous space:

    Benjamin Moore Soot on a living room wall in a Victorian home with a dark wood fireplace
    Photo Credit: @minttomodern

    In this shot you have an idea of how Soot would look on a feature or accent wall. It definitely brings your eye straight to that wall!

    Benjamin Moore Soot Bathroom

    Now we can see Soot in a space where it does look as dark as possible:

    Benjamin Moore Soot on the top half of a wall with white wainscoting on the lower half and a clawfoot tub. A snake plant sits on the floor in a white pot.
    Photo Credit: @minttomodern

    In this bathroom it looks pretty close to black.

    Benjamin Moore Soot on the top half of a wall with white wainscoting on the lower half and a clawfoot tub. A snake plant sits on the checkered floor in a white pot.
    Photo Credit: @minttomodern

    I’m really impressed with the color palette in here. In my own home I probably would have struggled to match anything with that flooring, but it all ties together so well.

    Benjamin Moore Soot on the top half of a wall with white wainscoting on the lower half and a clawfoot tub
    Photo Credit: @minttomodern

    Benjamin Moore Soot in a Dining Room

    Here we have something akin to Soot in a dining room.

    Soot looking inky black beside an opening into a white dining room
    Photo Credit: @minttomodern

    I thought that it was Soot in a dining room with a mirror on the wall, but then I realized that I was a dumb-dumb and that’s an actual opening.

    …but the thought stands! Soot would make a great backdrop for your dining room furniture.

    Benjamin Moore Soot in a Bedroom

    Unfortunately for us, I didn’t find Soot in a bedroom, so here is one of our dupes, Sherwin Williams Cyberspace:

    Another angle of man bedroom with Cyberspace shiplap ceiling and natural wood beams
    Photo Credit: @in_vest_homes

    Boldly putting Soot on the ceiling? Why not! I’ve seen the black ceiling trend a few times now, and I’m not mad about it.

    Benjamin Moore Soot in a Kitchen and on Cabinets

    The first kitchen I have that features Soot on an island, is by @contourcabinets:

    Benjamin Moore soot on a kitchen island with camel colored leather barstools and white walls
    Photo Credit: @contourcabinets

    Soot looks much more charcoal than navy in this particular shot!

    This next kitchen is by the team at The Finishing Room (@thefinishingroommke):

    Benjamin Moore Soot lower cabinets on a peninsula
    Photo Credit: @thefinishingroommke

    The used Soot on the peninsula in this kitchen with Sherwin Williams Pure White on the perimeter cabinets:

    Benjamin Moore Soot lower cabinets on a peninsula. Wall cabinets behind are Sherwin Williams Pure White
    Photo Credit: @thefinishingroommke

    Soot Walls With Oak Cabinets

    There aren’t a ton of colors that can make oak cabinets look fresh again, but I happen to think that Soot is one of them!

    Here is an example:

    Benjamin Moore Soot with oak cabinets and white subway tile

    Benjamin Moore Soot Exterior

    Soot is a popular color for exteriors because it’s a nice deep color without being an actual black. Please bear in mind that any color looks lighter outside!

    This first home is a lake house (@ourculvercasa) that features Benjamin Moore Soot on the siding and Simply White on the trim.

    Benjamin Moore Soot siding on a two storey lake house style exterior with Simply White trim
    Photo Credit: @ourculvercasa

    In this first image, Soot is pretty bang on. It looks deep, dark, and just a little navy.

    Benjamin Moore Soot siding on a two storey lake house style exterior with Simply White trim
    Photo Credit: @ourculvercasa

    In this next photo Soot looks a touch more blue:

    Benjamin Moore Soot siding on a two storey lake house style exterior with Simply White trim, a stone walkway and a copper mailbox out front

    On this next house – @thehomeonfairview – Soot looks even more blue:

    Soot looking navy blue on a two storey exterior with white trim and a black door
    Photo Credit: @thehomeonfairview

    Again it looks quite blue here, but that is largely from the sky’s reflection:

    Benjamin Moore Soot looking navy blue in the sky's reflection on an exterior
    Photo Credit: @thehomeonfairview

    This image is very tiny, but you can see that Soot looks a bit more like you would expect:

    Benjamin Moore Sooot on the exterior siding of a two storey home with white trim and creamy white shutters
    Photo Credit: @thehomeonfairview

    If your goal is to keep Soot looking more charcoal or black than navy, try using a very cool white for trim. Think something like Behr Bakery Box, which is a bright white with blue undertones.

    Anything creamy and/or yellow will likely bring out the blue more, as blue and yellow are complementary colors.

    You could also try a different color entirely. You might prefer Sherwin Williams Iron Ore, it’s a sometimes-cool charcoal, but it always stays charcoal.

    Soot on Trim and Front Door

    Soot isn’t really the top of anyone’s list when it comes to trim, likely because it is pretty blue and not a totally plain charcoal or black, but I think that should change!

    Unfortunately for us, it hasn’t yet, so here are a couple of lookalikes:

    Small cottage with a Benjamin Moore Soot lookalike on trim. The rest of the house is a creamy off white stucco.
    Photo Credit: @peanutbuttertoast

    If I had to guess the colors on the stucco, it looks to me like the upper part of the house is similar to Benjamin Moore Dove Wing, and the lower is close to Benjamin Moore White Dove. The texture on the top and bottom is different though, so that can sometimes account for a bigger color shift than you expect.

    The brick trim is similar to Sherwin Williams Oyster Bay.

    This next home is another decent Soot lookalike, this time leaning more navy:

    3 storey brick tudor home with green siding on the top levels and Benjamin Moore Soot lookalike trim

    This gives you a pretty good idea of how Soot would pop on a brick home.

    I’m not sure what either of these colors actually are, so who’s to say they aren’t Soot?

    The tudor will have to do as our example for a Soot front door too, because I really went hunting and couldn’t find a better example. (Whomp whomp.)

    Soot Compared to Other Soft Black Paint Colors

    The “Black” paint world is a confusing and saturated one! Here is Benjamin Moore Soot compared to several other popular colors:

    Benjamin Moore Soot vs Black Panther

    Black Panther is a little bit warmer than Soot, and a whooole lot more gray.

    Benjamin Moore Black Panther vs Soot on a large swatch, with similar colors Cheating Heart, French Beret, Midnight, Onyx, Raccoon Fur, and Railings swatched smaller down the right hand side.

    Technically Black Panther is a tiny bit lighter (less than one LRV point) but it will most likely read darker on the wall because it isn’t as “bright” and saturated a color.

    Benjamin Moore Soot vs Cheating Heart

    Benjamin Moore Cheating Heart is in the exact same blue area on the color wheel as Soot, but it’s a bit lighter and loads more gray.

    Benjamin Moore Cheating Heart vs Soot on a large swatch, with similar colors Cheating Heart, French Beret, Midnight, Onyx, Raccoon Fur, and Railings swatched smaller down the right hand side.

    Benjamin Moore Soot vs French Beret

    Just like Cheating Heart, Benjamin Moore French Beret is also in the exact same blue area as Soot, it’s lighter, and its much more gray. French Beret however is just a little more saturated than Cheating Heart is.

    Benjamin Moore French Beret vs Soot on a large swatch, with similar colors Cheating Heart, French Beret, Midnight, Onyx, Raccoon Fur, and Railings swatched smaller down the right hand side.

    Benjamin Moore Soot vs Midnight

    Benjamin Moore has a bunch of dark colors that start with the word “Midnight” : Midnight Oil, Midnight Blue, etc. The color I am talking about now though, is simply called “Midnight.”

    Benjamin Moore Midnight vs Soot on a large swatch, with similar colors Cheating Heart, French Beret, Midnight, Onyx, Raccoon Fur, and Railings swatched smaller down the right hand side.

    Midnight is actually pretty similar to Soot. It is just a tiny bit darker, a tiny bit less saturated (more gray), and a little bit more to the aqua side of blue. All are very subtle differences.

    Benjamin Moore Soot vs Onyx

    Benjamin Moore Onyx is a true black paint color with very little pigment in it. It will have minimal to no undertone and shouldn’t really read blue like Soot does.

    (It may on occasion, particularly in a higher sheen, and depending on the reflections around.)

    Benjamin Moore Onyx vs Soot on a large swatch, with similar colors Cheating Heart, French Beret, Midnight, Onyx, Raccoon Fur, and Railings swatched smaller down the right hand side.

    Benjamin Moore Soot vs Raccoon Fur

    Benjamin Moore Raccoon Fur is lighter and more gray than Soot. It is also slightly closer to the green side of blue than Soot is, but minimally so.

    Benjamin Moore Raccoon Fur vs Soot on a large swatch, with similar colors Cheating Heart, French Beret, Midnight, Onyx, Raccoon Fur, and Railings swatched smaller down the right hand side.

    Benjamin Moore Soot vs Farrow and Ball Railings

    Farrow & Ball Railings is a very similar color to Soot. It is ever so slightly: Deeper blue, darker, and more gray than Soot.

    Farrow and Ball Railings vs Soot on a large swatch, with similar colors Cheating Heart, French Beret, Midnight, Onyx, Raccoon Fur, and Railings swatched smaller down the right hand side.

    Benjamin Moore Soot vs Witching Hour

    Benjamin Moore Witching Hour is a slightly deeper blue than the one that Soot comes from. It’s also a little bit lighter and more gray.

    Benjamin Moore Witching Hour vs Soot on a large swatch, with similar colors Cheating Heart, French Beret, Midnight, Onyx, Raccoon Fur, and Railings swatched smaller down the right hand side.

    Benjamin Moore Soot vs Wrought Iron

    Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron is a true deep charcoal. It is technically in the same color family as Soot, but looks slightly smokey rather than blue (at least in my opinion). It is lighter than Soot and much more gray.

    Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron vs Soot on a large swatch, with similar colors Cheating Heart, French Beret, Midnight, Onyx, Raccoon Fur, and Railings swatched smaller down the right hand side.

    Dupes for Benjamin Moore Soot from Other Brands

    Speaking of colors that are similar to Soot: How can you get the look in another brand?

    Never fear, the dupes are here!

    Graphic reads "Benjamin Moore Soot Dupes" and features paint dots of Soot, Cyberspace, Ink Black, and Chimney Smoke, over a white background with black smoke rising

    Sherwin Williams Soot Equivalent

    The best color match for Soot from Sherwin Williams, is the color Cyberspace.

    Sherwin Williams Cyberspace

    Cyberspace is a little bit lighter and more gray than Soot. It’s also ever so slightly closer to the purple side of blue.

    Sherwin Williams alternative to Soot: Cyberspace, on half of a wall behind a gray wood bed with all gray and blue bedding, with Soot on the other half.

    While I would not say that Cyberspace looks purple, it would be slightly more purple if swatched right beside Soot.

    I loooove Cyberspace. Like Soot, it works with so many other colors. You can read my complete review here: Sherwin Williams Cyberspace (The Moodiest Charcoal Blue!)

    Valspar (Lowe’s) Equivalent to Soot

    I know Valspar doesn’t get the same amount of love that the other brands do, but this time they really pulled it off with their dupe for Soot!

    Valspar Chimney Smoke

    Chimney Smoke is just the tiniest bit lighter than Soot, and a whiff closer to aqua.

    Valspar alternative to Soot: Chimney Smoke, on half of a wall behind a light blue sofa, with Soot on the other half.

    This one is an incredibly close match! Depending on your screen you may not even see the line. (On mobile you probably can.)

    Soot Behr Equivalent (Home Depot)

    Not to be forgotten, I also have a dupe from Home Depot. The best color match for Soot that Behr makes, is the shade Ink Black:

    Behr Ink Black

    Ink Black is slightly lighter and grayer than Soot.

    Behr alternative to Soot: Ink Black, on half of a wall behind a small console table and wooden chair, with Soot on the other half.

    Behr does not have nearly the deep gray and black range that the big brands have (in my opinion) so this is the best we can do. In terms of color it’s pretty close, just not as deep.

    Graphic reads "Benjamin Moore Soot Dupes" and features swatches of Cyberspace, Ink Black, and Chimney Smoke, over a Soot background with white smoke rising up.

    Soot Pros & Cons

    Thanks so much for reading to the end! That really helps my blog <3

    Let’s do a quick recap of Soot!

    Pros

    • Pretty neutral
    • A softer alternative to a true black
    • A really saturated charcoal navy

    Cons

    • Can look very navy (not necessarily bad, but not ideal if you want charcoal)
    • Not a true black

    Want more? Here are some other posts that I know you’re going to love!

    Graphic reads spicy black interior doors over a mexican style bathroom with a black door
    Cyberspace Swatch over a living room with a cyberspace wall
    Swatch of Hale Navy over a background of a Hale Navy wall with a wood mantled fireplace