A dark chocolate brown with tricky violet undertones suggested as an alternative to black for base and accent color in traditional and modern design projects.

LRV 4.79

Out of the 2023 color trends list at Benjamin Moore, Wenge deserves first place for the deepest and darkest paint color. Let’s start with the name. Wenge is a precious type of dark wood whose color resonates with the paint color we discuss. Yet, there is more to the hue known under code AF-180. It is a chocolate brown shade with sparkles of violet, very close to black. What’s more, there is definitely a tinge of drama and the slightest feeling of comfort that interconnect with each other for a paint color that makes you question the formality of dark colors. Let’s find the answers behind Wenge by Benjamin Moore!

Wenge Paint Color Features

Wenge is a very dark and audacious color. Unlike its colleague, Cinnamon, from the same collection of trendy colors at Benjamin Moore, which is a bright orange-brown with earthy undertones, Wenge is quite the opposite – dark, fully neutral, and more stable in terms of integration into interior design. Like most trendy colors, this one gets inspiration from nature and serves as a hue that goes both as an accent and background. The dark chocolate base polished with violet, yet very close to black, opens a new point of view for dark paint colors. Despite its exclusive sober feature, Wenge hides comfort and warmth.

Wenge: Is It Warm or Cold?

Wenge seems to be a dark and cool paint color on the sample. When applied to a wall or piece of furniture, Wenge is pretty warm, particularly when exposed to direct sunlight. This is why colorists from Benjamin Moore don’t describe it as a dark chocolate tone with an imposing personality that feels cold and unapproachable. They regard it as a pleasantly dark paint that reveals a new perspective on comfort-inducing colors, which can easily be a dark shade like this. The violet-brown easily creates a sense of home and makes sure it feels trendy. 

How Does Lighting Affect Wenge?

The same color can unfold different effects under different light exposures. Take, for example, a room with south or east-facing windows. Wenge will appear much warmer and cozier, particularly if the sun rays allow themselves the liberty of joyfully playing on a surface painted this way. 

The scenario makes a totally different turn on the other side of the house. The same Wenge we have recently discovered as warm reveals those cool purple undertones that make it stand out in the brown group. Still appealing and preserving the charm, this paint color cannot go unnoticed in a north or west-facing room as well. 

At night, Wenge acquires more of a balanced brown veil. Maybe slightly violet, subtly cool, or warm depending on the artificial light temperature, yet not devoid of what makes it the shade it is – an enchanting brown full of body and character. 

Wenge LRV

New to color reviews? The Light Reflectance Value shows how light or bright the paint color is depending on how much light it bounces back. For the trendy brown color that this article is dedicated to, it is a value of 4.79. Can you imagine how dark this is? On a scale from 0 to 100, the former stands for true black shades. Now, you totally get it. 

The most interesting thing is how Wenge still manages to be warm, cozy, and familiar and make you stay longer in a space fully painted this way, even with an LRV like this. Colorists from Benjamin Moore surely won with this one. 

Wenge Undertones

Nothing new on the horizon. All you should know are the already mentioned brown, black, and violet undertones in this dark chocolate shade. Still, note that the tricky purple traces may vary in intensity, showing a cooler variation under cold lighting and feeling much more welcoming with warm light conditions or fully disappearing from the palette. 

Similar Colors

Of course, no other paint can perfectly show off the same combination of dark brown, black, and purple. However, the selection of available paint colors at Benjamin Moore and other beloved brands is worth giving a thought if your inner self fancies a slightly darker, lighter, deeper, or softer variation of chocolate. We are more than happy to share our findings.

  • Caponata AF-650 by Benjamin Moore – a rich brown tone, slightly lighter than Wenge, with a more velvety appearance, all due to the brighter purple undertones;
  • Night Shade 2116-10 by Benjamin Moore – a muted dark brown with a great combination of black and violet under a soft veil that seems lighter and slightly dusty in contrast with Wenge;
  • Black Bean Soup 2130-10 by Benjamin Moore – an even lighter brown variation than the previous shade as an alternative for spaces with smaller access to light;
  • Bittersweet Chocolate 2114-10 by Benjamin Moore – black color with brown and violet undertones that may share the same effect as Wenge under poorer light conditions;
  • Black Bean SW 6006 by Sherwin-Williams – almost the same chocolate shade as Wenge diluted with a drop of water for a slightly lighter alternative;
  • Rockweed SW 2735 by Sherwin-Williams – a mix of brown and violet paired with perceivable gray, which makes it a perfect replacement for Wenge in poorly lit spaces;
  • Raisin SW 7630 by Sherwin-Williams – a dark brown injected with purple, where the latter feels a tiny bit more perceived here than at Wenge;
  • Bitter Chocolate 1 by Dulux – the same pairing of brown and purple accompanied by an additional hint of gray for a perfect, slightly lighter alternative to Wenge, which, again, works for spaces that receive less light;
  • Black Garnet N110-7 by Behr – a much lighter combination of brown, violet, and, this time – gray for those who like the pairing yet need a lighter shade than Wenge.

Coordinating Colors

Professionals advise combining the dark chocolate shade with true light colors, such as classy whites or warmer whites, the latter perfectly resonating with the warm brown base of Wenge. Colorists suggest not giving up on other more unusual pairings, say dark chocolate and light or medium shades of gray for a more traditional look or shades of light purple or green for a more natural and organically pleasing ambiance. Get the exact color matches:

  • White Heron OC-57 by Benjamin Moore –  a go-to white shade you cannot go wrong with, particularly if paired with contrastive colors;
  • Majestic Mauve 2115-60 by Benjamin Moore – a foggy lilac variation with the tiniest drop of gray to resonate with the purple hint in the trendy chocolate shade;
  • Crystalline AF-485 by Benjamin Moore – a pure silver hue that can serve as a more intense alternative with a twist to classy white when looking for neutral companions;
  • Flora AF-470 by Benjamin Moore – a light blue-green resembling a balanced gray that doesn’t feel as stark as white when combined with dark colors, yet it seems more natural in contrast.

Use of Wenge AF-180 in the Interior

No secret, the deep brown with additional undertones is a bit hard to work with. Not every furnishing would stand out on such a dark background, and not every color palette would accept such a sophisticated shade as an accent. Yet, Wenge is one of the trendiest paint colors. Designers have a few tips for lovers of this paint color. Firstly, use it in spaces with a prevailing neutral color scheme; it will help the design feel balanced and preserve integrity. Wenge works as perfectly at mediating the color palette in a colorful space. Last but not least, use it as a base color to induce a tiny bit of drama or add visual interest by choosing a piece of furniture painted in dark brown.

Old Money Aesthetics

Wenge is roaring new Classic vibes. The growing design direction, Old Money style, celebrates every corner of the room with decor, beautiful molding, or antiques. Wenge is a great color for walls in a space decorated in the updated Classic with expensive wood or stone texture, such as marble, classy patterns, such as plaid, black and white palettes, metal accents of gold, centerpiece chandeliers, and the absolute must – antique pieces, collectibles, or inherited items. 

People are tired of styles – trendy today, out-of-trend tomorrow. They want design styles that pass the test of time. And for amateurs of classy solutions, Old Money is a great decision. A lounge zone, bedroom, dining area, kitchen, and even bathroom are possible to decorate in this style. By the way, you better go with the Old Money style for the whole house rather than for one room only. It’s a lifestyle. 

Classic Bedroom

Spacious bedrooms decorated in the Classic design style are the greatest choice for Wenge. Consider the paint color for the walls and ceiling. Don’t overlook wall trim instead of plan surfaces. A large bed in light shades, two similar nightstands in black, a button-tufted bed foot bench, a few classic seats, and the irreplaceable gold accents for the chandelier, decorative mirror frame, and wall sconces. Opt for large pots with big-leaf indoor plants to refresh the sober environment. To give it a modern flair, decorate the space with two huge mushroom table lamps in white. 

Kitchen with a Drama Effect

Here, you have a few options. If a modern kitchen with wood texture feels close to your heart, consider dark chocolate paint for an accent wall to visually enhance the color palette. An even more interesting idea is to decorate the cooking space with a combination of Wenge and marble; you won’t believe what is next – navy blue.

It’s impressive how good the deep chocolate shade looks paired with raw wood texture in a Rustic kitchen. To preserve the rough effect, switch from white for the ceiling to a lighter shade of brown. Decluttered horizontal spaces, no window treatment, a minimalist approach to decor. If you dare introduce a new pop of color, make sure it is black or another dark shade. You are allowed to refresh the color code with a light marble backsplash. 

Modern Apartment Style

Celebrating the ultra-modern features of contemporary interiors, designers suggest updating your modern apartment with a new color, which, of course, is Wenge. Painting the walls and ceiling entirely in chocolate paint, ensuring warm ambient lighting, considering warm wood flooring, LED strips to underline the borders, and black furnishing, with a few gray textiles items, is a combination the designers would use as reference. 

Sleek, contemporary, and perfect for lovers of minimalist and cozy spaces. Frankly speaking, the color scheme may seem relatively dark. Yet, an ambiance that feels overwhelming for some may be the dream environment for others who find calmness in dark colors with warm undertones. 

Bathroom with Taste

Dark colors are not that common in bathrooms. Wenge is a totally new story. Depending on the lighting, it may seem cooler or warmer, yet definitely welcoming. Your bathroom will seem more special if you apply it to the walls or the vanity cabinet. Consider hanging lighting fixtures to show off the beautiful color in the best light ever. A white bathtub against a wall painted this way will simply roar lush, while a pairing between touch-to-open cabinets painted in the intense chocolate shade and muted burgundy walls is a mix you didn’t think of till now, and it is a shame passing by such a solution without giving it a thought. 

Use of Wenge for the Exterior

Wenge is natural, and it organically integrates into the outdoor landscape. Since it is pretty dark and saturated, it excellently stands out when interacting with direct natural light. From a chocolate front door on a crispy white background to a chocolate house with white trim and, guess what – green roof. The latter option is a perfect disguise for a vacation house in the woods so that it nicely blends with the brown and green surroundings. 

The Wenge AF-180 paint color by Benjamin Moore is the new dark neutral professional designers and colorists won’t stop speaking about for years. Can a trendy chocolate shade that brings drama and comfort to the most exclusive and timeless designs go out of trend any time soon? Surely not. Don’t hesitate to give it a chance the next time you repaint your interior or exterior.

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