I want to spend a good chunk of the summer focused on updating the exterior of our Wisconsin cabin. I’ve got big plans, and at the top of the list is a new paint job. Since the day we looked at it, we talked about eventually painting it black. I like the grey-green color that the board and batten is stained now, but it has already faded in the two summers we have been here. It needed to be freshened up, and for us it was the perfect opportunity to take it to a darker place.
There is something so striking about seeing a dark cabin next to a back drop of lush green trees and evergreens. It’s so simple and basic, but also sophisticated and kinda epic, I wanted that for our cabin but with a green twist. Green has become such a theme for us at the cabin, it’s become the common thread that pulls the whole place together. I really wanted to continue with the repetition of green hues, and find a deep black with a green undertone – or should I say, find a dark green that is nearly black.
Have I mentioned that WestWisco house painters are rare and elusive, and usually have their calendars pushed out an entire year? I had no idea. If you want to pick up a trade in the north woods, you’ll be in high demand if you’re a painter. After reaching out to multiple painters in the area and being rejected over and over, we were able to find a really capable painter and we are on his calendar for early June!! He was very knowledgeable and thorough, and I’m feeling like the cabin will be in good hands. He is going to be using Benjamin Moore Aura exterior paint, but before he even touches a paint can, he’s going to sand, caulk and repair some of the mildew-y areas on the siding. Then he will prime and paint two coats of the BM Aura. Super stoked about the entire vibe we are getting from this company.
I’m considering a few different paint colors. See below.
Black Forest Green
So, I really like this but I am concerned that it will read as green first and black second, and I want a color that reads as green, but then also black. Does that make sense? I do like it, and have not fully counted it out yet. Please weigh in.
Black Deep River
This color is super pretty, and I would totally consider it iiiiiffffffff I didn’t want something that was more black. Not dark enough.
This is the color that I am leaning towards but I do have some concerns. I worry that it will read more blue than green as it does have some cooler undertones to it. What do you think?
I am also planning on sanding and staining the multi-level deck. I am already thinking I might be kinda crazy but it’s going to be a really big job, but I already started sanding and am feeling pretty committed to the process at this point. No matter what color I choose for the cabin, I know that I want a solid stain grey with a red undertone to it to compliment the dark green siding and tie-in the reddish roof shingles – which I am in no rush to change.
We’ll also be adding a new patio set to the deck which will really start to make it feel like a cohesive outdoor/indoor space in the summertime.
Check out my mock up and compare our current and future cabin. What do you think? I think an update could be good for this old place.
Wow. Team! You really came out with some good comments, so much so that I felt like I needed to round out this post. Choosing exterior paint colors is always tricky, isn’t it? I’m lucky that I don’t have to worry about any trim with this cabin, or then you’d really be in for a long post.
I feel like I know exactly what I want, but choosing the color is so tricky because paint changes, and it costs a crap ton of money to paint a building. It’s not one of those things that you can just re-do, so yeah, I tend to overthink it.
What I want is a black or nearly black color that looks green in the sunlight, and like a dark muted black or nearly black in the shade. Imagine sitting out by the fire and looking at the cabin, and all of a sudden the cabin you thought was black is really green because you just happened to catch in the right light at the right time of day – that’s what I want. I want it to be a chameleon, but I don’t want it change into a super saturated gem-y kelly green in the sunlight. I want the green undertones to lean to to the cooler side, but I don’t want them to be too teal – I kinda just want them to skirt the line between warm and cool. Is that possible? I dunno. For reference, the majority of the day our cabin is in the shade because it’s in the woods and it’s on the west side of the lake. We get sun in the morning when the sun rises and mid day when it’s nearly directly overhead.
Welcome to my crazy obsessive brain.
Middle : From The Fresh Exchange | A House Painted Black with Green Undertones
Bottom : From Country Living | A House Painted a Muted Grey Black with Warm Green Undertones
I hope that these photos help to illustrate how each of these paint colors might look on the house. The top is actually Black Forest Green, it’s so pretty and it’s definitely green but it can also read as black. The middle is probably my favorite of the three, it’s black but yet also green. It’s black first though, and then green as an afterthought, which is exactly what I was wanting. The bottom is still a beautiful color, but I think I just want to be a little bit bolder at the cabin.
In the Shade vs. In the Sun
I could pick a color so easily if it wasn’t for the difference between the sun and shade. In the shade I’m split between the Black Forest Green and the Black Knight, the Black Forest Green is perfectly both black and green and The Black Knight is black, but is it too black? In the sun I worry about the Black Forest Green being too intense and too saturated, and is the Black Knight green enough?
Here’s my photoshopped version of each color on the cabin. You can get a sense of both highlight and shadow in each image. So very confused, but at least I’m narrowing it down to just a few options, right?
If you feel like it, I’d love to know which you guys think is the prettiest! Seriously, you can sway me. Just leave a comment, #1, #2 or #3?
I love your cabin and I love all the options, including the color it is now, so I’m not much help, haha! I just found your blog recently and wanted to say your work is beautiful and I’m so happy I found you!
Hi Sarah, Thank you! That is really nice of you to stop and say. I’m glad you found the blog too.
don’t know how close their stores are to you, but I just wanted to plug Hallman Lindsay paints! they have beautiful colors, really good quality paint (I can vouch for their interior wall paint and exterior paint for our doors at least), and a most excellent company ethos. Made in Wisco <3 http://www.hallmanlindsay.com/
Thanks! I’ll be sure to check it out. My biggest fear about painting the cabin is having it fade. Our house in Minneapolis was painted dark blue and it faded on the south side within the first few years, which was such a bummer. I am ready to pay up for a paint that is fade resistant and durable.
I love that black knight and don’t think blue at all when I see it on my tiny phone screen, ha! That color is what I thought you might pick before reading your analysis. Strangely thrilled for you (looking forward to a much smaller job of painting our mini shed this year with some 4-year-old mural help).
Ha! I know, I should have probably titled this post “Painting the cabin Dark Green *ahem* I mean, Black. It’s hard to tell the subtle differences between the colors. Good luck with the shed! I always enjoyed getting my kids to help me when they were little.
I am totally convinced by your mock up. You go girl! :) Cheers from France!
Geraldine, Thank you! We’ll be visiting France this fall, can’t wait!
Nice! Do not hesitate to ask for recommandations. I can help with Paris and the South East part of the country (the Alps, Provence, French Riviera…). I would be glad to “send you back the elevator” aka “helping the ones who have help you” (in your case inspiring me about all I can do alone in my house. Setting the goal to DIY some lamps someday. I really like your design style too).
I painted my son’s bedroom in his new house black knight. It is a beautiful color! We love it.
Oooh, this is good to know. When searching I have only found it in interiors. It’s so hard to pick! I think any one of them would be beautiful.
Wow! It’s going to look great! Black Forests was my first pick, but I don’t think you’ll go wrong with Black Knight. It’s going to be beautiful!
I truly am torn. This house featured in Dwell is painted black forest green and I love how subtle the green is. My only concern is that it will look glaringly green when the sun hits it. I think that the next time I’m at the cabin I need to throw up some larger swatches. I still have a few weeks to decide.
What brand is the colors of paints? I love them all and considering them for our home!
Black Forest Green looks the most similar to what I pictured from your description of what you wanted!
Thanks, Danielle! I just posted a photo in the previous comment of what black forest green looks like on an exterior and I really do like it. I think I need to do a larger swatch and then maybe post some photos in an IG story in the shade and in the sun and see what THE PEOPLE think.
I like all of those options! Do you anticipate needing a new roof at any point? If so, you’d prob change the color, and want a paint to reflect it? So maybe go for a color that looks super good with the redish roof then opt for your ideal color when you replace the roof?
Not saying you have a bad roof – it looks perfectly beautiful to me.
I like the nearly black with a tint of green imho.
Hi friend! I think the roof is pretty new and if we were to change it in the future we’d probably go for a black color, because duh, black. Thanks for weighing in!
Our house is Deep River. We’re in St. Paul if you want to see it IRL. I love that it changes color through out the day, green, charcoal, black. I’ve had people knock on our door to tell us they like it.
Oooh, I bet it is so pretty. I think that it’s such a dynamic color, and I bet it looks great on your house. For the cabin we’ve made our decision that we really want to go nearly black, otherwise I would investigate the Deep River color further.
Good for you! Make a decision and just GO WITH IT. Not second guessing is the hardest part (for me, anyhow). Just wanted to mention it because sometimes seeing it in real life helps. Good luck!
I just saw your comment about your house in St Paul painted Deep River. I would love to see the color if you feel comfortable giving me the address, I am going crazy trying to find the right green for our home in Newport. I have so many paint samples my husband ready to kill me. Have you had issues with fading?
Yeah even before reading your thoughts on each colour I thought dark night read more blue than green in the undertones. I would go with Black Forest Green!
I worry about that too. I’m still so torn. Next time we’re back at the cabin we’re going to think long and hard about the paint color. I’ll probably end up having the cabin covered in swatches by the time we’re through.
Don’t know if this is helpful at all, but we painted our sitting room Obsidian Green by Little Greene. They said it’s the blackest green you can get, but that could just be this side of the pond! I wonder if it would be possible to have it mixed from a sample?
Hey Aileen, I checked out your green and it’s very pretty. I couldn’t find a retailer here in the US. I don’t know if this is true or not, but I am scared of getting the paint matched for something as big as a house. I would worry that the color hasn’t been tested by the company and because it’s on the exterior might be more prone to fading. Like I said, I have no idea if that’s true or not, but I just don’t want to risk it.
They all look great, but when I read what you are wanting in the color, black knight feels like the one that best fits the description!
Thanks, Kari! I’ll be sure to post an update once we make a decision. I am so confused at this point I’m not leaning either way. I just need to see them again, make a choice and then stop thinking about it.
Also, we miss you guys!
#3 black knight all the way. Looks best with the roof, actually feels black compared to the rest and doesn’t lean blue to my eyes at all. I can imagine it looking like a perfect hint of dark dark green in a patch of sun. The dark forest green looks like dark green to me and I bet it would really pop in the sun. That dwell pic doesn’t read black at all to me. Don’t get me wrong, gorg color in its own right but I think you’ll be happier with the drama of black knight. Also maybe makes picking a deck stain easier if it’s darker? Can’t wait to see it!
I agree, I do think it looks better with the roof, and I am so glad to hear that you don’t think it leans to blue-ish. The BFN is a very pretty color too. I am eager to get back to the cabin so I can make a decision and put this thing to bed. I’ll make sure to post an update once I figure it out.
I love Dark Knight, but I totally hear your concerns. A thought–can you mix a small sample (like maybe 50/50) of Dark Knight and Black Forest Green and see where it gets you? Maybe it’ll be the best of both worlds. Or maybe a disaster–I don’t know. But I do know that Grace from Design*Sponge couldn’t decide between two paint colors on a recent makeover and just ended up mixing them together and it was great.
Good luck in choosing! I know it’ll look great no matter what, but I wish you luck as you search for exactly what you’re envisioning!
We painted our house black forest green a few years ago. I was also hoping for a “black but not quite” kind of color and it’s definitely that, especially in the shade. It actually ended up looking more navy blue in the sun in real life though, not quite as green. It might be because we had it mixed in Sherwin Williams rather than Benjamin Moore and the base altered it slightly. I live in St. Paul, so if you want to do a drive by and see what it looks like with a few years of fading shoot me an email.
Oooh, after reading through, including the update, I definitely like #3 best. It looks fantastic and for some reason I find it very soothing. I also love how it really sets off the windows!
Oooo I really love Black Forest Green… it reads the most green to me, though to be honest, I think all of them would be beautiful! Tell me more about your paint choice, we’re also looking to paint the board and batten on our house a navy blue,(your house was actually my inspiration!) but I’m concerned about fading. I’ve also been warned by friends that a dark color will affect our utilities… but my house is in a pretty shady spot. Did you see a noticable difference? So many worries!!
Black Forest Green ALL THE WAY!! Also, can you do a solid stain instead of a paint? That’s what we have on our boards and cedar shakes and it’s held up really well over the last 7 years. It’s a custom teal color (vaguely like Ben Moore aegan teal) and the color has barely changed.
Hello, thanks for the interesting article. I believe that this color is great for your small home, compared to the old color. Since the house is located in the forest and a similar color fits the environment very well. I have a small summer house in the forest and I plan to make repairs to this house. Therefore, your option on the use of colors will be useful for me. I planned to paint the house purely black, but this color is more pleasant and better suited to houses surrounded by trees. Thanks.
I’m picking between front door colours at the moment for my east-northeast-facing house against white brick, and Black Forest Green-googling is how I found this post. Thanks for the heads up on Black Knight, I hadn’t even considered it! I do think BK looks just like…regular black, at least until you contrast it directly against a true black. My door hardware is matte black and that’s where you’ll really notice that BFG isn’t black, as it’ll be in shadow most of the day. So I’d say if you’re planning to put black sconces and hardware on the house (or roof, perhaps), it’ll give you the contrast to pop the hint of green you’re after if you decide to go for Black Knight. I’d base my decision on big swatches, like you’ve said, as the answer entirely depends on the exposure and light you receive. Good luck!
I like #1 as well, but the roof wants #3 :)
I am hunting for something very similar for my dining room – something that somehow will be charcoal, teal, and forest green all at the same time. I’ve been eyeing BM’s Bavarian Forest which I think is too green for what you want (and maybe also for what I want). Eagerly following along here :)
I love the black forest green for depth of color. Great choices!
Try Historic Charleston Green DCR099. A Sherwin Williams color (that used to be a Duron color), it can be matched by Ben Moore. The story is that after the Civil War black paint was sent to the South for repairs but the people added yellow and blue tint to it to get a Green. it’s a very black green. I am guessing that you have already painted by now, but it’s such a great color. Maybe this will help someone else.
Hi! I am about to start painting first our back shed and then our house Black Forest Green, and my inspirations were some of the same houses you were inspired by, and also some dark houses featured on Remodelista a while back.We back up to the woods in our suburban neighborhood and like how a dark color makes our house disappear from sight magically. Also, I want to gesture towards a cabin feeling to make our house feel like a getaway. However, I really like the color Black Knight, as I am also attracted to the blacker dark greens. What brand is that? I cannot figure it out on the web.
Hi! I am about to start painting first our back shed and then our house Black Forest Green, and my inspirations were some of the same houses you were inspired by, and also some dark houses featured on Remodelista a while back.We back up to the woods in our suburban neighborhood and like how a dark color makes our house disappear from sight magically. Also, I want to gesture towards a cabin feeling to make our house feel like a getaway. However, I really like the color Black Knight, as I am also attracted to the blacker dark greens. What brand is that? I cannot figure it out on the web. Glad I stumbled on your site! I love remodelers who go simple.
We are in Hayward are you any where near there? Would love to drive by. It is exactly the color I have been looking for.
What brand is the dark knight?
I just stumbled across your blog and want to tell you I am now just starting the exact same journey. We have a wood sided chalet home in the Pocono Mts. of PA, and right now everything is brown, brown, and more brown. I have been searching for a dark greek/black color for months now. Please post photos of the completed project. It’s been over a year. How do you like your final choice?
You have mentioned both: Dark Knight and Black Knight. Which is the one you mean?
Also, wondering what you chose!
flora in seattle
I have have decided on the Black Forest Green to paint my home. Now I am trying to decide on the sheen. Benjamin Moore offers a
2. Low Luster
5. High gloss
Right now it is a toss up between the Low Luster and Eggshell. What sheen did you use on your cabin. By the way which color did you end up using?
Thanks Marie, San Antonio
We here in Austin are considering Black Forest Green for our exterior too! What sheen did you pick?
What brands are these 3 paints you are considering ?
I’m totally late to the game, but did you steal my brain?? I am having the exact same thoughts and issues as you regarding a perfect “green yet black but not too green in the sun and not totally black in the shade yet still with a hint of blue that you can’t see but know it’s there” shade for our shutters and front door. What did you decide on?!
What brand is the black/dark knight? Also, of those 3 example cabins, everyone and their mother has #3 (Danny Seo’s cabin) pinned – including me – I have been trying for years to find out what actual brand/color that is. I have commented on every single post and article I’ve ever come across – have you had any luck finding out what color that is?
*Also, whereabouts in Northern WI is your cabin? We have a place near Mercer and are looking for a good painter to do some fixing and painting of our two small cabins. Was wondering if you would be willing to share that info?
Love what you’ve done with your place! A black/dark green A-frame is my dream cabin!
Hello! Is the deep river color that was just he middle color the same as Benjamin Moore Deep River?
So so so helpful!!! Just purchased a few cabins in Big Bear Lake that I will be turning into vacation rentals (I’m a real estate investor, broker, designer, interior fanatic) and your post helped me tremendously. With our theme the obvious “black”, I love your idea of a black-green as we are amongst wonderful trees and black just feels too stark, trendy and maybe even too negative for a mountain cabin. Can’t wait to explore your website and social. Great style!!! xx Andrea, Owner, Black Label Group
Hi I love the Dark Knight-ish color! I am having the hardest time finding a mixologist at any of the paint stores where I live in Montana to get me the dark forest green that you have chosen! Would you happen to have the color formula for that and willing to share it with me? Thank you in advance and major props on your awesome little cabin!
Luv your blogs
Hi! I found your blog after looking for Black Forest green exteriors. I love this color and desperately want to use it but the flat sheen makes the color look too dull and grey-green and the low luster is too shiny in the sun. What sheen did you go with?
You probably are done with this project now, but for whatever it’s worth, I would go with the middle one. The one on the left is I think too green, the one on the right too black.
I have a question, tho — how did you do such a great job with light/dark/shadow on your photoshop versions? We are trying to decide what color to paint our house but the photoshop renditions we come up with look so flat.
What color did u go with for the exterior of the cabin?
Black Forest Green is my favorite, by far! So much so that I’m heavily considering it for our house. Would you be able to share the brand where you sourced the color from? Also, which did you end up going with? Thanks!
I love the deep forest but would go deep river. Over the long run this will be easier to live with.
I just moved fron a dark brown/black house and at times I disliked it. Prob in winter when I don’t like anything! From a distance a green house not a dark mystery. I love both really. Pam