What exactly is anthracite? How the new colour is different from other greys

Meet the most confident kind of grey

Home office with anthracite grey wall and grey cabinets
(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

Grey interiors are not exactly known for their drama and stand-out quality. Rather, grey is often favoured as a neutral shade that’s easy to work with and to pair with other colours or patterns. But there are more than 50 shades of grey and not all of them are boring. Case in point, anthracite. But exactly what colour is anthracite?

The darkest of the greys that’s almost edging on black, anthracite is perhaps the most daring of all the grey tones and makes for a striking paint idea. But is this bold, dramatic shade something you should incorporate into your home? And more importantly, how? Interior experts weigh in.

What colour is anthracite?

Anthracite grey built-in wardrobes in a bedroom

(Image credit: Future PLC/James Merrell)

Named after a variety of coal with a metallic (greyish) finish, anthracite is a deep and dark tone of grey with a blue undertone that is the closest to black from all the greys, just like the coal it’s named after.

‘Anthracite grey is often thought of as the darkest grey of all, nearing total black,’ confirms Helen Shaw, director of international marketing at Benjamin Moore. ‘Despite being a statement shade, anthracite grey is still an adaptable, neutral tone, so has proven an ideal choice for a range of home styles.'

'This deep grey is a popular choice for those seeking a more dramatic hue for their homes. Lighter grey tones such as slate are unassertive whereas anthracite grey adds ambience to a room, particularly a north facing room where there is a lack of natural light.’

Is anthracite a black or grey colour?

Living room with anthracite grey wall and beige sofa

(Image credit: Flitch/La Redoute)

Anthracite can come so dark that it’s sometimes labelled as a shade of black. As did Ideal Home’s own Editor, Heather Young, who’s turned her living room walls from boring beige to bold black in her living room makeover. But in fact, the Farrow & Ball Railings paint she used is more of an anthracite than a black. Granted, depending on the light.    

‘The thing I love about Railings is that it feels so different at various points during the day,' says Heather. 'It goes from a soft grey when the sun's shining, down to a cosseting almost-black after nightfall. The other big plus point about this shade is how great my houseplants look against the dark grey - the green really pops and the plants look super lush.’

Bedroom with anthracite grey-painted window

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

As Heather points out, anthracite is excellent at lifting other colours up and making them pop. And luckily for us, there are many colours that go with grey in any room. Its versatility is why we’re slowly falling in love with it.

‘Due to the versatility, depending on the colours you pair with it will alter the feeling it evokes,' agrees Helen from Benjamin Moore. 'From soft and feminine when layered with a blush pink, to contemporary and striking when paired with rich hues and black accents.’ 

Pink-painted bathroom with a circular mirror and grey cabinet

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

There are many ways you can incorporate anthracite grey into your home if you so choose to. Paint is an obvious choice. But furniture or smaller accents are also a possible way to go.

‘In interior design, using anthracite grey can add an air of sophistication and depth to the space when steering away from the intensity of pure black,’ says Sam Sutherland, Flitch interior stylist.

‘It's a colour that can be both bold and subtle, depending on how it's incorporated. One effective approach is to use anthracite grey as an accent colour, such as through furniture pieces, textiles, or decor items rather than using it as a paint colour. This creates a sense of contrast and visual interest within the space.’

News Writer

Sara Hesikova has been Ideal Home’s News Writer since July 2023, bringing the Ideal Home’s readership breaking news stories from the world of home decor and interiors, as well as trend-led pieces, shopping round-ups and more. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors, working with the likes of 91 Magazine and copywriting for luxury bed linen brand Yves Delorme among others. She feels that fashion and interiors are intrinsically connected – if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.