ebony color shades

Ebony Color – What Does the Color Ebony Look Like?

Black might not be considered a genuine color; however, it is quite a popular “color” used in fashion and design, amongst other purposes. Black is considered the darkest color, but it does have various shades or undertones, and ebony is one of them. Let us now take a closer look at the ebony color, along with its meaning and other interesting facts.



What Color Is Ebony?

When it comes to ebony vs. black, the ebony color possesses an undertone of either brown or even olive. The ebony black color is considered one of the more elegant shades of black. When looking at the ebony black color it can appear to be a solid black, however, if some light catches the surface, you will notice the brownish undertone.

how to mix ebony color

ShadeHex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Ebony#555d509, 0, 14, 6485, 93, 80 
Jet Black#0a0a0a0, 0, 0, 9610, 10, 10 


Ebony Color: A Brief History

Ebony originally comes from a hardwood that has a black-brown appearance. The wood is dense, and if placed in water, it will sink, unlike other types of wood. Ebony is a highly prized and valuable wood for furnishings. The trees are often found in tropical areas like India but are also found in places like Ethiopia. The most well-known usage of ebony wood is for piano keys and beautiful chess pieces. Sadly, due to the popularity of the wood and unsound harvesting methods, the tree has become endangered.

The color name was first documented and used in the late 16th century. The color also has links to Egypt, where it was associated with fertility because of the color of the silt left after the river Nile flooded. The name may also have originated from Ancient Egypt from the word hbny, which translates to “ebony”. The ebony wood was also imported from Ethiopia to Egypt, where the rich used it as a decorative element in their homes. French royalty also coveted the luxurious wood that was used for beautiful furniture pieces.

what color is ebony

The ebony black color has also been incorporated into textiles, for example, a Kente, which is a Ghanaian traditional cloth, mainly used by the Akan and Ewe tribes, that is often worn in a toga-like manner. The color is a representation of spirituality and maturity. The ebony black color also provides a beautiful contrast with the other colors used in the design.


Meaning of the Ebony Color

Together with black, ebony provides a certain amount of mystery, and elegance, and is considered a more serious color. The ebony color is warmer than black and is quite intriguing and calming in its own way. Ebony can also be foreboding like black and can also be seen as a negative color with destructive properties. Because of the value placed on the wood, the color is also associated with wealth and prestige.

ebony color interior


Shades of Ebony

There are a range of different shades of ebony, all of which vary slightly in color composition. You can see the difference in the color codes, both for web design purposes as well as for printing. The RGB color code shows how much red, green, and blue is used for digital web designs, while the CMYK or cyan, magenta, yellow, and black focuses on the color ink used. The hex code is given to each color and can be used as an identifying code.

ebony vs black


Black Olive

This color is originally from the black olive, which is mostly native to areas in Central America, Mexico, the northern parts of South America, and the Caribbean. The olive fruit is harvested from the tree, which then goes through a curing process. There is a black olive color that can be found in the RAL European color matching, with reference code No. 6015.

ShadeHex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Ebony#555d509, 0, 14, 6485, 93, 80 
Black Olive#3b3c362, 0, 10, 7659, 60, 54 

ebony black color



The name onyx comes from the mineral, which is found in various regions around the globe. The mineral has been used for hardstone carving items as well as jewelry. The onyx color also forms part of the “gem tones” for Crayola, which was produced in 1994.

ShadeHex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Ebony#555d509, 0, 14, 6485, 93, 80 
Onyx#3538397, 2, 0, 7853, 56, 57 

ebony color



Licorice is a well-known name for a type of candy, which uses parts of the licorice plant, namely the root, from which the licorice flavor is obtained. The flavor comes from a chemical within the plant known as glycyrrhizin, which is said to be a lot sweeter than sugar. Crayola also introduced a similar color to their range of specialty crayons in 1994. 

ShadeHex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Ebony#555d509, 0, 14, 6485, 93, 80 
Licorice#1a11100, 35, 38, 9026, 17, 16 



What Colors Go With Ebony?

Black and all its shades like ebony fall under the category of neutral colors along with white, gray, brown, beige, and a few others. So, ebony will go well with these types of colors, with white and ebony being a favorite combination. However, it is also a versatile color, so can very easily go with many other colors. When considering the color wheel, there are available color combinations. Since black is technically not a color, you will have to look at the color undertone to determine these color combinations.

what colors go with ebony


Complementary Ebony Colors

Colors that sit across from each other on the wheel, are labeled complementary colors. When placed side-by-side, the colors stand out or form a contrast in colors. Since the web color we chose for ebony is described as dark, grayish green, the complementary color is dark grayish violet. However, you can also consider similar lighter shades or dusty pinks.

ShadeHex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Ebony#555d509, 0, 14, 6485, 93, 80 
Dark Grayish Violet#58505d5, 14, 0, 6488, 80, 93 


Analogous Ebony Colors

All colors that are close together on the color wheel can form an analogous color palette. These colors all have similar characteristics and create a harmonious look. So, if it is a greenish undertone, other shades of green and yellow can work together.

ShadeHex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Ebony#555d509, 0, 14, 6485, 93, 80 
Dark Grayish Yellow#5c5d501, 0, 14, 6492, 93, 80 
Dark Grayish Green#505d5214, 0, 12, 6480, 93, 82 


Monochromatic Ebony Colors

Lighter and darker shades of ebony can create a monochromatic look. You can create monochromatic colors by adding white or black to a specific color. This creates various tints and shades of a specific color.

ShadeHex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Ebony#555d509, 0, 14, 6485, 93, 80 
Dark Ebony#2f342d10, 0, 13, 8047, 52, 45 
Light Ebony#b7beb34, 0, 6, 25183, 190, 179 

ebony color shades


Triadic Ebony Colors

These are again contrasting colors and involve three colors on the color wheel. If you were to join all three colors, it will create a triangular shape, with all colors evenly spaced from one another. You can also try using colors like navy blue or other shades of blue and pink.

ShadeHex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Ebony#555d509, 0, 14, 6485, 93, 80 
Dark Grayish Blue#50555d14, 9, 0, 6480, 85, 93 
Dark Grayish Pink#5d50550, 14, 9, 6493, 80, 85 



How to Mix Ebony Color Acrylic Paint

You can easily purchase a tube of black paint, however, you do not have much control over the type of black. How to mix ebony colors? When mixing paint colors yourself, you can create a shade of black with different undertones. The best way to make black is to combine all three primary colors of red or magenta, yellow, and blue in equal proportions.

 This provides more freedom in creating color combinations and helps to produce a more dynamic painting that has more depth and interest. Always test out your color combinations and create a color chart so you can refer back to the proportions you used.

You can experiment with creating different shades, for example, adding more yellow will create a brownish undertone, more blue paint will create a cooler shade of black, and adding magenta will create a warmer tone of black. For ebony, it will be a bit more yellow in the mix. Instead of mixing all three primary colors, you can also try using two color paints that include a primary and a secondary color. For example, mixing red and green should produce a deep black.



Interior Designing With Ebony

You can create an elegant, bold, and dramatic look using ebony black. For example, ebony black can be used to paint an accent wall that will immediately draw attention and highlight any coordinating lighter décor. Here are some more suggestions for how you can feature ebony in your design.

  • In a smaller room with a white or light color palette, you can add pops of ebony color. Consider patterned rugs, cushions, curtains, vases, or side tables.
  • You can use the ebony color on doors, with white trim to create a beautifully bold statement. Paint window trims to draw people’s attention outside, creating a more expansive feel to the room.
  • If you want to make an impression, you can do wall-to-wall with ebony black to create a more intimate feel, but make sure to bring balance to it by including white or other neutral colors.
  • Do not forget, you can also include pops of contrasting colors with black besides white, for example, shades of yellow, pink, or orange.
  • Use different shades of ebony to create a look that has more depth to it.
  • Consider ebony black kitchen cabinets with black and white marble tops and light color flooring, for a unique look.
  • Combine the ebony black color with metallics like brass or natural elements like wood, and greenery from plants. Leather also pairs wonderfully with ebony.


The ebony color might not be something many consider for their homes. However, it can add a certain sophistication to a room, but is also a daring and bold color that can create quite an impression. So, if you are looking for something different, why not give it a try?

ebony interior design



Frequently Asked Questions


What Color Is Ebony?

The ebony color comes from a hardwood tree and can be described as a dark, almost black color that can have brown or even olive undertones.


Is Ebony and Black the Same Color?

When it comes to ebony vs. black, the ebony black color can be categorized as a shade of black. Ebony is a dark black color that has a brown undertone, while black is the absence or absorption of light. 


What Colors Go With Ebony?

Black works well with white and other neutral colors like gray, brown, and beige. However, due to its brownish undertone, it can also go with other colors like pink, orange, blue, and green.

Cite this Article

Charlene, Lewis, “Ebony Color – What Does the Color Ebony Look Like?.” Art in Context. January 21, 2023. URL: https://artincontext.org/ebony-color/

Lewis, C. (2023, 21 January). Ebony Color – What Does the Color Ebony Look Like?. Art in Context. https://artincontext.org/ebony-color/

Lewis, Charlene. “Ebony Color – What Does the Color Ebony Look Like?.” Art in Context, January 21, 2023. https://artincontext.org/ebony-color/.

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