Is Farrow and Ball Worth It?

Farrow and Ball market their brand as craftsmen of paint and paper, selling high-end, designer products that are style conscious and eco-aware. With a palette of more than 130 shades, Farrow and Ball offer an extensive and unique range of colour choices.

The brand’s popularity continues to grow and you can find their product range in all major outlets like B&Q or Homebase and in many hardware stores. But they are also quite pricey- up to 50% more expensive than some trade paints on some products – and it has to be asked, is Farrow and Ball worth it?

Farrow and Ball Paint Problems

Alongside their expensive price tag, reports of problems with their paint finish remain persistent.

You might think the secret to success with Farrow and Ball paint is simple – follow the recommended system and apply Farrow and Ball primer before painting. But to many people, this seems an unnecessary, time consuming and expensive additional step that some, understandably, choose to skip. With other emulsions not using a primer on previously painted walls will present no problem.

Farrow and Ball Modern emulsions though have relatively poor coverage with customers reporting needing to use as much as two coats of primer as well as a whopping four coats of the emulsion to achieve a decent finish.

On a previously painted wall, where other emulsion products easily cover in two coats, Farrow and Ball modern emulsion falls down. It just does not seem capable of achieving the same opacity in less than 3 to 4 coats. Furthermore, when you do manage to get a clean finish, the sheen level of the modern emulsion can be too high.

Where Farrow and Ball is a client’s product choice, decorators and painters, long accustomed to the challenges of working with these products, will factor in the additional labour and material involved, when pricing the job. This is a pretty good indicator of what to expect with these paints.

The problems with Farrow and Ball unfortunately don’t stop at the application stage. Reviews of the product show that many people do not consider it durable paint. After all that hard work applying several coats of a quirkily named ‘broccoli brown’ paint the last thing you want is for it to get scuffed up in a short space of time while wearing yourself out telling children not to touch the walls.

Farrow and Ball Gloss paint suffers from much of the same challenges when it comes to coverage. It can be streaky and often performs better when watered down a little.

Many people in the trade know that you can get better coverage with the same extensive range of colour choices by using other good trade brands like Dulux or Johnstone paints at a fraction of the cost and a good deal less effort.

Dulux vs Farrow and Ball

When compared to their less costly competitor brand Dulux, Farrow and Ball are well outperformed in value for money. The Dulux trade paint range has quality emulsion, gloss and eggshell paints and Dulux offer colour equivalents to those available from Farrow and Ball.

Dulux Equivalent of Farrow and Ball Colours

Announcing their hottest colour for 2022, Farrow and Ball predicts the most stylish homes will be rocking their Stone Blue, School House White and Babouche shades. While Farrow and Ball may have the most extensive range of colours on the market, if your interior decor plans for the season are limited by budget you will easily find Dulux colours to match most of these very closely.

For your convenience we’ve mapped out ten of the most popular Farrow and Ball colours with their Dulux equivalent in this handy table:

Farrow & BallDulux
Stone BlueStonewashed Blue
School House WhiteCameo Silk 1
BaboucheBanana dream
Skimming StoneEgyptian Cotton
Sap GreenSea Nettle
DownpipeThunder Clouds
Hague BlueAzure Fusion 1
Cornforth WhitePebble Shore
Stiff Key BlueHeritage Midnight Teal
Sulking Room PinkWild Mushroom 2

Colour Matching Farrow and Ball

There is always the option to try a paint mixing service to colour match Farrow and Ball and get the particular shade you’re after. When colour matching Farrow and Ball you simply select the specific colour you want and have it mixed in the best paint product for your project.

An example of colour-matching Farrow and Ball colours. The paint here is Johnstone’s Covaplus which was mixed to Farrow and Ball’s Sudbury Yellow.

Paint mixing services and custom colour matching are offered by many stores. You can find Dulux paint mixing service or MixLabs at select stores throughout the UK where you can choose your colour, function and finish. Johnstone’s Paints similarly can match Farrow and Ball colours. It is important to remember though that accuracy will not always be exact. The match can vary depending on the colour and the brand you use. The actual finished look of the paint and colour when it’s on your wall can be affected by the lighting and other factors so trying out a tester on a small section is always recommended before committing to the colour.

Is Farrow and Ball Worth It?

So in answer to the question Is Farrow and Ball worth it? It’s clear that the upmarket brand has a vast range of deep and richly pigmented colours which respond to light throughout the day and many people adore the unique finish of these paints. They are possibly the most Instagrammed of all paints.

Practically though, the colours can be easily matched with trade paint equivalents or colour mixing. The alternatives arguably have the same finish effect but with more durability at much cheaper prices. Taking all this into account along with the added labour involved in applying primer and possibly more coats of paint to get the desired finish, many decorators seem to agree that it’s a lot of fuss for little difference.

If your heart is set on decorating with Farrow and Paint, keep in mind that you may need to factor in a larger quantity of paint and more time to get the finish you desire. And while they have some great, if eccentrically named colours from ‘Dead Salmon’ to ‘Elephant Breath’, the real elephant in the room perhaps is that Farrow and Ball are relatively easy to match by their trade brand rivals.