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Farrow and Ball Dead Flat Review

Posted Aug 25, 2023 | Paints, Product Review | 5 comments

Earlier this year Farrow and Ball launched their new Dead Flat paint. It is something they have been working on for the last 5 years. Dead Flat is a durable and scrubbable matt interior paint that is designed for walls and ceilings, as well as woodwork and metal. It is a breathable paint and therefore suitable for painting on to lime plaster.

The beauty of Farrow and Ball paint has always been in their use of natural pigments. This is an important factor that too few fully appreciate, and it is one of the main reasons that there is such depth to the colour – it’s not just marketing as some people seem to think. As far as I know, Farrow and Ball’s new Dead Flat is the only durable and scrubbable truly matt finish paint on the market that contains natural pigments.


My Farrow and Ball Dead Flat Review


Over the years, I have tried many brands of durable and scrubbable matt paint and they tend to have a plasticky feel and often a degree of sheen which detracts from the traditional aesthetic one might want to achieve. This is not the case with Farrow and Ball’s Dead Flat; it goes on like a traditional chalky emulsion giving a timeless feel.

I have long been a fan of Farrow and Ball’s colours and traditional looking finishes, and so I was keen to test out the new Dead Flat. Farrow and Ball previously produced a matt paint for woodwork, but it was not a durable finish like the new Dead Flat that has replaced it.


I found the new Dead Flat to be a tiny bit thicker than the standard Estate Emulsion by Farrow and Ball, but not noticeably so. Opacity and coverage are pretty good and it goes on well. Painting feels very much like using the Estate Emulsion so if you’re used to that there won’t be any nasty surprises. It’s a two-part system with a suitable primer depending on the substrate and the tone of the chosen paint colour to start, and then generally two top coats of the Dead Flat to finish.

Dead Flat comes in a good range of sizes – 0.75 litres, 2.5 litres and 5 litres.

Whilst no paint can be expected to be truly bomb proof in terms of durability, I was really impressed by the scrubbability of the paint, especially the lightest almost white colour I tested, which after scrubbing with a non-scratch scourer to remove numerous marks came up near to perfect.

Purely from an aesthetic point of view the Estate Emulsion is better but if you need a traditional looking matt paint for a high traffic area like a hallway or boot room, or an area where there is the risk of children with sticky hands Dead Flat is the one to go for.

Farrow and Ball Dead Flat Review for Decorators Forum UK

By Charles Edwards – Artist, Designer and Craftsman

Posted Aug 25, 2023 | 5 comments

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  1. Phil

    Used it on a job a couple of weeks ago and the client had supplied this. I found it really thick and grainy / scratchy feeling when applying with a brush. Knocked it back 10% on the first coat and 5% on the second and 3rd and that did help. Opacity wasn’t great, customer was happy with depth of colour after a 3rd pass but I could definitely see it grinning. Doesn’t picture frame but be aware it doesn’t flow brilliantly, maybe due to the lack of plastics in it like some other flat matt paints. If I used it again I’d definitely pop a capful of Owatrol into it.

    • Marta

      Hi Phil, would you rather advise to match the colour in a different brand? I’m planning to paint a bedroom wall with some wood mouldings done as panelling and I want to use dead flat as I’m looking for a matt/flat finish. Thank you

      • Mick

        Marta, use Teknos Futura Aqua Primer 3 and Teknos Futura Aqua 5 (which is a matt level sheen of 5).

        I painted furniture with that paint mixed to a Farrow and Ball colour.
        It’s a hybrid paint so has some oil in it, but you can wash your brushes and rollers with soapy water.
        The finish is a superb matt finish, no brush or roller marks at all and it’s hard wearing. Re-coatable after 5 hours or so.
        The furniture was a set of Ikea Drawers and a pair of Ikea bedside cabinets.
        No marks or scratches on them up to now.
        It’s reasonably priced too.

        Teknos also do a wall paint which is re-inforced with oil, but brushes can be washed with water, but you will be painting some wood too, so I’d use the Futura Aqua which is for wood, but would also be ok on the wall too.

        It would be a lot cheaper than Farrow and Ball.

        • Marta

          Thank you Mike,
          I actually just had seen your message after I finished my project! At the end, I used the F&B dead flat and as it was a small area I didn’t regret spending extra.
          Would Teknos be good to use for a hallway wall? I need something hard wearing, that it’s not easily stained and can be washed but has a matt finish. I have two boys that love to put their hands on the wall when coming down the stair! Thanks

    • Damian

      I’m about to paint quite a few rooms with F&B dead flat, using it for the first time. I’m trying to decide whether to add Owatrol Floetrol or not, you say you would pop a capful in – have you tried that yet? And based on your experience, how much Flowtrol would be best in 2.5l of paint (I’ll probably do a small sample amount before going gung-ho and sticking it into the full 2.5l or 5l pots I have on order, but a starting point on roughly how much to add to this paint from someone who’s used it would really help. Appreciate your advice.


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