Farrow & Ball Estate Emulsion Review

By Andy Scott


I keep seeing so much negativity on the Decorators Forum about Farrow & Ball Estate emulsion, I thought I’d put together my own review. I am a professional decorator who works on high end buildings in Edinburgh. Take it or leave it, but paint is pretty much my life.


Opacity and coverage

They try to hard sell you the primer toners for certain colours which is not needed in my opinion, as experience has told me only some require them.

I used Farrow & Ball “All White” on previously painted white ceiling and opacity was fine, coverage not so good. First coat very draggy and soaked in fast. Second coat much better and glided over. (maybe the primer would have helped to stop it dragging, but a lot of expense for that isn’t justifiable.

Deeper colours I would always use the appropriate primer. I did a room in arsenic and primed first with the mid tone primer. Depth of colour was amazing, and the emulsion flowed lovely over it. Opacity is pretty good on the darker tones and coverage is excellent.


Value for money

On the fence with this. It’s pretty expensive, £80.00 for 5 litres emulsion and primers are around £60.00. Compared to other premium brands it sits well if used correctly. What lets it down is the need for a primer and with a additional £60.00 per average room it’s a lot.



The finish in estate emulsion is pretty good (not perfect) not many paints are. I found it’s not as chalky a finish as i remember. I don’t know if Farrow & Ball have changed the formula for the Estate Emulsion, but it now has a sheen to it.



The proof in the pudding is whether I’d use it in my own house. The answer is yes, but only because I love working on my own gaff, so the prospect of an extra coat doesn’t bother me. When a customer asks for Farrow and Ball, I advise about the additional cost and give them the option to get the colour mixed up in a cheaper brand.

Overall, I’m going to give Farrow and Ball emulsion 7/10. There are designer paints out there which are a similar price bracket but don’t need a specific primer.

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