Decorators Review Farrow and Ball Emulsion

Updated Jan 26, 2024 | Posted Oct 30, 2018 | Professional insight, Product Advice

It’s fair to say, Farrow and Ball paint gets mixed reviews from Decorators. Designers and homeowners seem to love the luxury range of both contemporary and period colours, along with the sleek and stylish F&B wallpaper collection. This brand fits in the ‘designer décor’ category. However, some Decorators seem to hate it, with a lot opting to match Farrow and Ball colours into different brands of paint. (click here to learn how)

You can buy any Farrow and Ball paint product online with free delivery. Click here for more details.

So, to get a proper feel of what Professionals think, we asked Decorators to review Farrow and Ball emulsion. Below is a sample of what they came back with.

Farrow and Ball is overpriced and generally takes an extra coat to achieve a solid colour. But saying that, I have never had any disasters with it. My clients seem to love the finish and there is a depth of colour that you don’t get with other brands.

Adrian Rayfield

Farrow and Ball is lovely paint and I don’t have any issues with it other than the price. Make sure you use the wall primer for big colour changes and bare plaster.

Christopher Ashby

We are just doing a massive 5 bed extension, and everything is Farrow and Ball except from one room, which is a Little Greene colour. The Farrow and Ball is awful to use! I find the estate emulsion doesn’t sit flat.

You get awful orange peel with the estate eggshell, it doesn’t rub down very well, and it rolls like plastic.

Both products clog the sandpaper badly.

Anthony Dance


I have been a decorator for 33 years and use Farrow and Ball often. It doesn’t cover in 2 coats over previously painted walls like other emulsions do. The modern emulsion gives an excellent finish, but I usually get the colour matched in Dulux.  

As for price, it doesn’t bother me as the client pays. I simply explain my views and let them decide whether to pay top dollar for Farrow and Ball or slightly less for a Dulux match. I think F&B gives a slightly better finish though.

Brian Sweeney

The problem with Farrow and Ball paint is the price you pay for the quality you get. Estate emulsion is like cheap contract matt and marks very easily. Modern emulsion is too shiny. Both flash and show roller marks. Both take an extra coat. Why not just go for a good paint to begin with?

George Macintyre

The Farrow and Ball Estate Emulsion scuffs if you look at it wrong. The modern emulsion is too shiny and looks terrible! They both have terrible opacity, and the colours are easily matched into alternative brands.

I always recommend Teknos Pro5. This is a durable matt emulsion with a low sheen level. The price is much lower than Farrow and Ball, but the finish is far superior.

It’s not bad gear, although some colours require 3 coats to get a finish I’m happy with . If I’m honest, I normally get johnstone’s to colour match, but only because it’s cheaper.

Gary Mally

I’ve been in the game 40 years and I have used Farrow and Ball a few times. Suppliers should tell customers the emulsion needs a primer. As someone once said, it’s the Emprors new clothes of paint. 6 out of 10, if that.

Tony Finch

Farrow and Ball is overpriced! It needs too many coats to cover for a proper job. Plus, the eggshell wrecks your brush, which seems to grow legs. It needs to be washed out regularly during use!! They look ok once on though.

Stephen Connor


Never had a problem with the Farrow and Ball. I normally use their primer to be honest, especially when painting over bare plaster. The paint just seems to sit better on it. Opacity is the biggest issue. I like the finish.

I always give my customer an option to have it mixed in crown, Johnstone’s or Dulux, but always point out it may be slightly different shade. At the end of the day it’s their choice as they’re the ones paying.

Micky D

I would rather get Farrow and Ball colours mixed up in anything else, Dulux, Johnstone’s or Crown etc… Using semi-skimmed milk would be better!

Soft colours you can sometimes get away with 2 coats, but bold colours are 4 + which is shocking. Great colour range, but the paint is well overpriced for what you get.


Kyle Clover

It is all just clever marketing to be honest. Opacity is terrible and the emulsion often needs 3 coats. It’s overpriced too. Johnstone’s colour match is 👌🏻 and far better quality 3/10 and I’m being generous guys.

Andy Stelfox

I like the Farrow and Ball colour range and the finish looks good. As for coverage, not the greatest, in fact I find it rather watery. I much prefer Dulux Trade.


Nick Squires

Can you tell the guy who makes the names up to cut down on the drugs as it’s getting out of hand now!!! Dead Salmon?? What’s that about?

Paul Bloomfield

I do a lot of hand-painted kitchens, and my favourite product to use is Farrow and Ball Modern Eggshell. You need to use an adhesion primer, but that’s the same with almost any paint system. Modern eggshell is lovely to apply, flattens off nicely and leaves a fantastic finish. Plus, homeowners know the brand and love the colours.

Lee Smith

I have no problem with Farrow and Ball. Nice to paint with and does touch up well. No flashing either. Plus, a part-used tin will keep for years, whereas most other brands seem to start stinking.

Nick Scott


I’d give Farrow and Ball emulsion 5/10. Great colour range, which I normally get mixed for better price in a better brand of paint.

Al Merritt

No problem with any of it if you go through the correct procedure. It’s top range on price, but I offer Johnstone’s Covaplus as an alternative for the colour match. 8/10, Farrow and Ball is great paint.

Matt Chant

The estate eggshell is incredible, the finish is to die for. Modern emulsion is a great finish, but never been back to a job to see if it held out moisture wise. Great coverage on new plaster, but does struggle over white and other colours. 7/10 on the emulsion and 9/10 on the eggshell.

Charlie Holmes

I have been in the trade 28 years, and I can tell you Farrow and Ball Emulsion has very poor coverage.

If I’m pricing a job, I tell the customer it will need an extra coat and advise them to get the colour mixed in a different brand.

The thing is, Farrow and Ball are missing out on a fortune!! People want their colours. Their marketing/ brand is clearly effective, so why not just give people a good product? Especially considering the price of the paint! They should look at ways of improving their emulsion.

Myles Fizpatrick - Decorators Review Farrow and Ball Emulsion

Yep, as said by other decorators, the coverage is bad, and I feel it’s well overpriced. Especially if you consider the extra coats needed to complete your project. Also, the eggshell takes far too long to harden up…. but the colours are great, and the finish is always good.

Lee Cotterill

I’ve been in the decorating trade for just over 10 years.

Farrow and Ball is not a good paint because it doesn’t cover and it’s over-priced! Great colours though and the finish is ok!! Teknos Pro5 is better paint and much cheaper.


John Barker

Farrow and Ball is not bad to use, good flow but never covers in 2 coats! I always price for 3 to 4 coats which is ridiculous. One plus point is the shelf life of part used tins of Farrow and Ball is a lot longer than other brands. If you like to keep left over paint for touch ups it is ideal. It seems to keep its colour on the walls too. No fading like some other brands.

Neil Belsom

Farrow and Ball is alright. Be prepared to apply an extra coat, but it does the job and looks good. Bit pricey though.

Jack Lea


I’m impressed with the new Estate Emulsion mix; the old version had no opacity whereas the new one covers well. I often get Farrow and Ball colours mixed into Tikkurila, as Tikkurila is a cheaper option and better products. I give out a Farrow and Ball colour chart if the customer wants it. Quick tip – when using F&B emulsion follow all instructions for recoat times and roll out of the same paint scuttle as you’re using for cutting-in for a neater finish. Rating out of 10, 7

Dean Wilks

I’ve been a decorator for nearly 20 years and have done a few jobs using Farrow and Ball Emulsion. I would always recommend to the customer to get the colour mixed in a different brand. Farrow and Ball is extortionately overpriced for a product that badly picture frames and needs additional coats. Other negatives are, it marks easily and can’t be touched up. How anyone can say it’s good paint bearing in mind the price and poor coverage baffles me.

John Jones

Well 31 years in the trade and I’ve no problem using Farrow and Ball. It’s far better these days than it used to be. The only problems I have is when customers want F&B, but not wanting to pay the price. I give the option to have it mixed in Dulux as I have my account there. I’ve found that if it’s a light base then mixed in Armstead it comes out ok. But for dark base it needs to be Dulux. As of yet, no complaints from customers doing it this way. Always give the option but warn the colour may not be 100% identical.

Chris Burr - Decorators Review Farrow and Ball Emulsion

Farrow and Ball emulsion is great paint. Always use the wall primer, then go with two topcoats. It’s also a fashion statement. You wouldn’t walk around in counterfeit designer clothes, so why get Farrow and Ball colours matched into other brands? If your budget allows, go with Farrow and Ball.

Lily Henry

Farrow and Ball is ok. My gripe is the price, which is way too high for the quality of the paint you’re getting. The Estate Emulsion marks too easily and the Modern Emulsion has too much of a sheen to it. You’d be better off just getting the colours matched into Johnstone’s. Or better yet, go for Teknos Pro5.

Mike Gregory

The modern emulsion has too high of a sheen level and the estate emulsion scuffs too easily. not good considering Farrow and Ball supposed to be a premium product!!

Lee Cooper

It has its place. Overpriced, but that’s their business. I see people moaning about not getting on with it, but personally I have not had a problem with Farrow and Ball. If you go in thinking “it’ll be 3/4 coats then fine” I price accordingly, if they are willing to pay f&b prices then they should be prepared to pay for the labour. Nice colours and I always offer to match the colours if customers don’t want to pay for it.

Neil Wilkie


Colours good, paint not so good. In fact, an upcoming customer has requested Farrow and Ball colours mixed into Little Greene paint. I had never heard of such a thing!

Rob Martin

The quality of the emulsion is fine. The eggshells are light on tint and require more coats than other brands, the price is an absolute joke. Overall, I’m happy with the working properties but dislike the opacity and cost. Get Farrow and Ball colours matched into other brands.

Teddy Flex

I’ve only used Farrow and Ball once. Found it ok. No idea why it’s so expensive though!!

Jimmy Pringle

Personally, I think that it’s up to the customer if they are willing to pay for Farrow and Ball. A lot of decorators like to stick to brands they like to use, so I suggest getting the colour matched. 👍

Brian Carlisle

Providing you use the Farrow and Ball primer, you don’t mind paying ridiculous prices, you’re very careful not to scuff the walls afterwards and you don’t mind a rubbish finish, Farrow and Ball is good paint?! Seriously though, use something different!!


Decorators review Farrow and Ball Emulsion

Dan Fletcher

Updated Jan 26, 2024 | Posted Oct 30, 2018

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