Professional Decorators Review Farrow and Ball Emulsion


We asked several decorators from a well known Facebook group what they think of Farrow and Ball emulsion, a designer brand of paint, popular with designers and home owners. Bellow are their honest opinions. We hope you find it useful.


It is worth pointing out that opinions are very much split when it comes to Farrow and Ball. Although a lot of decorators seem to complain about it, interior designers and homeowners have a very different view. If you’d like alternative opinions, you are welcome to join the Designer Paint Lovers Group on Facebook.


You can buy Farrow and Ball from almost anywhere. Most notably, B&Q and Homebase. You can also buy it online at the Paint Shed, as well as other outlets.

It’s over priced!! It doesn’t seem to wash out of your brushes. You have to use a primer so it’s a third more expensive. A plus side is the colours are lovely mixed up into Johnstone’s.

Steven Markey

Over priced. Needs 3 coats. But saying that never had any disasters with it. Clients seem to like it.
Adrian Rayfield

It’s over priced and it’s like living in Russia,
You need 4 coats!
Philip Whitehead

It is lovely pain and It don’t have any issues with it other than the price.

Christopher Ashby

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

Brian Sweeney

It’s not bad gear, although some colours require 4 coats to get a finish I’m happy with . If I’m honest I normally get johnstone’s to colour match.

Gary Mally

15 years as ss a decorator and I charge for an extra coat of any Farrow and Ball product. Their colour range is really good, but the coverage on their products is a shambles. I always advise to get the Farrow and Ball colours mixed at Dulux, rather than the customer spend silly money on their products.

Rikki Mackenzie

I’ve been in the game 40 years and I have used Farrow and Ball a few times. Suppliers should tell customers it 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 and needs to be washed out regularly during use!!

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 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… I’d rather use anything over F&B!

Soft colours you can sometimes get away with 2 coats, but bold colours 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

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 like the Farrow and Ball colour range. As for coverage, not the greatest, in fact I find it rarther watery. I much prefer Dulux paint .
Nick Squires

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

Al Merritt

I have been a decorator for 15 years. Both Farrow and Ball emulsions drag on application, but cover well if you use the primer specified by F&B. The only issue with this is a job becomes expensive. I think that’s why people skip the primer, then moan when they have to apply a third coat of emulsion anyway.

Matthew Moore

No problem with any of it if you go through the correct procedure. It’s top range on price, but I offer Johnstone’s as an alternative for the colour match. 8/10, 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. I tend to slap the top of the wall in slightly when cutting in the ceilings so I can get a better slide when cutting walls into ceiling and it does struggle to cover it. 6/10 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 in 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 and 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 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

Lee Cotterill

10 yrs int trade
F&b is not a good paint it doesn’t cover well enough
Over priced
Great colours
jonnos matched is so much better & a load cheaper
John Barker

It’s not bad too 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 ofver paint for touch ups it is ideal.

Neil Belsom

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 fallow all instructions for recoat times and roll out cut ins for a neater finish. Rating out of 10, 7, whereas old mix was a 4.

Dean Wilks

Been a decorator for nearly 20 years and have done a few jobs using f and b estate 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 F&B. It’s far better these days than it used to be. The only problems I have is customers wanting 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 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.

Mike Gregory

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

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Decorators Review Farrow and Ball Emulsion