What Decorators Think About Farrow & Ball Paint

Updated May 2, 2024 | Posted Aug 27, 2018 | Professional insight, Product Advice | 2 comments

Farrow and Ball emulsion is loved by interior designers, but their paint seems to get very mixed reviews from decorators. For that reason, we decided to ask a handful of decorators to give their honest view, then share their thoughts in this blog. We hope you find it useful.

It is probably worth mentioning that Farrow & Ball tend to set the price a supplier is allowed to sell their products. You can buy these products from loads of different outlets, but sometimes it’s just quicker and easier to buy them online. Click here to see online prices.


What Decorators Think About Farrow and Ball Paint

I’ve been a decorator for 30 years!!

Farrow and Ball offer a great colour range, and I can see why people like it. Their branding and marketing are fantastic too, but I normally get the colours mixed into a better brand of paint for a cheaper price. Something like Teknos Pro5 or Johnstone’s Covaplus.


Al Merritt

Professional Painter and Decorator

I’ve been a decorator for 9 years.

I like Farrow and Ball’s colour range. As for coverage, not the greatest and find it rather watery. I much prefer Dulux paint.


Nick Squires - What Decorators Think About Farrow and Ball Paint

Professional Painter and Decorator


I like Farrow and Ball, but let’s face it, their emulsion comes with a couple of drawbacks. Farrow and Ball Modern Emulsion has a high-sheen level, so doesn’t look very contemporary in a modern home.

Farrow and Ball Estate Emulsion contains very little polymer binder, so it’s chalky and marks very easily. You can see flashing sometimes and it drags as you apply it.

Neither emulsion have very good opacity, so expect to need an extra coat. But the pigments in the paint are high-quality. It’s metameric too, meaning you can notice different shades in different lights. People describe it as “depth of colour”, and they’re correct to a point.

I love Farrow and Ball Eggshell too. I think it’s a stunning paint!

Mike Alan

Professional Painter and Decorator

I’ve been a decorator for 33 years.

There is problem with any of Farrow and Ball product if you go through the correct procedure. You should always use the correct primer, even for walls and ceilings.  It’s top range on price, but I offer Johnstone’s as an alternative for a colour match.


Matt Chant

Professional Painter and Decorator

The Farrow and Ball 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.

Charlie Holmes

Professional Painter and Decorator

10 yrs in the trade

Farrow and Ball emulsion is not a good paint! It doesn’t cover well enough Over priced, great colours.

Johnstone’s Trade match Farrow and Ball colours perfectly and the paint is so much better!! For the price of Farrow and Ball, you could get Johnstone’s perfect matt, which is another league! The colour match is perfect too!


John Barker - What Decorators Think About Farrow and Ball Paint

Professional Painter and Decorator


28 years in the trade.

Poor coverage!! When pricing a job I have to tell the customer it will need an extra coat and better to get the colour mixed in a different product. The thing is, Farrow and Ball are missing out on a fortune!! People want their colours and there marketing / brand is clearly effective. It would be interesting to see a figure on how much paint is actually mixed up in Farrow and Ball colours but using alternative brands of paint. They should look at ways of improving their product.


Myles Fitzpatrick

Professional Painter and Decorator

The coverage of Farrow and Ball emulsion is bad and I feel it’s well over price. The colours are good though.

Lee Cotterill

Professional Painter and Decorator

Farrow and Ball emulsion is not bad to use, good flow, but never covers in 2 coats. Always expect to apply three, or sometimes four coats of paint. It keeps in the tin for ages unlike most emulsions that have a shelf life of a couple of months. All in all, never had too many problems, except on price.


Neil Belsom

Professional Painter and Decorator

I’ve been a decorator for 23 years.

I actually love using Farrow and Ball emulsion. I don’t worry about the price because apart from doing rooms in my own place, I’m not the one paying for it. Negatives – it’s not the most robust of paints. I’m not sure why customers want it on their walls when they have dogs and young kids putting their paws and mucky fingers over it. I personally think they have improved the formula over the last few years as you now seem to get away with touching up. The interior eggshell is superb in coverage.

I see others posting on DFUK about having to use the undercoat /primer but I disagree. If you read the technical data sheet, it doesn’t need to be used if going over a similar colour. Tips – just give it a really good stir, don’t be shy putting it on and your be fine with the two coats, though sometimes the cutting in will usually need 3 coats. Johnstone’s for match, they get close but not perfect.


Steve Chubb

Professional Painter and Decorator


Any colour change is normally three coats, which means more emulsion and more labour. As a decorator, I need to price that into my quotes.

The Estate Emulsion is too chalky! You can scuff it easily just by walking past a painted wall. The Modern Emulsion is more durable, but it’s too shiny!! The sheen level makes it look awful.

Both emulsion products picture frame and flash. You can see every roller mark. There are better emulsion products on the market.

I do like the eggshell though.

Liz Manning

Professional Painter and Decorator

I don’t mind Farrow and Ball emulsion. You know what you’re getting and the problems with it. It doesn’t warrant the price and I wouldn’t use it in my own house.

Pete Jones

Professional Painter and Decorator

I’ve been a Decorator for about 21 years.

Farrow and Ball paint is ok. It’s got a cult following on Facebook, and the colour range is brilliant. A lot of other Decorators don’t like it because occasionally you’re left needing additional coats. I must admit I’m not a fan of Estate Emulsion because it’s like retail paint. Everything else is fine.


Professional Painter and Decorator

Updated May 2, 2024 | Posted Aug 27, 2018 | 2 comments

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Cupit has been in the decorating industry since 2002 and has mostly worked as a Trade Decorator in the domestic sector (peoples’ homes). Self-proclaimed “product geek”, Mike has a passion for paint and decorating tools. Mike now spends most of his time testing paint products and tools, comparing them to similar products on the market, and blogging about the industry in general.


  1. Stephen George

    I’ve found it a nice paint to use with the use of the f&b wall and ceiling under coat. It does leave a lovely finish and a very good variety of colours but you can not touch this paint up it does take a full recover of wall when needed.
    It’s a great product if you don’t mind the price . I would recommend this if you have a budget of a millionaire.
    Great paint not so great price.

  2. B scott

    Decorating family for 60 years . We find farrow and ball insanely overpriced and the Coverage is very poor.
    Dulux is a better product and its by far the best paint we use.
    Farrow and ball seems to be a trend for some unknown reason.


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