The Handbook
The Handbook

Few brands have nailed something so niche as Farrow & Ball. From the curiously named Elephant’s Breath to the ever popular Hague Blue, the brand’s richly pigmented shades have become famous in their own right and have the power to ignite many a compliment of your downstairs loo, living room or kitchen cabinets, usually responded with a smug, “Oh, thanks. It’s Farrow & Ball.”

Painfully middle class F&B may be, but it is really rather good – the quality is second to none, the shades lead the way in what’s hot in interiors without falling prey to what’s cool on Instagram, and the product is easy to work with and lasts. We’ve handpicked our favourite shades from the Farrow & Ball selection plus some of the colours we expect to be big news for 2020 and beyond.

Elephant’s Breath

The shade: Despite it being one of F&B’s most recognisable paint names, the shade is actually pretty paired back and neutral, sitting somewhere between an off-white and a warm , contemporary mid-grey.

Good to know: Like all paint shades it can vary depending on the artificial and natural light of the room so be sure to order a test pot before committing to the whole project. In some lights it can look very bright and white,but put it on a west facing wall for example and it can show a hint of cool lilac.

Best in: Bright airy spaces – we particularly love it in a high-ceilinged bathroom with lots of natural light. Use it on different textures, from wooden furniture to floors, plaster to mantels to create shade and texture without losing that glorious light to bask in.

De Nimes

The shade: Farrow & Ball are known for their blues, from the deep dark moods of Hague Blue to the vibrant seaside-inspired Lilworth and the formal graphic feel of Drawing Room Blue. You only have to search each of their hashtags to stumble upon a wealth of interiors inspo. But It’s De Nimes that we really love. This blue seems inherently cooler than some of F&B’s bigger names with a wonderfully down to earth tone that can be put to pretty much every room in the house.

The exact shade is rooted in a regency palette but is inspired by the cloth of everyday workwear made in the French city Nîmes.

Farrow & Ball say: “Like denim, its blue hue is ultimately fashionable and yet always feels grounded.”

Best in: Anywhere, from front doors to downstairs loos, grand drawing rooms to kitchen islands, but we particularly love it in cosy nooks. We love how Zoe Feldman Design have used it to encompass an at-home bar and the way Sims Hilditch Interiors have brought these panelled cabinets to life by painting the inside with the shade.

Setting Plaster

The shade: Make your walls blush with this modern classic that was created by the Farrow & Ball team to emulate that look of newly plastered houses, making it peppy and pretty without trying too hard. Blush pink, millennial pink, whatever you want to call it, has been a huge trend in the last six, seven years and while we still love it, it has been done to death.

Farrow & Ball’s Setting Plaster however holds a slightly yellowy tone, ensuring it’s not sickly sweet and still reeks of that F&B luxury.

Best in: The calming pink tones work well in a living room that you’ll want to cocoon in to and serves as the perfect backdrop to antique furniture and artwork. For a more modern approach, this shade looks cool with a slightly ’50s retro vibe when used on kitchen cabinets, as seen here in this Neal Beckstedt designed space.

Shades Set To Be Huge In 2020

We’ll always return to Farrow & Ball’s catalogue of cult colours, but this year we’ll be adding a few new shades to our prefered colour palettes. Here are some of our favourites.

Duck Green & Sap Green

Green is overtaking blue in the Farrow & Ball popularity stakes for 2020 as customers look for ways to bring the outdoors in, even in inner city properties. We love the earthy tones of Duck Green when used in a modern kitchen and the retro hues of Sap Green when paired with burnt ochres or boldly paired against pinks and reds.

Mouse’s Back

Owing its name and shade to the fawn-coloured field mouse found all over the British countryside, this understated soft grey-brown brings a naturalistic feel to any space.

Thanks to it’s relaxing qualities, it’s perfect for a bathroom space paired against more luxury but natural materials like stone and marble.

Farrow & Ball says: “It will read greener when used on the walls of underlit rooms and is the perfect accent on furniture or floors.”

Treron and Pigeon

Spanning the space between two of the interior design world’s colour love affairs – grey and green – Treron and Pigeon are avian-inspired shades ideal for those who want to embrace 2020’s green trend but aren’t quite brave enough.

Shop the shades featured below…