This is the question you should ask if you want to split the home-remodeling community. Is Farrow & Ball paint worth it? Is color-matching possible?
For over 12 years, I have been using Farrow and Ball real paints. I have also used color-matched paints from many paint suppliers for many years. Based on my personal experience, I have seen positive results with both. Both have produced terrible results for me.
What I haven’t done is take the time to do a more precise experiment to determine how close-a-match color-matching comes. So I bought five authentic F&B testers and five identical Johnstones color-matched colors.
Here’s what my time, experience and experiment have taught me.
FARROW AND BALL COLORINGS CAN NOT BE REPLICATED
You can see the differences between these colors, but you don’t have to get very close. Many of the colors used in replicas are darker than real ones, while some look completely different. Slipper Satin is more yellow. Setting Plaster is much pinker than it is peach. The ‘Churlish green’ fake is disgusting.
My husband, who is normally completely uninterested in my life, pointed at a card and said, “I bet that’s Farrow and Ball.” I almost fell to the ground. “WHAT?! “WHY?” I demanded immediately. “Because it’s deeper” (jaw hits the floor). Johnstones can’t fool anyone if an interiors Buffoon such as him can figure it out.
Farrow and Ball are charging the Earth for their colors. They don’t just add synthetic colors to the mix and bulk it with low-grade fillers. They use natural pigments that are not possible to replicate synthetically.
If you love the F&B color, I recommend getting the real deal.
YES, IF YOU LOVE THE CHALKY FINISH.
They’re known for it! These organic, natural pigments create beautiful, rich colors and a stunning finish. If you like a matte, chalky, velvety look that reacts to natural light, then I recommend the real thing. It’s especially important if the space is for a luxurious space such as a bedroom or a formal living room. If you have frequently used areas and need to withstand being smashed, scraped, and snotted on, you may want to consider a more durable brand.
NO – If you want to be friends with your decorator,
If you say “Farrow and Ball”, most decorators will sigh, groan and roll their eyes. Or, if they’re truly impolite, start a torrent of verbal abuse. It’s not something they like. Fact. It’s not worth the cost, they say. If you want to live with your decorator, it’s better to color-match.
NO, UNTIL YOU ARE PREPARED FOR THREE COATS.
Three coats are required if you use Farrow & Ball. This is the truth. If you love it and are eager to use it, you should be prepared for it. You will pay more for paint and take longer to complete the job. It’s important to decide if it is worth it.
YES, IF YOU ARE GOING TO A NEUTRAL
It may be surprising, but I have found that color matching with neutrals has the worst results. Many people believe that you can’t go wrong with an off-white or a neutral. These are some of the most complicated colors, and it is difficult to imitate them. A yellow-based, earthy color that can make you think of glistening sand can suddenly appear more like nicotine-stained walls if it is color-matched.
If THE BRAND INSPIRES YOU, YES
Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if everyone were to match their colors. Farrow and Ball would be extinct, and what then? Who would be inspired? Who would think up those brilliant new colors every few years? Who would create those gorgeous color cards that we all love? Who would create the most inspiring marketing images to inspire us in our interior design? Over the years, designer paint brands have been so inspiring that I feel I owe them a debt of loyalty.
ONLY IF YOU THINK THAT YOU ARE GETTING VALUE IN MARKETING.
Value for money can be subjective. Everyone has a budget, and there may be higher priorities than what is put on the walls. Designer paint is worth it for me, but I’m happy to shop at Sainsbury’s when it comes time to buy clothes. Everyone has their standards.