farrow and ball: color masters

this is sort of a funny post for me – i’ve never really been a “color” girl when it comes to painting interior walls. as far as paint goes 90% of the time, you can call me white dove (benjamin moore, OC-17, learn it, love it). i’d so much rather advise a client to decorate with fabrics, as i learned from the wonderfully wise melissa rufty, rather than have to decorate around the color on the walls. you have to really commit when you pick a wall color – it’s much easier to swap out a sofa pillow fabric than to re-paint walls. that’s my two cents, anyway…

however, during my work for a recent project (reno on a kitchen and family room combo), my ever-abiding love for farrow and ball was reignited. it is more pricey than the usual, yes, but in my opinion, the results are incomparable! i would only say to utilize farrow and ball for an important room, so only use it if you know that you’ll really enjoy the room or if it’s a high-traffic/entertaining space. their colors are so rich and special – it’s worth the splurge if you do it right! the names they choose are quite surprising and ever so random…but they will stick in your head once you choose them!

here are my top ten farrow and ball colors:

1. smoked trout #60 – to me, this has a classic, old new orleans feel to it. it’s the perfect mix of pink, grey, and orange, and has such depth to it. show this one off in the entryway, or warm up a dining room with it.


bespoke_classical_painted_kitchen_enigma_design_sandycove_12. cornforth white #228 – an easy choice for walls of a neutral kitchen to pair off the warmth of polished nickel fixtures. it’s a cool grey, but feels so refreshing.

3. hague blue #30 – this color belongs in a special space. it’s just dark enough to create atmosphere, but it’s bright enough that it reads “blue”. it’s got such depth – i see this in a high gloss finish in a study or library.

4. dead salmon #28 -gotta love these names, seriously. this one is a much stronger pink than my #1 fave smoked trout, but i think this would be gorgeous in a dining room or formal living room. again, maybe in a high gloss. not for the faint of heart, or people who can’t live with pink!

5. joa’s white #226 – upon first glance at the swatch, this is not a go-to color for me. i’m not a yellow person, per se..and tend to cringe when i see butter or creamy yellow interior walls. however, i’m about to update that joint kitchen/family room i was talking about earlier with this warm off-white. we’re working with swedish green-gray wood floors, and i think this slightly darker version of off-white is just the thing.

6. pavilion gray #242 – this is a really great, go-to for a monochromatic look. if your floorplan is open, use this color to warmly unify spaces and slap it everywhere – trim, walls, and ceiling. it will make the space feel bigger, i promise!

7. lichen #19 – i naturally gravitate to all kinds of green. i think this particular shade would be gorgeous in a study, or on kitchen cabinets (see above).

8. mole’s breath #276 – this is a newer color from f&b, but it’s a great one. super deep, so i think it needs a room with a good deal of natural light…it’s kind of drab, but i really do love it.

9. slipper satin #2004 – another off-white that i think is perfection. it has the most amazing creamy undertones. i’d use this color in a master suite: on the walls/trim/ceiling in the bedroom for an enveloping effect, and then repeat it in the closet and the bathroom, maybe on the vanity…it’s so versatile!

10. last but not least…off black #57 – i know it’s scary to think about painting anything, let alone your home, in black. but this is just the right balance of everything: it’s a clear black – if you look hard, you can pull out blues and grays from it. and what it does for a room! it’s like your favorite lipstick – and it makes everything around it look better. from built-ins to walls with bright antique brass accents to contrast trim to high gloss on a door – you cannot go wrong with this if you have the guts to go for it!