Is Farrow and Ball Worth the Money? Choosing and Using Farrow and Ball

If you’re reading this blog, then perhaps, like us, you’re embarking on a re-decorating or renovation project, someone has recommended using Farrow and Ball and your wondering ‘is it really worth the money?’.

For us, the recommendations had come in thick and fast. Everyone from our (rather fabulous) dog groomer (Ruth at The Cotswold Grooming Co) to the MD where I work had raved about Farrow and Ball; “the coverage is great”, “the colours are outstanding”, “it’s really worth the money” – and so much to Rich’s dismay, we ended up in the Farrow and Ball section of the paint aisle at Homebase.

Of course, we did due diligence and looked at other paint brands, everything from low to middle range…and left empty handed with nothing but a colour chart and a few colour swatch cards.

Paint looks so different under the lights at mainstream DIY stores, and having already chosen our curtains, we were keen to ensure the paint complimented the curtains as well as gave the overall impression we were going for with the newly plastered lounge.

We were going for a ‘modern country’ look, and with this being our ‘forever’ home, we were keen to go for something a little braver colour wise. We’d already invested time, money and a whole lot of effort installing a log burner, and we were keen to get the colour right.

After much deliberation we were down to two dark greys, both of which were on the Farrow and Ball paint chart we’d picked up from B&Q (or Homebase I forget which). We’d selected Farrow and Ball ‘Moles Breath’ and ‘Down Pipe Grey’, so off we trot to our local DIY store for sample pots. At £4.50 each, the sample pots aren’t cheap…and it took some serious convincing to get Rich to agree to buy them. It was worth it though because Moles Breath and Down Pipe Grey are VERY different colours.

The Moles Breath is a much warmer grey, with brown tones in it, whereas the Down Pipe Grey is a much colder and bluer grey. Still not 100% sure, I took a quick snap of the test patch of both colours and asked the wonderful people of Instagram to vote…the voting was 80% Moles Breath…

What I would say here is if you are thinking of going down the Farrow and Ball route…and you’re on a budget like us, don’t skip the tester pot stage, and ensure that you use multiple coats of the tester to get a true idea of the final colour. 

I spent a lot of time online, especially on Pinterest looking for photos of rooms in both of these colours to see how they’d look. The great thing about going for a brand like Farrow and Ball is there is an abundance of photos online showing various colours in different contexts.

Still unsure, we popped along to our local Farrow and Ball shop rather than the DIY store this time to get some help. If you have a shop nearby I highly recommend going in – we took our curtains along with us too (yup we really were this committed to being happy with the final colour). The staff were super helpful and friendly and we were able to look at much bigger swatches and samples of the colours and look at them in different lights against our curtains. The lovely lady helped us make a final decision and we went with our gut and chose to go for Moles Breath on two walls and the Cornforth White on the other two walls – we ordered the paint to be delivered to the house and that was that!

As anyone who has invested a significant amount of time prepping a room for painting will tell you, getting to the painting stage is not only exciting, but is also slight nerve racking. When you’ve spent weeks/months in dust knocking walls about and re-plastering you don’t want to fall at the last hurdle. We’d re-plastered the walls over a month prior to painting and had invested in a decent bse coat (although not the Farrow and Ball one) and we were ready…

Rich did a sterling job of cutting in and I followed along with standard, medium pile roller. The moment the Moles Breath colour went on we loved it and new we’d made the right choice…phew! HOWEVER having put the roller down and stood back to admire our handy work we were HORRIFIED!

Farrow and Ball Moles Breath first coat
Farrow and Ball – Moles Breath first coat

The walls were unbelievably uneven and streaky and you could see roller marks all over the wall. My immediate reaction is of concern, that I have messed this up and done a terrible job – but Rich reassured me I couldn’t have done anything that horrendous…

We panicked and hopped online, was this normal….of course we knew we still had the second coat to go on but surely a second coat wouldn’t rectify this.

Anyway, the next morning with a fresher mind we set to work on the second coat. Breathing a sigh of relief, I can safely say the 2nd coat looked a whole lot better…

Farrow and Ball Moles Breath 2nd coat
Farrow and Ball Moles Breath 2nd coat

We were, however a little disappointed on the 2nd coat drying to learn that we were going to need to put a third coat on – which meant going out to buy another tin of paint that we hadn’t really budgeted for. In hindsight, if we’d known we’d need a third coat we could have ordered a bigger tin from the outset which would have been more cost effective – and we could have spared ourselves the panic.

Having spent some time reading up and asking other people it would seem that these deeper colours commonly need 3 coats – so overall we ended up spending circa £200 to paint one room…

The Verdict: Is Farrow and Ball worth the money?
If you’d asked me (as an irrational female) after applying the first coat…it would have been an absolute no. I’d even said to Rich that I refused to use Farrow and Ball in any other room of the house…

However, now that the paint is dry and the room is almost complete, I am over the moon – and yes I would use it again. The colour is perfect, the finish is a flat matt which is exactly what we were going for and the depth of colour is spot on!

Farrow and Ball Moles Breath
Farrow and Ball Moles Breath – Floor unfinished (will be Oak floor)

For us, we are embarking on a relatively large renovation project so we probably couldn’t justify painting the whole house with Farrow and Ball – however for feature walls and rooms I wouldn’t hesitate to use Farrow and Ball again.

Farrow and Ball Moles Breath
Farrow and Ball Moles Breath – Floor unfinished (will be Oak floor)

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