Choosing the right paint colour with with Farrow and Ball colour consultancy

Let’s talk paint colour!

I am sure you already know I am a bit of an interiors obsessive and that I have a strong opinion on what I want my house to look like (although if I am honest, this can change often!).

However, when it comes to choosing paint colour I find it HARD!

I am that person who has a sample pot of every shade of paint colour – with a focus on greys – from every paint company. I stare at each of them for hours until the point where I can no longer make any decision, panic buy a shade I don’t even have a sample of and then hate it as soon as it goes on the walls.

I can tell you, my husband does NOT appreciate this personality trait!

Even when I know we are going to have to paint a room months in advance it still creeps up on me and I panic. I have taken to painting everything a shade of off white and whilst I absolutely love this look – such as in our kitchen which I still adore – it is simply not right for every room.
Take our living room for example; it is south facing but the window is tucked at the side of the house so doesn’t get much light and there is a lovely large bay tree right outside the window blocking the rest of the light.
As a result the room is a bit dark. I started off painting it white but that just accentuated the lack of natural light and made it look very gloomy.

A year or so later I finally managed to convince the other half to get out his paintbrush and we went for a light grey. It was better but still not right.

Fast forward a few more years and the itch to sort it out has not gone away. I know they say that you should embrace a dark room and go ahead and paint it dark but this felt terrifying!

I realised I needed the help of a professional, so I called in the colour experts – the Farrow and Ball colour consultancy service.

The Farrow and Ball colour consultancy

The Farrow and Ball colour consultancy is basically a service where a trained colour experts come to your home armed with large swatches of each of their paint colours and share tailored design advice bespoke to you to help you decide on colours for up to four rooms in your home.

Sounds great, right!

I booked in and eagerly awaited my appointment with colour consultant Emily from my local showroom in Solihull.

On the day I was a bit nervous, but Emily was absolutely fantastic. She so quickly understood my style, home and the sticky points and was very understanding about my inability to make a paint colour decision.

I wanted her help with the rooms that received the least light – so the living room as I’ve already mentioned but also the hallway which suffers from a similar issue. If we had the time (you get about an hour), I wanted to move on to a couple of bedrooms that I thought could do with spicing up!

We started with the hallway. Emily took a look around and suggested I needed a bit more depth than what is currently there – which is an off-white/pale oatmeal paint colour. She brought out some swatches and we played around looking at the different ways the light hit (or didn’t hit) different part of the space, working with the items that couldn’t be changed such as the carpet and looking at the different architectural elements such as the woodwork and the picture rails. She pushed me but not so far that I felt uncomfortable with our final decision which was similar to what I already have but a couple of shades deeper.

We did the same process in the living room and I was relieved and excited when Emily agreed that we needed to go darker! Again we looked at the light in different parts of the room, the architecture and the furniture that was staying.

I was ready to go for a really dark paint colour, but Emily picked out Mole’s Breath and it just worked perfectly – a warm grey that worked alongside the blue velvet sofa and would look cosy and inviting without being cave-like.

Emily also suggested painting the ceiling a different paint colour – skimming stone – and keeping the skirting board and picture rail the same colour as the wall for a modern take on my quite classic looking room. Normally I would be quaking in my boots by all this decision making in such a short amount of time but I felt so confident with our decisions thanks to Emily’s guidance and expertise.

And if you sense a little bit of a girl crush here you would be spot on 😉 She just really knew her stuff and I couldn’t help but be more than a little impressed.

We finished off with the other rooms which I will keep to myself for now as it’ll be a fun surprise to reveal them to you when we get around to redecorating them.

After only a few days following the colour consultancy service, I received a gorgeous pack in the post with swatches of each of my chosen paint colours and notes on what we had decided to go where.

I am SO excited to finally get the living room where I want it to be…and don’t worry, you aren’t going to have to wait long to see it as a decorator is booked TOMORROW to start!

Did the colour consultancy help me pick paint colours?


Would I recommend the Farrow and Ball colour consultancy? YES!

In fact, next time I need to redecorate I will be calling for Emily’s help!

Having an expert opinion to help you see your space from a fresh perspective was invaluable. They don’t push you to do anything you don’t want to but will help you consider paint colours and ideas that you probably wouldn’t have on your own.

It is also particularly great because the colour consultants are independent to your immediate circle of friends and family who will by no fault of their own probably only just confuse you!

I really was buzzing the whole day after Emily left and couldn’t have gotten on the phone to the decorator any quicker.

I was lucky enough to be gifted the colour consultancy service, but I think it is normally about £200 and £50 of that is redeemable against paint. Whilst I know this can seem like a lot of money, I really think it is brilliant value for money if, like me, you struggle to make a firm decision with colour. If nothing else, I know it will save me more money and time from getting it wrong and re-re painting.

Three things I learned when picking paint colours

If you are eager to start repainting and aren’t quite ready to book your own colour constancy, I asked Emily to share her top tips when picking paint colours for your home.

First up Emily really recommended the latest Farrow and Ball book How to Decorate which walks you through the process of choosing the right colour for your space. I have since bought the book and love it.

Here are the three main things to consider when picking your paint colour:

Light: The room you are decorating will have it’s own unique light, be that cool northern light, or warmer souther light but in both cases the most important thing is to monitor how it changes though out the day.

Farrow and Ball recommend to not fight against dark spaces by painting them white but say to embrace a darker more striking colour – they suggest painting hallways a dark colour which will make every room leading off it feel brighter and lighter.  Conversely, their say large rooms with lots of light can benefit from a lighter, airy shade.

Architecture: Colour can appear to visually alter the proportions of a room. Lighter colours are best suited to larger airier rooms whereas darker tones will enhance small areas. It is also worth considering the shape and architecture of a room – awkward shapes and low ceilings can be off set with the right treatment, and you can highlight or play down features. For example in my home I will be paining the fireplace in the hall the same colour as the wall as I want our mirror which sits next to it to be the focal point in the room, not the fireplace.

Personal Style: This is a key element to any design choice. It is important to think and gather ideas about your own style before decorating be it through a Pinterest board, cutting from a magazine or family heirloom. Don’t focus too much on current trends but pick colours that will work for your life today and reflect your personality.

Want to know more?

Visit the Farrow and Ball website here
Find out more about the colour consultancy service here
Check out their Instagram for inspiration here
Buy the book here (I did and I love it)

I was gifted the colour consultancy service but as always all words and opinions are my own and I would never promote something I wouldn’t be happy to pay for myself. 





1 Comment

  1. teddy bear
    February 7, 2018 / 9:01 pm

    Far’s my photo….?

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