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Thursday, 3 February 2011

Designer Paint Palettes

Whenever I open a colour card, the first colour I look for is Grey. Rightly or wrongly, I decide whether a particular brand are any good by how they master these shades. (Reds are notoriously difficult to get right, too.)

The paint companies I use most often are Farrow & Ball and The Little Greene Company and, between you and me, I lust after Zoffany's range of colours. Of course, Dulux is the big brand but I refer to them less and less these days because the coverage of the designer brands is superior. It's as simple as that.

I'm going to show you the colours that I feel stand out from each of my favourite paint companies

1. Zoffany

Interiors fabric company Zoffany released their own brand of colours to support their range of wallpapers and it is a fantastic range of colours. I love it so much that I have their entire chart pasted up on my 'Great Wall of Thoughts and Inspiration'.

My one bug bear with them is you can't go into your local paint shop and pick it up - you have to pre-order it. Grrrr, you can just image what the painters make of that... (If someone at Zoffany is reading this, please sort this out. I'd buy your product if you made it more accessible. Truly.)

Vermeer Yellow Gorgeous!

Victorian Purple. I cannot wait to use this...

2. Farrow & Ball

 Farrow & Ball are the popular choice with my clients; they offer brand confidence and so, they are an easy sell. Due to the VOC ruling, F&B no longer produce oil based paints which means that painters (who know what they're doing) wont use the water based eggshell on certain surfaces. Read specialist craftsman, Andy Crichton's fantastic blog for more detailed information.

Now F&B have a number of colours that work hard for the money but the new colours for 2011 are amazing - I love them all! These are just 4 of my favourites:

Charlotte's Locks

Brassica Hardwick White Charlotte's Locks
  Brassica                Hardwick White          Charlotte's Locks

Which leads me to Hardwick White. This colour is an old favourite of mine. It has a strong green undertone but look how well it copes with these strong colours...

 Lonsdale Square 2007                                                        Elmwood Rd 2010 

3. Little Green Company
I love the palettes but the sample pots are too small!

I'm a big fan of Little Greene Company - they're all rounders: Great colours, great product, super customer service. They are also absorbing many disgruntled F&B customers looking for an oil based eggshell in a Heritage colour and they do not disappoint. I love their greys - French Grey never fails me. Great website, too - you can shop by colour 

Lately, I am loving these...

It is important to always sample paint colours, onsite, especially if you're living within an existing palette. To do so, effectively, paint individual colours onto large boards (preferably non-porous) so that you can move them around the room during the day to see how the colour is effected by the changing light.

All three companies listed have excellent websites so you can play around with these palettes before you sample. What do you think of these colours? Are any of the new colours rocking your world?


  1. Very awesome post Heather. I love your photography and how you put a cool spin on angles.

    You're right about the red though, they are definitely hard to nail.

    Colors that rock my world now? The answer to that would be anything different at this point. I'm a little tiresome of seeing the same color pallets over and over again.

    I did a recent blog post on some colors that I like, still not sure though but definitely looking for something unique. Check it out here if you'd like.

  2. I just spent the better part of 2010 remodeling our home. Color turned out to be thEE most important decision I made.

    I did consult with feng shui practitioner, Stephanie McWilliams. Her support was amazing. I have to tell you I learned so much about myself from paint colors. When I was defiant with her on her seemingly crazy color choices she always made me think by saying "isn't if funny how color is so important it can evoke this much emotion?" She was right.

    Red is a hard color to peg. I knew I wanted a read door and Dried Tomato from Sherwin Williams did the trick. To get Red to look like the color swatch you HAVE to use a tinted primer and it took 5 coats to look just like the sample. Love It.

    I have a contemporary rustic home now and you should have seen the faces of the contractors when they walked in after the painters had been there.

    In the end they all loved it and the purple blush color in my living room that I thought was sooo out there now fades off into a soft taupy eggplant.

    Love your site, my first time visiting.

  3. I'm loving that Vermeer yellow Heather. And I'm definitely going over to the Little Greene Company's website for a nosy. xx

  4. Love all those you selected! Particularly that Victorian Purple...never been interested in purple...but that one is really moody and has set my mind racing!

    Thanks for sharing :)


  5. great blog post Heather, shows the wonders of traditional paint colours. Unlike myself who is so pro Little Greene (i feel wed to them) you offer a very balanced view. Gray is good. thanks for the link too :)

  6. Brilliant Post - thank you!

    I am in total love with Brassica (F&B), Juniper Ash & James (Little Greene Company)

    Here is OZ we don't have access to the same companies sadly but we do get:
    Porter's Paints (
    Murobond (

    Its really exciting with Murobond as they have teamed up with aussie stylist Sibella Court (twitter @sibellacourt / author of Etcetera Etc) to create the Society Inc Colours.

    I think you would really like them!

  7. Fantastic post Heather as always! I started to spec zoffany's paint for all my projects 6 months ago and haven't looked back. I bought one of their paint folders (large actual painted samples, that are so much more accurate than the little printed cards) The quality of richness of the colours is fantastic.. and guess what? my favourite colour is victorian purple- painted unit in our office and a clients wc so far and i've still not had enough!! Re issue of only available by pre-order I prefer this as its another revenue stream rather than decorator buying paint or even worse having a look at it and colour 'matching' it with dulux! Excited to see farrow and balls new colours- i'm obsessed with finding the perfect grey. keep up fab posts, huge fan here

  8. Wow, these comments are epic! Where to begin...

    Carole - I actually *swooned* when I first saw it.

    Anishka - Agreed. Court Jester purple actually makes me cross but this shade is beautiful. I've been searching for something like this for a long time.

    Oliver - thank you! I will look them up; it's so interesting to see what other paint companies are doing around the world.

    Sophie - I'm not at all surprised to find all that it's the super talented designers that are singling that colour out - it's a powerful colour and it needs someone who knows how to handle it. Interesting to know that you find the Zoffany paint sample book useful - I have both the F&B and LGC and they're worth every penny for the sheer practicality, onsite. I do still paint up big (A2) boards, out of habit, I guess. Interesting to note that you don't. (It's something that takes up so much of my time, so may drop it.)

  9. What gorgeous shots you have here!
    I've used F&B "Blazer" in two room in my old house and just love it. Their new colors are fabulous...and I am very into grays right now in our new house!

  10. Victorian Purple is the best among all your choices!

  11. what a fascinating post - cant quite believe the order ahead business - seriously?!

    and victorian purple is just gorgeous. hope you use it somewhere so we can see it in application. julesx

  12. Hi Heather,
    Its Emma (from Zoffany!) I stumbled upon your blog via Twitter. Such an amazing post, Thank you for sharing, and Im so pleased that you Love our Paint. Of course, Im completely biased, but share your excitement at the colour palette, and more importantly the coverage...You'll be pleased to know 'Victorian Purple' is featured in our Spring Advertising Campaign, and as a Thank you, I have popped a little gift in the post to you which Im sure you'll Love and find useful. Regarding Delivery, we offer a next day service via our stockists, and designers, yourself included. I hope to meet up with you soon to show you our Spring Collections, and I look forward to reading your blog, an inspiring, and informative read. Xx

  13. Emma, what a fabulous comment - thank you! Sophie's earlier comment changed my perception of how you operate and so, I will definitely be specifying Zoffany from now on. I'm coming down to Chelsea Harbour for Design week - if not before (probably before, actually) and so I will pop in and have a closer look at the Victorian Purple. I have a project on at the moment that is just ripe for it.

    Thanks again. x

  14. Heather - what a great post, so helpful and very informative. I too am a lover of Farrow & Ball - because the paint sample pad you buy is the actual colours it makes a designers life so easy. Will have to go into Zoffany to look at their range - some beautiful colours there.

  15. Heather, I'll be in the Showroom Monday and Tuesday during Design Week, so do pop in and say Hello if you're around. Xx

  16. Little Greene paints rock - we've painted our windows with their aquamarine and love it. Not heard of Zoffany though - will check them out. thanks Heather - hope u managed to get your fitness instructor to change her cd btw

  17. this is a great blog post Heather, shows the wonders of traditional paint Please log on our website for Jaipur Property

  18. Great post - I see I am about a year late in reading it though!
    I love Little Greene because they have the highest solid content in their emulsion - a whopping 40%. They actually produce most of the premium brands anyway. I find their technical team very good too. I wanted to understand one of their greys recently and the tech team told me which pigments they put in it which really helped me to detect undertones.

  19. Thanks for your post, very interesting. I will use Juniper Ash and the Mambo blue of Little Green in my mum's house in Bretagne. I can't wait to see it finished !

  20. Eggersmann Kitchen

    Thanks friend. By heart thanks to you to provide such a good article. Before design the room person are first choose the color. Color is the vital part in decoration. Thanks...

  21. I only know the colors of the rainbow haha :D

  22. I want to give my special thanks to you; very first time I have got such type of blog that has described everything perfectly. Great Western Painting


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