Farrow & Ball's color expert reveals the entryway paint mistake to avoid

The paint guru teaches you how to play with the limitations of space – for the right first impression

Farrow & Ball
(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

Your paint choices are transformative in every room, but none more so than your entryway. In this room, your design decisions have the ability to create the right first (and lasting) impression – so it's important to get the color right. 

To maximize your chance of success, you could do far worse than following the advice of Patrick O'Donnell, Farrow & Ball's International Brand Ambassador. In his time at the prestigious paint company, Patrick has observed paint ideas – including the hues that work well in the space – and, perhaps even more importantly, the tones to avoid. 

Sharing his entryway ideas with H&G, Patrick revealed the biggest mistake you can make when painting – and the tones to use instead. 

The biggest entryway paint mistake – according to Farrow & Ball 

Farrow & Ball

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

The Farrow & Ball expert explains that the biggest error you can make is not considering the light in your hallway. And, even if your space is naturally shaded, you can still utilize the light with paint – and make the area feel bigger. 

Many hallways can feel starved of natural light, so most people tend to address this by painting it a shade of white. Whilst this should feel like a logical solution, it can often be a big no-no,' Patrick says. The expert suggests that white paint is likely to lead to the opposite of the desired effect. 'What can happen is you end up in a cold and gloomy space,' he adds. 

What should you choose instead?  

Farrow & Ball

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

When considering your hallway paint ideas, Patrick suggests opting for warmer shades – 'essentially anything with underlying red and yellow tones,' which can still be neutral. However, if you're tempted to go more dramatic, the expert recommends going dark. 

'It always works a treat as you are playing with the limitations of the space, not fighting them,' he says. 

Patrick isn't alone in his admiration for darker tones in small entryways. From Farrow & Ball to Benjamin Moore – the paint houses are in agreement: you should go to the dark side. 

Farrow & Ball

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

'If you are working with a long narrow space, like a hallway, you can use a darker color at the end to draw the eye through the room and make the area feel more spacious,' says Helen Shaw, the Director Of Marketing at Benjamin Moore

'As well as using color to create the impression of a larger space, your hallway connects to each room, so the hue chosen should feel harmonious with the rest of the house,' she adds.

Is it time to turn away from a white entryway? If these experts suggest so, we surely won't disagree. 

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.