Inky blues, dusky pinks and olive greens may be stealing the spotlight right now, but if you’re looking for a beautiful, hardworking shade to suit any space, it doesn’t get much better than a gorgeous grey.
'This versatile neutral is wonderful as a striking statement or subtle background shade, and there’s one (or more) on our color card for every kind of space,' says Farrow & Ball color specialists.
So, what are the most popular Farrow & Ball colors in 2021? Read on to find out...
- See: Grey living room ideas – for gorgeous neutral schemes
Which is the most popular Farrow & Ball color – and why?
It's Skimming Stone – a pale grey that's just off-white. Soft and subtle, light grey can be used anywhere you’d consider a white. Far from looking spartan, it can add character and depth to even the simplest of spaces.
‘The most important aspect of using color in 2021 is to create spaces that are warm and welcoming for our friends and family – colors that make us feel proud of our homes. Strong colors suit rooms we use at the end of the day when we want to relax and be comforted,’ advises Joa Studhome, Farrow & Ball (opens in new tab) Color Curator.
1. Cornforth White
Neither too warm nor too cool, Cornforth White is an extremely versatile and understated color. Decorating schemes will never tire of white but an all-white scheme can make a real statement. Glamorous yet relaxed, mix up different tones of white for a fresh and airy feel.
‘Being neither too warm nor too cool, Cornforth White (opens in new tab) is an extremely versatile and understated color which is fantastically easy to live with,’ shares Joa Studholme, Color Curator at Farrow & Ball. ‘It can be used on walls in combination either with the lighter Ammonite (opens in new tab) or darker Purbeck Stone (opens in new tab) on woodwork for a timeless but elegant scheme.’
As it sits in the middle of the cool/warm spectrum, Cornforth White is a good option for rooms that are both north- and south-facing, and adds a creamy aspect to a room. It’s also a fabulous blank canvas if you wish to use some color.
Ammonite is named after the treasured fossils often found on the Dorset coast. It has a fantastically understated quality. Its subtle grey tones create a hushed, calming feel.
It is Farrow & Ball's most popular neutral – neither too warm nor too cool, and works in all rooms, no matter their orientation. There's a very subtle grey tone to it that is only noticeably if you pair it with a brighter white such as All White (opens in new tab).
‘Ammonite (opens in new tab) has a fantastically understated quality,’ says Joa. ‘Its subtle grey tones create a hushed, calming feel. A lighter version of the ever-popular Cornforth White, it's brilliant for woodwork and ceilings in combination with darker walls.’
The beauty of Ammonite is that it works in both old and new properties, which is one the reasons it's so popular. Farrow & Ball do recommend their ‘white and light tones’ primer and undercoat to get the best result.
More blue than black, Railings is a softer alternative to black which is particularly suited to the ironwork it takes its name from. The bluer undertones of this dark hue transform rooms into dramatic and enveloping interior spaces. We love this color in studies and dining rooms, where it is wonderful for adding character and atmosphere.
Joa shares why Railings (opens in new tab)is such a good choice. ‘Despite its deep tone, Railings is extremely versatile and can be used throughout the house on both walls and woodwork. Its charm comes from being more blue than black and is the perfect softer alternative to pure black. Often used on staircases and kitchen islands as a darker accent to any Farrow & Ball colour, it is also enduringly popular for smart but understated front doors in either Exterior Eggshell or Full Gloss.’
Yes it is dramatic, but you can make this color work in a room by teaming it with mid-toned wood, grey accessories and some beautiful textures.
Down Pipe, a dark lead grey, has definite blue undertones to it which deepen the complexity of the finish. ‘Originally inspired by the color used to paint downpipes and guttering, it has been embraced for use inside the home with fanatical zeal,’ say Farrow & Ball color specialists. We think it's a wonderful contrast to Farrow & Ball's light neutrals.
‘Enduringly popular, Down Pipe (opens in new tab) can be used in many ways in the home,’ says Joa. ‘It has been adopted as the ‘go to’ color for stronger accent walls and intimate sitting rooms as well as on woodwork to create a slightly gritty, industrial feel, it has an unusual softness which means it is seldom overpowering.’
If you’re worried about this color feeling too dark, then remember you can add in white woodwork - which would look striking - and a white ceiling, the contrast alone would be a fabulous statement.
5. Sulking room pink
Named after the French word ‘bouder’ – to sulk, Sulking Room Pink (opens in new tab) is also evocative of the shade commonly used in boudoirs. It’s a dusky, muted rose that has warm tones as Joa mentions below:
‘Sulking Room Pink should not be seen as overtly pink, its powdery feel makes it incredibly soft and easy to use with complementary darker tones. This color has its roots firmly in the past but is the perfect tone for furniture and walls alike in the contemporary home.’
Great White (opens in new tab) is the Farrow & Ball recommended ‘white’ to go with Sulking Room Pink, it’s a white with a hint of lilac so it perfectly complements a fellow warming shade.
6. Hague Blue
This strong blue takes its name from the fantastically colored woodwork much used by the Dutch, and still works wonderfully to ground skirtings or as an accent color. This blue has a green undertone which gives it warmth and makes it a great choice for rooms that are north- or east-facing and which receive cooler natural daylight.
‘Hague Blue (opens in new tab) oozes period grandeur and creates a really dramatic, glamorous feel. It’s very popular as an alternative to charcoal grey in living rooms or rooms that you end up in at the end of the day when you are no longer concerned with daylight,’ advises Joa. ‘It’s best not combined with white on woodwork or ceilings – it will feel far more sophisticated with the same colour on the woodwork and a dark neutral like Shaded White (opens in new tab) on the ceiling.’
Darker shades can feel a little daunting to use, but if you follow Joa’s advice above, it will work beautifully. Hague Blue will also look great with mid-toned greys and mahogany furniture.
7. Strong White
This cool white is both strong by name and strong by nature. The subtle urban feel of its light grey undertones add a contemporary twist to period homes.
‘This grey based Strong White (opens in new tab) adds a contemporary twist to period homes, while staying in keeping with modern properties,’ explains Joa. ‘Particularly popular in kitchens where it can be used on both walls and woodwork for a fresh, but not stark look, it can be combined with warmer greys like Skimming Stone or Cornforth White for an effortlessly cohesive scheme.’
Strong White is a good option if you want to brighten up a room, or give the illusion of space. It would work particularly well in a country cottage with small windows and will lift the room visually.
8. Duck green
Duck Green (opens in new tab) is part of Farrow & Ball’s new Color by Nature palette that’s been created in collaboration with the Natural History Museum, as Joa explains:
‘Duck Green is a wonderful reminder of the exquisite tones of the natural world. A smart deep green, it is strong but fairly subdued and is perfect for creating chic intimate spaces when used on walls and a ‘down to earth’ look when used on kitchen units.’
It offers a contemporary alternative to charcoal shades for modern homes whilst also highlighting period features in an old property. Fabulous with white woodwork, it works really well with a hint of color as can be seen through the door way here.
9. Skimming Stone
This stony off white takes its name from a 19th century skim, or plaster color, but often reminds us of childhood afternoons skimming stones. With its warm light grey undertones, Skimming Stone is extremely versatile and particularly suited to soothing bedroom schemes.
‘Understated with a refined sophistication, the magic of Skimming Stone (opens in new tab) lies in the fact that it has a slight underlying lilac tone which brings a warmth to any grey decorating scheme. It works best combined with Strong White on woodwork or used in combination with the darker Dove Tale (opens in new tab) or Charleston Gray (opens in new tab),’ says Joa.
It is easy to see why it’s such a popular choice, Skimming Stone is very versatile and will work in both modern and trad homes – and doesn’t it look fabulous with pops of bright color?
10. Stiffkey Blue
This inky blue is named after the Norfolk beach where the mud, along with the cockles, share a particular deep navy hue. Although traditional in feel, Stiffkey Blue is often used as an alternative to Down Pipe to create a richly dramatic space with a more contemporary finish.
'Stiffkey Blue (opens in new tab) manages to feel both dramatic and optimistic and has a somewhat more uncomplicated feel to it than other strong blues,’ says Joa. ‘Still charismatic in tone due to its unrivalled depth of colour, it has a younger less sophisticated feel which creates rooms that feel somewhat more upbeat than other blues. Its fresher tone lends itself to rooms full of activity as well as spaces to relax in after a long day.’
This is an interesting color as it does change depending on the light, for example, when used in a well lit space it will appear much bluer, and in a darker room, more of an indigo shade, so bear this in mind when you are choosing it!
Why are Farrow & Ball's paints so popular?
Homes & Gardens is a big fan of Farrow & Ball paint – the color palette is simply beautiful and the quality of the paint is wonderful. We spoke to Charlotte Cosby, the company's Head of Creative, who explains why she thinks Farrow & Ball enjoys such great success.
'Our paints have high levels of pigment, rich resin binders and high quality ingredients, giving them a unique depth of color. We carefully source our ingredients from suppliers to ensure you’ll find only the highest quality in each tin. We have a thoughtfully created palette of 132 colors in a range of interior and exterior, modern and traditional finishes. Our paint is meticulously tested, giving you the extraordinary color and long-lasting finish you expect every time.'
Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.
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