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Farrow & Ball Colour Consultation {Lolly}

Author: Lolly Gautier-Ollerenshaw

Late last year I was lucky enough to attend a very interesting talk hosted at The People Shop by Farrow & Ball. As you’d expect from a company that sells paint, the discussion focused on interiors and which rooms were best to paint in which hues. The talk was free and there were complimentary glasses of prosecco on offer so I was there like a shot when I found out it was taking place.

The presentation itself was fascinating, particularly the section about how natural light affects colour. For example they suggest that with rooms that receive little natural light the key is not to fight nature, instead embrace the darkness and create a dramatic interior. Equally the light in east facing rooms can appear to be a little blue so it is best to work with this and choose greens or blues or neutrals with these undertones. I know; it’s amazing isn’t it!

However I digress; part of the presentation involved filling out a card with the chance to win one of Farrow & Ball’s Colour Consultation sessions worth £200. There seemed little harm in throwing my hat into the ring so to speak and I pretty much forgot all about completing the form until I received a phone call a month later saying I’d won! I was absolutely thrilled especially since I had the daunting task of choosing colours for over ten rooms at our house and wasn’t quite sure where to start.

In early January, a lovely girl called Emily called me to discuss the session in advance. Apparently the pre-appointment phone call helps you to make the most of your time with the Colour Consultant once in your home. She advised me that we had an hour, on the day, to cover approximately four rooms depending on the complexity and scale of the spaces I wanted to look at. Initially my focus was the living room, study, kitchen and master bedroom but on closer inspection she advised that perhaps addressing the colours in the hall, stairs and landing would be a better use of time than the Master Bedroom. Since all the other rooms were on the same level, it would be more practical to look at these as a suite of rooms and thus a coherent set of colours that worked together.

A date was booked for a couple of weeks later and I was given homework before meeting up with Emily in person. Emily wanted me to create some Pinterest boards for each of the rooms in question and also create a list of those products/homewares I would be using in each area to help her build up a picture of the textures/colours that she would need to bear in mind when devising colour schemes for each space. She also suggested that I make a list of my favourite colours and any other ideas I envisioned coming to play in these parts of my home.

On the day itself, Emily elegantly manoeuvred her way around my bomb site of a house and set up camp in our living room to be. With her she brought large individual swatches of the colour charts you can usually pick up in a DIY store organised into complementary groups as well as smaller charts and of course my Pinterest boards to hand. We started in the living room which receives light from a bay window at the front and large bifold doors at the back (south-west facing at the front and north-east at the back). After going through both my ideas and the type of light we were dealing with, holding up numerous combinations of swatches and comparing and contrasting, we finally landed on the ever popular ‘Cornforth White’ for the walls with ‘All White’ for all the woodwork. We then moved onto the study where a single bay window bestows south-west facing light onto the room before turning our attentions to the hall, stairs and landing and lastly the kitchen which is north-east facing.

I don’t want to reveal too much here as I’ll be sharing each of the rooms in the house as they evolve but I will say that Emily offered a valuable objective viewpoint on several things I hadn’t considered previously. For example making the most of the symmetry of the living room and study doors opposite each other, not being afraid to go dark and dramatic for fear of losing light certain rooms of the house and even going as far as suggesting what colour to paint the kitchen cabinets. She showed me a whole host of inspiration too…like these images in the gallery below.

Emily worked with me to assess the space, light and architecture of each of the rooms, in such a way that it felt that you were having a chat with one of your besties. I’d been nervous about continuing a dark colour in the study onto the woodwork but Emily gave me the confidence to really go for it sharing her experiences of other homes she’d helped design in the past. What’s more, a week later, a rather luxurious looking envelope arrived through the post. Inside was a written specification detailing her recommended colour schemes for each area along with the desired finishes complete with large paint swatches too.

What. A. Prize. For simply filling in a short form, I felt like I’d been gifted a rather useful tool…and something that Ste couldn’t complain about either 😉

If I hadn’t already decided the colours for the majority of the upstairs rooms; I’d seriously consider inviting Emily back to help me plan those interior schemes too. From a personal perspective I think I have a pretty clear vision for the interior of my home but what Emily offered me was the confidence to really go for it as well as a alternative option I hadn’t considered previously. And for that I think it’s worth every penny.

I hope I haven’t bored you too much with this rather long post today but I know that there were quite a few of you interested in my experience when I mentioned it earlier this year so I simply had to share. Have any of you invested in this service yourselves or at least are thinking about it. Perhaps you opted for an interior design service from another company? What were they like and how did you rate it?


Images via Farrow & Ball

Author: Lolly
Lolly is a self-professed frustrated florist and styling maven with an endless passion for all things pretty.
Follow Lolly on instagram @graceandgable

13 thoughts on “Farrow & Ball Colour Consultation {Lolly}

  1. Morning! We decided to get the Farrow and Ball colour consultant in after we moved into our house and had the rather daunting blank canvas of a 5 bed new build. Ended up forking out for two hours (eek) to cover the whole house, and I have to say it was invaluable! Some of my friends thought I was a bit mad but having now painted all of the colours we picked at the consultation, I’m thrilled! She picked up on our style and even took it a bit further with some slightly more adventurous ideas (all of our woodwork is railings!). What I loved most though is that even though I may have eventually managed to pick it all myself, it took out all the weeks (months!) of faff and tester pots. If you’re unsure, I say go for it! Xx

    1. I agree Julianne…it’s not so much that you wouldn’t have picked it all yourself but that the consultant gives you the confidence to go for it in the there and now. I think one of the areas I found most useful was choosing colours in the hallway. Our hall in a sense flows into our kitchen but then the hallway continues up the stairs and landing. I didn’t want the same colour for the kitchen, all the way up the stairs and on the landing so I found it useful to ask Emily what she would do to divide up the space without it looking ridiculous. Love the idea of the woodwork in railings!!

  2. This consultation sounds amazing! I held off starting any decoration in my house until I had lived there six months to get a feel for what colours suited it and settled on white, grey and pale teal. I would be far too impatient to wait this long again in our next house and would definitely consider this consultation. I think it actually sounds pretty good value for money – and peace of mind with your choices! I can’t wait to see your finished rooms as they come around.

    1. I also think that you get a £50 voucher to spend as well Claire although that wasn’t included in my prize. I’m definitely far too impatient. I’ve ordered paint for rooms that haven’t even been completely plastered yet! The rooms will be revealed shortly xx

  3. I have Cornforth White in my living room with All White on the woodwork and it is the most beautiful colour!!! It works so so beautifully paired with white. Definitely a good choice 🙂 X

    1. Great minds think alike eh Sarah! Good to hear that you love the colour combination. The study is going to be a little bit wilder…think pink and green!

  4. On the face of it this seems really extravagant, but having painted our whole house when we moved in and there now being several rooms I’m not happy with, I’m starting to think it’s actually not a bad idea at all.

    1. That’s exactly what I thought Victoria…gosh what a luxury. But having been through it and experienced it first hand I know that this will actually save us a tonne of money in the long run. In our previous house we painted a room no less than three times because I wasn’t happy with the colour despite daubing large swatches on the wall before we began. Now that I know more about how light affects colour I feel more equipped to use paint more confidently xx

  5. We have a new build all white like a blank canvas… I really want to paint my architraves and skirting boards grey but I’m so worried I will hate it after a couple of years (like feature walls) but it’s in one of your pics above… I like it now but will I like it in a few years????

    1. That’s exactly the position we were in Emma (except our walls were magnolia, ugh) – we went for it and I love it, instantly added some character. I had planned on using down pipe, but the colour consultant talked me into railings and she was absolutely right it looks fab. Good luck with the decorating! X

    2. I say do it Emma otherwise you’ll always be wondering what it would have looked like. I’m going dark green in the study. The room isn’t huge in itself and I am worried about it looking gloomy as opposed to cosy but I just know that I have to go for it. Otherwise I’ll always be left wondering…

  6. Sorry but I have to leave this rather negative review as opposed to all the positive ones! I had a colour consultant from F and B come to my newly renovated flat. As it was to be a holiday let I thought I’d go the whole hog so to speak. Consultant plus F and B paint plus decorator. I have had a colour consultant before in Australia and was delighted with the outcome so not new to this sort of thing. I had a professional painter and off I went on holiday for a week putting full trust into the colours picked. It is a small flat and I wanted it uniform and light although wanted to give the consultant my full trust in her. The result well it just looks like magnolia and I just wish I had picked the colours myself. The colour chosen was White Tie – looks nothing that I had hoped for. It was used on both the east and west facing rooms. Don’t get me wrong I don’t hate it and can live with it but I just wish I had chosen the colours myself I think I would have made a better choice and it would have been my mistake! and a lot less expensive. The one good positive thing out of it all – trying to see where to review and found your site love it!

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