Paint Wars: Farrow & Ball Versus Valspar 

My living room is not large. Cosy, in estate agent lingo. Bijou, should one be feeling generous. Plus it’s north-facing. So what did I do? Paint all the walls a very dark shade of grey. 

It’s a totally legit interior design move, apparently. Farrow & Ball, purveyors of the spenny paint, say forget the old rules and paint cold, north-facing rooms in deep colours. Embrace the darkness. 

The Before Shot

Armed with this advice, I pitched Project Downpipe to The Husband. He agreed in theory. Liked the proposed colour, Downpipe by the aforementioned Farrow & Ball. Did not like the predicted expenditure. 

So we entered an extensive research phase, that led us to B&Q and tester pots. Two pots later – one Farrow & Ball Estate Emulsion, one Valspar Matt Finish (using the Colour Matching Service) – and we started to paint.

Farrow & Ball versus Valspar Swatches

First coat – Farrow & Ball with roller (above left), Farrow & Ball with brush (above) and Valspar with roller (below)

The first thing you notice is the texture. These paints are very different. The F&B is much thinner, it has a greasy feel as you apply it and looks streaky whether you use a roller or a brush. The Valspar is thicker, more even and honestly, feels better quality. 

But dry, it’s a different story. After the first coat I preferred the F&B. The finish looked a little smoother, the tone a little richer. And the colours were not matched. The Valspar was a touch darker, with a definite blue undertone whereas the F&B leaned green. 

Valspar Colour Match Paint

First Coat – Valspar

The second coat was a total game changer. With two coats on and dry, the colours became virtually identical: dark grey with blue undertones. Both deep, both rich. The quality of finish too, the same chalky matt. But one tester pot was empty and the other was barely touched. No prizes for guessing which was which my painting pals. 

So we went with the Valspar. Chose the Valspar Premium Blend v700 Walls & Ceilings in Matt, colour matched to Farrow & Ball in Downpipe. £45 for 5 litres which did the whole room, two coats. 

Valspar Colour Match Service Review

The After Shot

Welcome to the dark side. 

Til next time,

Hayley 

x

4 Comments

  1. Karen Gentles
    November 25, 2017 / 7:59 pm

    Just stumbled across your blog looking for a ‘downpipe’ dupe! Looks like you did the hard work for me! Out of interest what of you take with you for a colour match e.g. the f&b sample pot? thanks in advance, Karen x

    • November 25, 2017 / 8:02 pm

      Hi! I just took the paint chart, they match it from that tiny square, amazing. I’m still really pleased with the results. Happy decorating! H x

  2. Anonymous
    January 12, 2018 / 1:56 pm

    Hello Hayley, I have just read your blog with interest, I have a similar north facing room and went for the Valspar “downpipes”. I’m not happy with it but if you say the second coat makes a difference then I will continue. thanks for the tip. regards Greta

    • January 12, 2018 / 2:00 pm

      Hi Greta! Yes, I thought it looked much better with two coats, carry on, I’m sure it will look fantastic. Let me know! H x

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