Valspar vs Farrow & Ball: Which is Better?

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Comparing paint brands can sometimes be like comparing apples and oranges. You might not have thought it but they are actually really different in so many ways – colour, consistency, coverage, work-ability.

We've had plenty of experience with lots of different paint brands, but in particular Valspar and Farrow and Ball, so if you’re trying to choose between the two, we want to give you a little bit of a heads up about what to expect from either paint brand.

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Just an example of where we’ve used Valspar vs. Farrow & Ball paints in our current house…

Inside our living room: Farrow & Ball

We used Farrow & Ball’s Skimming Stone matt emulsion on the walls of our living room, and Wimborne White Estate Eggshell paint on the alcove shelving and skirting. We didn’t have a trusty angled cutting-in brush at the time so we had a nightmare cutting in where the walls met (can’t blame F&B for that though!). The light we get in this room is incredible and the colour varies magically throughout the times of day.

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Inside our bathroom: Valspar

We used Valspar paint colour matched to Farrow & Ball’s Pavilion Blue. The match itself was near identical to the F&B tester pot we originally bought, and we are glad we opted for Valspar’s Kitchens & Bathrooms paint mix which has fared well with condensation in the room.

In our hallway & landing: Valspar

Here’s a room where we used Valspar paint but wish we used Farrow & Ball. It’s colour matched to Cornforth White. The hallway and landing has been prone to skuffs and scratches on the walls, thanks to all the furniture deliveries and renovation work that’s been happening, so sanding back and retouching the Valspar paint has proven a little tricky. It doesn’t sand back well, although if you do run out of paint you can be assured you’ll reorder the exact colour with Valspar – they record your colour reference on their software in store, whereas Farrow & Ball paints can vary by batch.

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In our kitchen diner: Mix of Farrow & Ball and Valspar

All the tongue and groove, the door, architraves, skirting and window sills in this room were painted with Farrow & Ball Bone Estate Eggshell. It’s such a gentle shade that has given us good durability in the last year or so we’ve had it. No touch ups needed yet, and a very smooth finish.

The walls we colour matched with Valspar, and opted for a complementary Farrow & Ball shade called Slipper Satin. As we had a lot of work happening in this room, we were once bitten twice shy and wanted to go Farrow & Ball to give us the ability to sand back and touch up areas that became marked from workmen. However, we opted again for Valspar’s Kitchen & Bathrooms paint as we knew it would be prone to heat/condensation in here. We since realised Farrow & Ball’s Modern Eggshell would have worked well in a condensation-prone environment, but you live and learn, hey!

In our utility room: Valspar

We painted this room when we were at the end of our tether having finished days of painting elsewhere in the house! It was a tricky one given it was previously painted bare brick, so required a little more arm muscle/coverage to paint all the gaps and mortar. We were very pleased with the coverage Valspar paint gave us in here – it’s hard to tell whether the finish is any good given it’s a rough surfaced wall, but it only took us 2-3 coats which we were surprised with at the time.

Being a room filled with light, the colour bounces off the brick really nicely.

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Can Valspar colour match Farrow & Ball?

As described in the post, we were able to colour match Farrow & Ball at the Valspar desk. Aside from slightly feeling like a fraud, all you have to do is point out the colour on the F&B colour card (or swatch) and they will match and mix it up there and then. You can then get it saved in the Valspar system so that if you run out you can come back and get more. It must be noted that with Valspar you aren’t going to get the same stunning colour as true Farrow & Ball.

Which is best, Farrow & Ball or Valspar?

As per our comparison table, there are a lot of pros and cons to both brands but on balance our recommendation is that if you like Farrow & Ball’s colour range and can afford it, then go for it - it certainly does have an edge over Valspar’s synthetic offering. If your budget doesn’t fit Farrow and Ball and/or prefer the various areas of convenience you get with Valspar, then get yourself down to the colour mixing stand in B&Q.

Which paint company do you prefer? Have you tried Valspar and Farrow & Ball? What did you think? Leave your helpful advice in the comments below so that your experience can help other home renovators achieve a look they love!


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