How to use paint to your advantage - tips and tricks form the pros and Farrow & Ball on www.CourtneyPrice.com
FARROW & BALL: RECIPES FOR DECORATING, created by Joa Studholme, Farrow & Ball’s color curator who has spent more than two decades developing colors with fabulous names for the company. I have been searching for a book like this for longer than I care to say, so I am thrilled and honored to review this one. Studholme’s book is so comprehensive and thorough that it should be mandatory reading for interior design students- loaded with the very information I craved when I was in design school. Studholme explains the complexities of light and color in a way that is both understandable and useful, making this a valuable resource for every design library.

When considering color, think about whether you want to make the room look longer, squarer, higher, lower? This can all be achieved with paint color. Studholme shows us how.

Tried and Tested Tips

  • Never leave the interior of a cupboard undecorated. Strong color or bold wallpaper will always make you smile when you open the door. Wallpapers with metallic patterns look particularly sensational in drinks cupboards.
  • Use paint in a Full Gloss finish for a ceiling. This will bounce light around the room during the day and be glamorous night, especially when lit by candles.
  • There are more awesome tips that you’ll wish you had thought of, but I can’t spoil the book for you, can I?

Directional Light

My favorite advice of all is regarding the use of paint with directional light. These pointers are GOLD:

Work out which direction each room faces: east, west, south or north, as this will affect the way a color appears in the space. South-facing rooms will always make colors appear lighter and brighter while north-facing rooms tend to make colors look a little more green. Colors that are in rooms that face either east or west will change dramatically during the day.

Another way to consider color choice for these same rooms is… do you use the room during the day or only at night? Evening rooms benefit from richer tones, while daytime spaces often suit being light and bright.


Do you want the hall to be as light and spacious as possible or are you yearning for something more dramatic that will make the rooms off it look lighter?

Real estate tips for selling your home from Farrow & Ball on www.CourtneyPrice.com


If you have the luxury of decorating a whole house, it is best to start with the hall. The color used here will obviously create the first impression and set the tone for what is to follow. The way we react to colors that we come into contact with constantly is often instinctive and emotive, so the choice of color for the hall, which we pass through all the time, should be instinctive too. First and foremost, it must be welcoming and reflect your personality.

Let the amount of natural light help inform your color choices, and always bear in mind the color of your front door— having a visual link to the interior is essential. Halls in rural areas tend to have a lot of natural light, while those in towns and cities are often starved of it. Chose your colors accordingly.

Start by deciding what you want to achieve. Would you like your hall to appear as big and as light as possible, or would you prefer to make it feel intimate and dramatic?


No longer is the kitchen just a place for preparing food for our families. It is somewhere to nurture them too. For many of us, it is the heart of the home and where we spend most of our time. The way that we decorate the room has changed accordingly. Most of us crave light, and the kitchen often benefits from being the brightest space in the home.


Use the same color on both the walls and the woodwork to give the space more flexibility and make it feel bigger;

make your kitchen the lightest room in the house- it is probably where you will end up spending most of your time.

Add color to normally hidden or unexpected places such as the back of dressers or inside larder cupboards.

tips for painting with Farrow and Ball paint on www.CourtneyPrice.com


You sitting or living room is where you unwind and enjoy the comforts of home, making it deserving of your full decorating attention. Many sitting rooms are used primarily at night, either when entertaining guests or simply relaxing in front of a screen. In such cases, darker tones may be more suitable. But if your sitting room is used in the day and at night, you will need chameleon-like colors that will work with both natural and artificial light.

Rich colors have an amazing ability to fuse elegance with comfort, creating rooms that feel exciting and inviting, as well as being a million miles away from the everyday work environment. There is something pleasingly indulgent about leaving a bright, functional office or kitchen at the end of the day in an enveloping room of saturated color.

In America, we tend to go by assumed rules of paint that seem to invariably include white molding and ceilings. Farrow & Ball gives more direct consideration to such important details. In some cases, using the wall color in a full gloss for moldings offers a comfortable, yet dynamic look, unifying the room and minimizing the sense of a barrier between interior and exterior that a strong white molding might present.

Also using color on a ceiling can transform an entire room, making the size of the room less apparent


Bedrooms are deeply personal spaces and should be decorated accordingly.

Are you a morning person who likes to jump out of bed and embrace the day? Perhaps a clean light color like Pavillion Blue.

An evening person might embrace a dark, womb-like shade like London Clay.

If you are the type to use your bedroom primarily for sleeping, serene colors like Light Blue and Setting Plaster will induce a good night’s rest.


Dark colors are far from off-limits when working with small spaces. In fact, saturated hues can provide warmth and depth, making small spaces look luxurious and classy. The best way to achieve that depth is to use just one color. You would not want to use a contrasting trim, as that would break up the space into smaller visual segments, reducing the visual whole, and making the walls look super dark in comparison to the trim. Using a single color on every surface of a small room creates a magical effect.


A good rule of thumb is to always consider the light, both directional (which way the room faces) and what your artificial light will be.

It may sound obvious to say this but a light-filled room should stay that way- light.

On the flip side, when dealing with a dark room, the temptation might be to chose a bright white, which will only result in a flat, dull result. Instead, the use of a warm, darker color will create a more opulent, interesting look.

When you create richly colored rooms, it makes the lighter spaces feel even brighter in contrast.

Strong color feels luxurious and nurturing and can’t fail to introduce a little passion to your home.

CEILING HEIGHT can be increased or lowered visually with the use of color

If you want to increase the ceiling height, don’t default to a bright white ceiling. This will only highlight where the walls end and the ceiling begins. Conversely, having the same color on the ceiling and the walls makes it harder to tell where one ends and the other begins.

Another method is to paint the molding the same color as the walls, rather than the ceiling, to give the illusion of additional height. Same goes for the floor trim.

On the other hand, if you wanted to lower the ceiling height (which I can’t imagine why anyone would ever want to do), you might want to use a darker color for the ceiling than the walls to create visual weight, or if you are feeling adventurous, try a pattern or wallpaper to bring it closer to the viewer.

Paint Finishes

confusing, but important, so here is a Farrow & Ball cheat sheet for you:Farrow and Ball paint finishes on www.CourtneyPrice.com

At the heart of the book are thirteen inspirational interiors which include a city apartment, a country cottage, a seaside escape, a schoolhouse repurposed for residential use. These interiors reveal valuable pointers for selecting the right range and combination of colors. Studholme and the Farrow & Ball team share their insights, countless pro-tips, creativity, and color sensibility to give readers a wealth of inspiration for beautifying any home. “Just as there are many ways to cook an egg, from simple to opulent, there are countless ways to decorate a room,” says Studholme.
Farrow and Ball Book, reviewed on http://www.CourtneyPrice.com
FARROW & BALL: RECIPES FOR DECORATING is the color bible that I have always wished for. Designers and design enthusiasts will appreciate the value of this incredible book. On a scale of 1-10, I would rate this book a 95, it’s a must-have.  Order your copy here.
Paint pioneers John Farrow and Richard Ball founded their company in 1946 in Dorset, England, where the company is still based. Author Joa Studholme has been with Farrow & Ball for over twenty years developing the new colors, consulting on design projects, and working daily with paint and wallpaper on both residential and commercial projects.
Photo credits: photographer, James Merrell, is a London-based photographer whose work has been featured in W, Elle Décor, Vogue Living, Town & Country, Domino, Food & Wine, Martha Stewart Living, Departures, Travel + Leisure, and The Wall Street Journal.
©Farrow & Ball: Recipes for Decorating by Joa Studholme, Rizzoli New York, 2019.

This post is brought to you in collaboration with Rizzoli. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thanks for supporting these sponsors that allow me to create new and special content like this for CourtneyPrice.com

FOR FARROW & BALL PRESS INQUIRIES, PLEASE CONTACT CAMRON PR:  Irene Kopitov /irene.kopitov@camronpr.com or Kate Sangervasi / kate.sangervasi@camronpr.com 


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