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What are the weird names for Farrow and Ball?

What are the weird names for Farrow and Ball?

Farrow & Ball is known for its unique and sometimes quirky paint color names that are inspired by historical figures, places, and even weather conditions. The British paint company was founded in 1946 and has amassed a collection of over 100 colors with fascinating stories behind the names. Farrow & Ball doesn’t just select random weird words for its paints; each name relates to the color’s history or intended mood. From melancholic hues like Pavilion Gray to vivid tones like Arsenic, Farrow & Ball’s peculiar paint names are an integral part of their brand identity.

History of Farrow & Ball’s Color Names

When Farrow & Ball first launched in the 1940s, their collection consisted of colors with simple names like Red, Blue, Green, and Brown. It wasn’t until the 1950s and 60s that Farrow & Ball began experimenting with more evocative, descriptive color names. They drew inspiration from architecture, nature, and even the weather to christen their hues. For example, Cornforth White was named after Nancy Cornforth, a leading expert on interior design at the time. Pavilion Gray was dubbed after the charming arched pavilions found in English gardens.

In 1992, Farrow & Ball was acquired by Tom Helme, an antiques dealer, who revitalized the brand. Helme embraced the company’s tradition of quirky color names and worked with Farrow & Ball’s creative team to develop new shades with wonderfully eccentric monikers. Under Helme’s leadership, Farrow & Ball released over 70 new colors with names like Dead Salmon, Arsenic, and Elephant’s Breath. The peculiar names were a hit, contributing to the brand’s newfound popularity in the 1990s.

Today, coming up with a color name at Farrow & Ball is a creative, collaborative process. The naming often draws inspiration from 18th century British gentry and their extravagant lives. According to Farrow & Ball, the color names evoke “tales of grand English country houses and the fading grandeur of aristocracy.” The names are meant to spark curiosity and excitement when painting one’s home.

Examples of Farrow & Ball’s Most Unusual Color Names

Here are some of the most peculiar, eccentric color names from Farrow & Ball’s extensive portfolio:

Dead Salmon: A peachy beige tone named after the faded pink color of salmon flesh.

Arsenic: A vivid yellow-green hue named after the toxic chemical element.

Mizzle: A gray with brown undertones named after the thick misty rain of London.

Railings: A clean, iron-like gray inspired by metal railings.

Plummett: A deep plummy purple tone named for a plumb line used in construction.

Sulking Room Pink: A light pink shade dubbed after a room people would retreat to when in a bad mood.

Cinder Rose: A muted dusty pink inspired by cinder pathways in cottage gardens.

Mole’s Breath: A brown with purple undertones that mimics the velvety fur of a mole.

Pavilion Gray: A green-tinged gray named after garden pavilions found on English country estates.

Elephant’s Breath: A soft gray with a purple undertone said to mimic the look of an elephant’s breath on a cold day.

Most Popular Farrow & Ball Colors

While Farrow & Ball offers many eccentrically-named shades, some of their most popular bestselling colors have simpler, more conventional names. Here are 5 of Farrow & Ball’s top selling paint colors:

Color Name Type
Ammonite Neutral gray-beige
Elephant’s Breath Neutral warm gray
Pavilion Gray Neutral green-gray
Skylight Neutral warm gray
Oxford Blue Classic blue

Despite some of their peculiar names, Farrow & Ball’s most popular shades tend to be versatile, livable neutrals that suit a wide range of styles and spaces. Their top-selling grays, including Elephant’s Breath, Skylight, and Pavilion Gray, offer just a hint of color for a soothing, welcoming backdrop. Ammonite is a chameleon beige that pairs well with various hues and woods. Oxford Blue is their iconic classic navy perfect for creating a coastal vibe. While the weird and wonderful color names are part of Farrow & Ball’s allure, when it comes to popularity, their core neutrals reign supreme.

5 Benefits of Choosing Farrow & Ball Paint

Beyond their unique color names, Farrow & Ball paints offer several advantages that contribute to their premium reputation. Here are 5 key benefits of choosing Farrow & Ball for your next paint project:

1. Incredible Color Range – With 130+ colors that span neutrals, pastels, midtones, and deep accents, Farrow & Ball offers unparalleled choice. Their colors are specially curated and formulated in-house.

2. Superior Quality – Made in England from premium ingredients like eco-friendly clay, their paints offer exceptional coverage and a durable, washable finish.

3. Excellent Light Reflection – Special tints and organic pigments allow Farrow & Ball paints to reflect light beautifully, enhancing any space.

4. Low VOC – Their paints have low Volatile Organic Compounds making them a great choice for homes with children or pets.

5. One-Coat Coverage – Thanks to high pigment levels, most Farrow & Ball colors provide excellent one-coat coverage even over dark shades.

While pricier than mainstream paint brands, Farrow & Ball paints are beloved by design aficionados for their top-tier quality and one-of-a-kind colors with aristocratic names. Investing in Farrow & Ball allows you to make a stylish statement and inject personality into your home.

How to Choose the Right Farrow & Ball Color

With so many imaginatively-named options, choosing the perfect Farrow & Ball color can be fun yet tricky. Here are 5 tips for selecting the right shade:

1. Browse their color collections online or in-store to make a shortlist of potential colors that appeal to you.

2. Order color samples to view swatches in your actual space before committing to a gallon. The lighting might change how it looks.

3. Consider the mood you want to create – are cooler, softer hues right or do you prefer vivid, saturated tones?

4. Choose a color that pairs well with your existing architecture, furniture, and decor.

5. View Farrow & Ball colors in real home settings online for helpful visual context and ideas.

Often one’s initial Farrow & Ball frontrunner gets replaced by a better-suited option once you assess the paint swatches at home. Making test patches on the walls is wise since lighting conditions vary. Don’t rush the selection; finding your perfect eccentric Farrow & Ball hue is part of the fun!

Top Tips for Working with Farrow & Ball Paint

Once you’ve selected your Farrow & Ball color, it’s important to understand how to work with their specialized paint formulas. Here are 6 key application tips:

1. Properly prepare surfaces – Remove any flaking paint, sand glossy areas, fill holes/cracks to ensure the paint adheres well.

2. Use the recommended brushes/rollers – Farrow & Ball brushes are specially engineered to glide on paint smoothly. Rollers should have a medium nap.

3. Do not dilute or tint – Their paints are pre-formulated to offer optimal coverage as is; thinning or tinting is not advised.

4. Cut in edges first – Start by cutting in edges neatly with a brush before rolling paint onto main surfaces.

5. Apply generously – Load brushes and rollers well to allow maximum coverage in fewer coats.

6. Clean promptly – Wash brushes and rollers thoroughly after use in warm soapy water to maintain their quality.

Following these application tips will help you achieve stunning results that do justice to your expressively-named Farrow & Ball hue. Patience and care pays off.


Farrow & Ball’s imaginatively named paint colors are a huge part of their brand’s appeal and success. Their eccentric, aristocratic color names like Dead Salmon, Sulking Room Pink, and Elephant’s Breath add an element of mystique and whimsy to the high-end British paint purveyor. Each distinctive color name ties back to Farrow & Ball’s origins and their tradition of crafting richly-hued paints inspired by English country estates. While the peculiar names attract attention initially, it is the outstanding quality, extensive range, and effortlessly elegant shades that make Farrow & Ball a go-to for interior designers and stylish homeowners. With proper prep and application, their peculiarly-monikered paints produce jaw-dropping transformative effects. So embrace your favorite fancy Farrow & Ball hue, grab a premium brush, and start painting your space with posh panache.