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"What's your favorite brand of paint?"

I get asked this regularly. And yes, your paint makes a massive difference in how a space feels, lives, and reflects light. It changes the way your art looks (fine art as well as your most precious kid art). It is just as important as your lighting, which should also be chosen wisely and with great care. Both affect your mental health, positively or negatively. I would be remiss if I didn't also talk about color temperature and CRI (Color Rendering Index).....but I will save this topic for below my favorite paint colors for those already bored.....BUT IT'S SO IMPORTANT!!

My absolute favorite brand of paint is Farrow and Ball. Yes, as you may have heard it is on the pricier side. But, in my opinion, it’s worth the extra money. They have been in business since the 1940’s and their 132 color pallet is classic, timeless, and downright gorgeous. The paints are low-odor, low-VOC, and safe to use in every room.

What is it that makes Farrow & Ball so amazing?

*They use real pigment instead of synthetic. (30% more pigmentation than other brands)

While some inexpensive paints use plastic filler, Farrow and Ball uses china clay, chalk and titanium dioxide. This creates solid depth and subtle undertones not found in other paint products which makes it feel like the paint is giving off energy, bringing the walls to life. You can almost feel the color in the room. It’s the only paint I use where my clients have a visceral reaction when they walk into their space. Each color blend has deep depth and personality.

Recently, while vacillating between two colors, a client and I made up names and characters for the colors we were considering. For example, Hague Blue, or just Hague as we called her, was our "mysterious, whisky drinking woman." She’s complex and tells a great story (as a good paint should). Indeed, there's an intriguing story behind every color.

Since I design with a lot of neutrals, I am constantly going for a few of my favorites…..

*Cornforth White is a beautifully rich versatile neutral. Named after the revered architectural historian John Cornforth, it’s a calming mid tone that sits right between warm and cool.

*Strong White is a very versatile neutral with its cool gray undertones. Its strong character is a perfect backdrop for bold artwork in an urban home and can also make a classic space look fresh.

*All White is the winner if you’re looking for a true white without any strong undertones. It doesn’t contain any other pigment, making it a totally pure white. It pairs beautifully with its counterpart on the other end of the spectrum….

*Pitch Black, which is as pure black as you can get and happens to be one of my favorite Farrow and Ball blacks. It is a strong, velvety black with great depth that is perfect for trim work or a bold statement on walls.

*Hague Blue, with a slight green undertone is as sexy as is gets while still being a paint. This color can be an accent or a whole room in full dramatic fashion. I love her.

*Green Smoke, I mean....classic, romantic, always there for you with blue undertones that make you want to stay a while. Perfect for historical sites and new construction to make it feel warm and beguiling.

Color Temperature- Thats the Kelvin number, ranging from 1,000 to 10,000. 1,000 being a dark castle from 1545 with torches on the walls. 10,000 performing surgery in your home. 2700 Kelvin is my personal favorite for residential purposes ( and ALWAYS on a dimmer). 3000 kelvin I will place in bathrooms and kitchens (again, ALWAYS on a dimmer). If I see a 5000 kelvin lamp inside a home, it will be removed immediately. Maybe for security lighting to make sure no one comes near a warehouse......but please, never, ever use them in your home. It makes everything blue and harsh and angry.

CRI is measured on a scale of 1-100. The higher the CRI of a lamp, or bulb, the clearer in definition you will be able to see in a space. So make sure the lamps you are purchasing are a good 90 on the CRI scale.

And if you really want to experience the best that you could ever image lighting could me. ;-) We have recently completed a home with Ketra lighting, by Lutron and it's truly remarkable. See for yourself:

Have you used any of these colors in your home? I would love to see what you have done with them!


Amy Wax
Amy Wax
Jul 16, 2022

Very nice post Tristan, I love your description of the colors!


Nice colors Tristan! and the color rating index (CRI) is so important in how colors change with lighting and the temperature of the lamp.

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