Farrow and Ball Colours for 2015

Tanner’s Brown, with Oval Room Blue and Dead Salmon

Now that Spring is officially sprung, I thought we could return to these colours which might have seemed a little outre back in January. Since I first posted them, I have advised one client to use setting plaster in her office, teamed with Railings on the shelves and she was really happy with how it looked.

I have also suggested to another that she paint the skirting boards to match her new grey walls and that looks great too. Look at the skirting boards in these images. There’s not a white one to be seen. Instead they are darker versions of the wall, which is a brilliant idea and one I can’t wait to try. These are the colours from the 2015 colour predictions by Farrow & Ball.

Pink Ground walls with Setting Plaster skirting boards

The light blue and cream combination below is beautiful and restful but look closely at that turquoise writing on the map, even that oh-so-artless placing of the matching string on the oar. Yes, there are your clues. Splash a little of that into your mix. And don’t forget those skirting boards – that’s an easy and not too overwhelming place to begin with.

Pale pink is wonderful as a modern neutral colour. After all, not every room can be grey (or navy,, yes it’s coming) and white does get a little boring – unless perhaps you paint the window frames black to mix it up a little.

It’s also about pushing your personal boundaries. I have no green in my house at all. Although close examination of my wardrobe reveals one pair of olive green boots, a green silk dress and at least one top. So clearly it is a colour I like.

And yet, I would never have thought of using it in house. Until now. This breakfast room green is a gorgeous restful colour and, given that this is the year of the house plant (oh didn’t you know, I just announced it) what better background for all that foliage than this?

Light Blue wall with Dimpse sideboard and Lamp Room Grey floor

A couple of years ago I wrote a piece for The Financial Times about the interior design style of Seattle. Now if there’s one thing we all know about Seattle (apart from the coffee) is that it rains a lot. One designer I spoke to told me how these muddy pastels so typical of Farrow and Ball, are perfect in the northern hemisphere because of the light. Indeed, the entire F&B palette has grey in it, which is what makes it so perfect for us here in the UK or the Nordic countries.

It is, she said to me, as if the original colours have been washed out by the rain and what is left are these gorgeous muted shades that are so restful and calming.

Under the harsh bright light of the south; LA or Sydney for example, bright, clean colours really pop and look amazing. Here, we need something a little softer. That’s why, when you come back from that Greek island resolving to paint your garden wall in that vibrant shade of blue it doesn’t ever look quite as good on a rainy Tuesday afternoon in Neasden as it did in Santorini after a glass or three of the local retsina.

Breakfast Room Green with a Calke Green skirting board

So let’s embrace some colour this year. But why not start gently and think a little more about how to use it in more interesting ways?

Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. I love the Tanner’s brown wall. We have one room Chocolate brown all around, but I might have to change that to this wonderful rich chalky colour!

  2. I love the soft green wall colour, particularly the way it looks with the plants. It is a shade I use a lot in my wallpaper designs as well.

  3. i know this is a piece on ‘colours’ and i’m trying to focus but I just can’t keep my eyes off those skirting boards!!!!! maybe be i’m odd at getting so exciting but really, these are skirting boards of dreams !!!!

  4. I decided on Pitch Blue yesterday after humming over colour cards for what seems like months. Having seen your top image, its made me think – maybe go with different colours for bookcase and skirting/staircase.

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