Monday 21 February 2011

Case Study: Farrow and Ball Blue Gray

farrow and ball blue gray
Farrow and Ball Blue Gray and White Tie in our kitchen with the light on...

Hello cutie pips,

There's so much loveliness I want to show you at the moment. So, so much. I feel rather excited by it all. 

But first things first.

I'm thinking it's time for another Paint Colour Case Study.

farrow and ball blue gray
Farrow and Ball Blue Gray and White Tie with the lights off

So far, I've written features on Farrow and Ball Light Blue and Farrow and Ball Pigeon. Today, it's the turn of Farrow and Ball Blue Gray, which is the main colour that we chose for our kitchen makeover (yup, that's how they spell it: English company, American spelling? Not sure what's going on with that...).

farrow and ball blue gray
Farrow and Ball Blue Gray in gentle daylight

When I put together a case study for you, I source as many pictures as I can of the paint colour, from our house, here in the Cotswolds, and from the internet, in lots of different situations and lots of different lights so that you don't just have to rely on a teensy little square of colour on the tester card before you splash out on yet another sample pot.

farrow and ball blue gray
Farrow and Ball's image of Blue Gray

Basically, I hope these Farrow and Ball Case Study posts can do all the legwork for you so you can see at a glance whether the colour is going to work for you in *your* house with *your* lighting conditions. Here's a list of other Colour Case Studies for you to peruse...

Farrow and Ball Blue Gray
Farrow and Ball Blue Gray outside in sunlight

I've only selected pictures that I think are accurate reflections of what the colour really looks like, discarding those where the image has been tweaked beyond recognition or the flash has distorted the appearance of the colours.

The first thing that I need to tell you about Blue Grey is its intensity accumulates more than any other colour I've worked with. Particularly around internal corners and with a lack of natural light.Look at the shadowy internal corner of the picture below. See how much darker and more intense the colour is than on the chimney breast?

farrow and ball blue gray
Farrow and Ball Blue Gray in warm daylight

 And the second thing is that it's surprisingly green for a colour called Blue Gray. 

farrow and ball blue gray
Farrow and Ball Blue Gray on Woodwork

Really surprisingly green. 

farrow and ball blue gray
Farrow and Ball Blue Gray in the sunshine....aah.

farrow and ball blue gray
...and Farrow and Ball Blue Gray in the rain.

It's the strongest, warmest colour we've chosen for our house so far and that's because it's in the room that gets least natural light. Anything cooler would have made the room look washed out and cold.

farrow and ball blue gray
Farrow and Ball Blue Gray with light streaming in through the large windows

The more natural light you have in your room, the more of this gorgeous colour you can use.

farrow and ball blue gray
Farrow and Ball Blue Gray in filtered daylight

 It's such a lovely colour. Warm and welcoming.

Here's a reminder of our 'before'.....

Our Old Kitchen

And here's the after.....

What's that you say?
You've spotted that we've used another colour alongside the Farrow and Ball Blue Gray? You're so very right, you Eagle Eyes, you.
There's a story behind it, wouldn't you know.....but more on that another time.
Now, anyone for another cuppa?

Farrow and Ball Blue Gray
Farrow and Ball Blue Gray and Emma Bridgewater!

Images: Our kitchen, Our kitchen, unknown, Farrow and Ball, Gumtree, Cheverellwood, unknown, Our kitchen, Our kitchen, Country Living, Homes & Gardens, Country Homes and Interiors, Our kitchen, Our kitchen, Our kitchen.

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Julie Johnson said...

Love this color. Thanks for the color study...I think I'll be using it in our master bath. It's beautiful!

A Perfect Gray said...

you are so right. colors look SO different in a change of lighting. great assessment and I love that color!


Stina said...

Very beautiful.:-) Stina

Unknown said...

Love blue gray!
I was thinking to use a color like this in one part of the walls of the stairs

Debra @ Life in a 320 square foot home said...

Thank you for the info! Although sadly I am coming to the end of my painting - it dies not take long in a 320 square foot home :)

Yours is beautiful, can't wait to see more!


Luciane at said...

Hello my sweet Sarah! :-)

Oh, colors! Walls! Yes! You can spend a day talking about one single color. It will change with light or the lack of it. I think you always should test it first. I told you before how much I love your kitchen. This color is a winner for me.
Great post, Sarah! And you always make me smile, little pip! ;-)

Have a Blessed week!


Luciane at

Post of the Day: A Retreat in Brazil/ Britney Spears' New House.

Laura said...

Awesome post. I love the colour... Flicking through Uk magazines and listening to friends back home it appears that Farrow and Ball is 'the 'paint to have at the mo and anything else on your walls is a kin to painting them in Crayola (which my kids do)... I can see what all the fuss is about now! Lx

Laura said...

Oohh forgot to ask... Does your kitchen look that organised all the time?? Swoon, Swoon. Lx

At The Picket Fence said... it is dangerous to come over here! Now I want to totally change my color scheme in my house after seeing all of those gorgeous photos! How are you friend? I've been out of town for a few days so I'm catching up with all of the lovely ladies in my life! :-)

♥ Mary Janes TEAROOM said...

A lovely, restful colour. Farrow & Ball are my favourite paints by far,
Susan x

Anonymous said...

I love popping by your blog because I feel so young...lil pip :)

The blue gray is a beautiful color next to white and I like the way the color changes at different times of the day. This was the color I was trying to achieve in the living room. I think it's pretty close.

You know I adore your kitchen! It's just right! Gorgeous kitchen in the photo you shared. I could spend the entire day in there. Yum!

Have a good day, Sarah Sarah!

Anonymous said...

Dear Sarah, As you make the point so clearly here, Farrow and Ball paints contain a high percentage of colour pigment and therefore give an intensity of colour which makes them so very special. Usually I use no other paint than Farrow and Ball [even importing it for use in my Budapest apartment] but when looking for a good stone grey to use in a bathroom I was seduced by Zoffany's Fench Grey.

Jaimie said...

Love this colour! I love all it's various shades and I actually really love the green in it! It looks gorgeous in your lovely kitchen!

René said...

Sarah, I'm loving this color and most all grays at the moment. Those images are all gorgeous! Choosing one however is proving to be difficult. Our room is sun drenched and has oak floors that lean toward yellow so I'm thinking gray would help tone it all down.


michele said...

finding the perfect blue-gray...i find i have to look at the grey swatches not the blues. only have a bit of blue grey left in my house: powder room. dining room used to be blue-grey but it gets so much natural light that the color was too nursery-like and cool.

wonderful photos and ideas, Sarah!


Young Adventures... said...

Love this color Sarah! We recently painted our bedroom a color called Celtic Gray, but it has a lot of green in it as well.

Cindy said...

Another cuppa please! Hi sweet Sarah, that is a most interesting color! I am loving it! I have never seen a color that changed so much with the sun and shadow, though. It might be difficult to decorate around it. Would you use just grey accessories to be sure that it didn't clash or use green and blue, both?
Have a lovely day.
Hugs, Cindy

Alison from life & the little things said...

I am feeling the Farrow & Ball Blue Gray love, Sarah! And wow, doesn't it ever look so different in the changing light - I'd never get sick of that! It would be like a different room/different wall depending on the weather/light source. Thanks so much for sharing the love in such detail. Lovely! Looking forward to another cuppa with your next post. ; )

Simple Home said...

This color looks so pretty in your kitchen. It's amazing how different it looks in different lights.
Have a wonderful week!

LindyLouMac said...

What a pretty colour and such an interesting contrast between the rain and sun shots!

WobiSobi said...

I love that color, have always been attracted to it.

Loo xx from Jumbles and Pompoms said...

A most interesting post, Sarah. I like it that it's blue grey but with a hint of green.

Carla @ Hammers and High Heels said...

Love the color! Crazy it can be such a chameleon in different light and material!

High Street Cottage said...

Very helpful information, Mrs. And I love your kitchen, lights on or off! xoxo tami

On Crooked Creek said...

I adore paint colors that change their hue with the lighting of the time of day! Our living room paint is like that . .. different from morning~ to~ evening.Thank you for this inspiring post!

Le said...

just love and adore it with the white tiles - in that first kitchen shot - a refreshingly beautiful combo :) best le xox

Unknown said...

A fantastic illustration of how different a singular colour can look depending upon the light. And here in our lovely UK, we get a lot of that cool blue light from overcast skies so it can change the colours even more than somewhere that is lucky enough to get lots more natural sunlight.

It's a good thing to remember when choosing greys (and I'm a massive fan of the colour as you know!) - there are just so many variations, it's really best to paint swatches and see how it looks in changing light! x

Blondie's Journal said...

Amazing! As if it weren't hard enough to choose a color!! I do like it though and would happily use it in any room.


Holly said...

Love that color! Do you know, I grew up in Canada, and therefore grew up spelling words such as "colour", "behaviour", "flavour" so I feel right at home here. Although the spell check is having a heart attack as I type this!

Meera @ firstsense said...

Ah finally done for the day and get to put my feet up and drink in your gorgeous post!

That is SUCH an interesting colour. You've done a stellar job on showing the colour in different light, so important! I love all the photos here... especially your kitchen, it is DARLING! Absolutely the perfect colour choice!!

Looking forward to the story behind the OTHER colour too :-D

Meera xx

Jill said...

Well I love this colour, its on all the outside doors and gates at our house, but in each situation it looks different. when you use a good paint they have more pigments and therefore pick up on different areas of light so sometimes it can look quite grey other times green. Your kitchen looks lovely painted in it, one of my all time favourites.
Hope you have a lovely week.


I love this color. The last time I went for blue, there was too much green in it, and it reminded me of toothpaste. I will remember this color.


chris said...

Simply gorgeous. It looks lovely in your new kitchen!

Anonymous said...

Sarah you must have spent hours and hours finding all those different shots..and it really show us all how light changes a colour. Alot of people buy paint at our store and come back disapointed because it isn't the colour they wanted or thought it was. I have sent customers outside to the daylight with the sample to see what it looks like and sometimes it is not anything close to what it looks like inside.

A well done post my friend!


michelle said...

Such a beautiful color and I love how it transforms a room in different lights! I just love how it looks in your kitchen! Thank you for sharing all these beautiful pictures too, I am loving that bathtub!!!

Olive said...

I love the color in your kitchen. Where in the states does one find F&B paint? I have never seen it before. I have used most paints availabe here at one time or another. Thanks Sarah for checking on me and for your sweet comments. hugs♥O

Anonymous said...

Sarah you've done a wonderful job of presenting this. That is a lovely soft grey - sorry can't bring myself to spell it any other way :-) Yes, the undertones of blues and green are definitely there. I really appreciate this post, since greys have caught my attention lately.

Your room looks fantastic,

Lisa x

Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking said...

Wow it is amazing how light changes colors! Really enjoyed this post!!

Claudia Lane said...

Hi Sarah, thank you so much for stopping by my blog and for the lovely, lovely're so kind:))
I'm really enjoying your blog!
Have a wonderful day

Young Adventures... said...

It's me again Sarah. I wanted to let you know that I awarded you a stylish blogger award. If you have the time to accept it the details are over at my blog. I think your blog is beautiful and it truly inspires me!

Take care,

Ness Lockyer said...

That colour is lovely and your kitchen is beautiful.
Ness xx

Sonya Badgley said...

Hi Sarah,
I love the Farrow and Ball Blue Gray colors! Wow! They are just fantastic together! I want those colors in my house now! Thank you for sharing your study with us! I spell gray (grey) both ways for some reason. I have always admired the English. Could be because that's where my ancestors originated from? I think I'll go have me a spot of tea and crumpets! :)

Patricia @ 9th and Denver said...

So pretty, no matter the color or the lighting.
You just never know what color you'll be coming upon when you enter a room.
Makes for a nice surprise, I'll bet.

I truly love that floor in the first picture.
Looks hand scraped.


charl said...

i love farrow and ball colours.. they do have more of an intensity than other colours dont they..
i love the colour you've shown. its good to see it in different lights also..ived used a really pale grey in my hallway but i think i could be a bit braver next time and go darker wil have to get you on the case for me!!!

GoldenValley50 said...

I'm seriously in love with that gorgeous dresser. I've been umming and ahhing for the past 6 weeks deciding what colour to paint the old rocking chair I found in my shed. The problem is now solved! Thank you Sarah. ;)Sharyne

Connie in Hartwood said...

You are absolutely speaking my language here, Sarah dear. I have been dying to see and try Farrow and Ball paint for a long time, after hearing folks like you rave about them. I just did a bit of googling, and I found that there's a specialty paint store that carries F&B a mere half hour's drive from here. I see a road trip in my future!

Marlis said...

Love how you've shown this color in so many different situations. People forget to try out the color in all parts of the room and wait a couple of days for it it really gel.. Your kitchen looks totally charming.

Unknown said...

Oh wow! I think I am in love with that color! It is gorgeous and I love that hutch by the way :)

Rachel Rose Mercantile said...

I loved learning something new!I knew lighting played a roll in colors yet it was nice to really see the difference with each scroll.....

Travel With Lulu said...

I have never thought of looking at samples on the computer before. Your walls are gorgeous! XOL

Lila said...

Color envy! The bathroom looks amazing and oh so relaxing. I love the change to the kitchen too.

Privet and Holly said...

Hey girlie!
For some reason,
your posts stopped
coming to my e-mail : (
Will re-sign up, as
I hate to miss them!
I'm in the middle of
a big paint project
at the moment and
definitely know what
you mean by the way
a color changes with
the daylight. Your
blue gray is gorgeous,
by the way!
xx Suzanne

Unknown said...

ooh, thanks for posting this, I love this colour!

Unknown said...

Blue grays are my new favorite color. It is funny they change color so much with the change of lighting. Once again I am inspired reading your posts! have a great day! said...

Okay, I don't think I know anyone that does a whole color study before painting. Maybe that's my problem. I'm the kind that shoots from the hip and just goes for it and then regrets. I absolutely love that color in your kitchen. I also love the picture you posted with that color on the cabiniets in the kitchen...gets me thinking...

Gwen @ Gwenny Penny said...

Love this color! Actually, I love all three colors that you've shown. I didn't realize that you had given the name of the paint color of your bedroom. Now I might steal it:)

Blooming Rose Musings said...

Sarah, I love this blue gray. You are so right about how colors change with the light in a room. This looks like the perfect color. I'm going to try to find where I can get this paint in my area. Thank you for all your images they sure help to get a clear idea of a color.

Vintage Linen Treasures said...

Oh my goodness! Your comment about the "Gray" American spelling & British company made me laugh! I love it!
What an amazing role light has on this color. It changes dramatically in every kind of light. I found that very interesting. Great post!!
Patricia :o)

Luciane at said...

I'm just dropping by to wish you a very happy day, Sarah!


Luciane at

Elaine said...

Oh I do love your paint posts. I love gray but I am afraid it will look too drab and I will hate it! Yours looks fab by the way!

Catherine said...

Hoorah!! I have been ITCHING to know what the colour was that you used! Love, where do I source Farrow and Ball in Aus...hmmmm....

Big hugs...been missing your blog of fault, I know ;-)

Catch you soon chickie



Kristin @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia said...

It's a stunning color and looks gorgeous in your kitchen :)
Thanks for linking!

Kitty Deschanel said...

Lovely photos, as always! Out of curiosity, is that an Anthropologie mug I spy? :)

Anonymous said...

I've been looking for a color to paint my guest bath, and with your help I think I have found it! Thanks!

Pam Kessler said...

Very pretty color. Thanks for doing such a thorough study on it! Maybe I need to go with a similar shade in my living room. It is so bright in here that my well chosen light taupe color just looks white.

Marianne said...

That is such a beautiful color. I have been playing with the thought of painting one of our rooms gray, but I don't know if it will flow with the rest of the house that is painted in green, sage and beige.
I will just have to do what I always do, buy samples and paint all over the place to see.
Thank you for sharing.

Unknown said...

The color I chose for my den is Ben Moore pale Smoke. I cut it by 1.2 with white because I was afraid of the "intensity" factor, reading somewhere (I think HB) that that is what one should do when all 4 walls are painted. I wish I hadn't cut it. The room doesn't get tons of light and would have done well full strength. That being said, I love the colors tone, it is definitely NOT green and that's what I wanted. Next up, finding a blue-gray for my LR and maybe a brownish-darker walls for the DR. Great post- love the color in your home.

♥ Miss Tea said...

What a useful info! Love the Blue gray color! your house looks so beautiful, the kitchen is such a cozy and warm place, and I do love all the photos that you posted there, so gorgeous! Happy Feathered Nest Friday!

phoenix painter said...

I cannot speak any further. You got the sweet spot in choosing colors.

plumbing fittings said...

I must say that the chosen colors were all nice and they complement with each other. I also love the decoration.

Lindsay said...

You've just won a forever subscriber!! Individual Color Studies?!?! Wow! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Anonymous said...

I love the colour! Just wondered where you got your wooden heart from because I love that too!

Sarah @ Modern Country Style said...

I got in from a seller on ebay. It's lovely, isn't it! It makes me smile whenever I look at it.


Anonymous said...

Hi. I just came across your blog and I love it! I'm doing a bit of a makeover of my kitchen and bathroom. My house is painted entirely in Farrow & Ball colours but I'm keen to try out some new colours and love blue/greens. We have a galley kitchen at the back of the house which faces north. I'm trying to decide whether to put in barely grey cabinets or blue gray ones as well as what colour to paint the walls. It is quite a dark room which overlooks our yard. Our living/dining room is open to the kitchen & is painted pale powder which I love but sometimes wonder if I should have gone a shade dark as it gets lots of natural light. I would love to hear your thoughts.
Juliet x

Sarah @ Modern Country Style said...

Our kitchen faces North-West and doesn't get a huge amount of natural light, [articularly in the winter.

For North facing rooms, it's worth trying colours that seem much greener than you might otherwise choose as this counteracts the Northerly cold-bluish light.

Blue Gray on its own was definitely too dark - but, combined with White Tie, was perfect!


Juliet said...

Thanks Sarah
Although I would love blue gray cabinets I'm thinking it would be too dark for my kitchen. Maybe I could save that idea for my dream home...I think French grey cabinets would work better with maybe a couple of walls painted blue gray or maybe light blue would work better? As I'm sure you can tell I'm pretty indecisive. I've been known to paint an entire room and then change my mind about the colour!
Thanks again for inspiring me.
Juliet xx

Unknown said...

Such a useful blog! Wondering what your thoughts would be on using the blue tray/white tie combo for a hallway/corridor which has a south-west facing window? I love the elusive blue/green/grey quality of this paint, but wouldn't want to end up with simply green looking walls because of the quality of the light coming into the room... Thanks so much in advance for any advice - your expertise is appreciated!

Sarah @ Modern Country Style said...

Hi Anna,

Thank you for your lovely comment.

I think you might find that Blue Gray comes up as quite a strong colour under South/West conditions....definitely worth trying a sample in situ.

You might also also consider using Pigeon by Farrow and Ball, in place of Blue Gray.

Good luck!


Unknown said...

Been researching Pigeon... Inspired! Do you have any recommendations for the woodwork alongside it to bring out the colour to its fullest? Thanks so much x

Coulda shoulda woulda said...

thanks so much for this as it is a color that i am considering but having a hard time deciding due to the varied light in London!

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