Best Paint Colors

June 28, 2012

Colour Me British

Ever since Kate and William said “I do” last spring, the world has been a little in love with all things British. And with the Queen’s Jubilee just wrapped up and the summer Olympics in London only a few weeks away, all eyes are once again on the U.K.

In honour of its country’s moment in the spotlight, U.K. paint company Farrow & Ball asked designers from around the globe to create British decorating schemes using its velvety paints and wallpapers. You can debate how British or un-British the results are, but it’s hard to argue against the inspiring combinations created. A room layered in Wedgwood blues? Yes please.

“In the north of Scotland, we are redecorating a grand 18th century castle. We have just picked a palette of colours for the drawing room… The walls will be Green Blue, the frieze a mix of Porphyry Pink and Menagerie; joinery in Slipper Satin and Shaded White; the ceiling James White. This range of colours is soft and restful, yet has enough depth and colour to warm the cold clear northern light.” — Ben Pentreath, architectural designer, U.K

(I couldn’t help but notice how this palette so perfectly mimics the tones in the photo of Kate Middleton, above. A room as pretty as the princess!)

“This scheme would work really well in an office as the Babouche would provide some energy and the black would bring in a more professional tone. I’d love to see this scheme in a boy’s room or an industrial kitchen too.” — Holly Becker, blogger,, Germany

“These nuances of blue combined with white remind me of the famous bicoloured ceramics from Josiah Wedgwood of the 18th century. These dishes ennoble each table in the same way that a soft paint makes a dining room much more beautiful.” — Gerd Sommerlade, stylist and designer, Germany

“Polka Square wallpaper seems to take the light in, to envelope it gently, like the soft surface of the first snowfall. Charlotte’s Locks can be applied to the inside of a cabinet, so it blushes when it’s opened. Down Pipe creates a nice contrast on the outside of a house and works exceedingly well in combination with bricks and garden greenery.” — Scholten & Baijings, design duo, Holland

“To create a British colour scheme, I would channel more David Hicks than Nancy Lancaster, although her yellow influence cannot be overlooked. I would cover the walls in a sunny yellow strié paper such as The Dragged Papers (DR1246) and paint the ceilings in Citron with trim in a crisp colour such as Pointing. For the furniture, curtains and rug, I would choose all snappy black and white — sharp and graphic — Hicks-esque patterns and solids to balance the strong yellow. One could not help but be happy in this room.” — John Lyle, designer, U.S.

Browse the other British colour schemes.

For more British style, see our gallery of NH Design Interiors.

Photo credits:
1. Kate Middleton via Derek Loves Shopping
2-6. Farrow & Ball