Baf­fled by the sheer num­ber of op­tions avail­able? Here, we share the in­sider info on paint brands both big and small, and ex­plain each one’s unique sell­ing point

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Paint | Decorating -

1 EMERY & C I E The luxury brand beloved for its chalky, tex­tu­ral paints

Why should I choose it? This is the go-to brand for ex­traor­di­nar­ily chalky-matt paints in po­tent shades. For emer­ald and botan­i­cal greens, Emery & Cie is top of the class. Each colour is taken from real life – whether the spe­cific hue of 14th-cen­tury Chi­nese celadon pots, the ap­pear­ance of the wa­ter in a canal or a Bel­gian pale win­ter sky. The brand has just with­drawn all gloss paints from its col­lec­tion after dis­cov­er­ing a new var­nish which, when painted over its matt paints, pro­duces a far more strik­ing ef­fect. What’s its story? The Bel­gian firm was founded over 20 years ago by ar­chi­tect and de­signer Agnés Emery, an in­te­ri­ors poly­math whose achieve­ments in­clude time spent restor­ing Art Nou­veau in­te­ri­ors and paint­ing orig­i­nal mu­rals. Emery re­mains the brand’s main de­signer, and de­scribes her aes­thetic as some­where ‘be­tween Baroque and min­i­mal­ism’. Did you know? The Emery & Cie web­site sells hard-to-find tiles that are the per­fect decorating foil to the pow­dery sur­face of the brand’s paints. £22 per litre (emeryet­

2 MY­LANDS The pro­fes­sional’s favourite that’s still made in Lon­don

Why should I choose it? Since 1884, My­lands has been the go-to for Lon­don’s in­te­rior dec­o­ra­tors and the film and theatre in­dus­try. It only opened its busi­ness to the con­sumer mar­ket in 2012, when it launched its ‘Colours of Lon­don’ pal­ette. What’s its story? In 1884, ‘Hon­est’ John My­land opened his first shop in Lam­beth, Lon­don, sell­ing French pol­ishes, dis­tem­pers, var­nishes, oils and pig­ments. He quickly drew praise for the qual­ity of his ma­te­ri­als and set up a fac­tory to mix be­spoke paints. In­te­rior dec­o­ra­tors brought along fab­rics and wall­pa­pers to be colour matched, while set de­sign­ers for film and theatre rel­ished in the highly pig­mented for­mula of his paints. Due to the paint’s opac­ity, it was used to cam­ou­flage Lon­don’s land­mark bridges and build­ings dur­ing World War II. In 1985 the busi­ness was given a coveted Royal War­rant. To­day it is one of the only paint brands to still use nat­u­ral earth pig­ments. Did you know? All of its paints are in­spired by the city of Lon­don and made in the cap­i­tal. The colour pal­ette fea­tures 120 shades in­clud­ing ‘ Kens­ing­ton Rose’, and ‘Cir­cle Line’ (above, right). £42 for 2.5 litres (my­ ➤

3 BAUWERK Love the lime­wash look? This is the com­pany to know

Why should I choose it? If you’re dream­ing of the un­usual depth and tex­ture of lime­washed walls, this Aus­tralian brand is the ex­pert. What is lime­wash? ‘Made from cal­cium car­bon­ate, a nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring min­eral found in lime­stone and seashells, the beauty of lime­wash is in the struc­ture of its cal­cite crys­tals, which re­fract light in a com­pletely dif­fer­ent way to other paints,’ says Bauwerk’s co-founder Bron­wyn Riedel. The brand’s rich lime­wash pig­ments are avail­able in colours rang­ing from smoky shades to op­u­lent jewel tones. What are the ben­e­fits of lime­wash?

No tox­ins or chem­i­cals are re­quired to pro­duce lime­wash, which means it is the eco-friendly al­ter­na­tive to nor­mal paint as it al­lows both a house’s walls and its in­hab­i­tants to breathe eas­ily. ‘Lime­wash works with na­ture rather than against it,’ ex­plains Riedel. What colours are avail­able? Pick from a col­lec­tion of paints dreamt up by in­te­ri­ors con­sul­tant, art di­rec­tor and author Hans Blomquist, in­clud­ing sil­very green ‘Tucson’, in­spired by the cacti of Ari­zona and ‘North’, an homage to the north­ern lights. How do I ap­ply it? Lime­wash can be ap­plied to ren­dered brick or plas­ter, but with the cor­rect un­der­coat it can also be used on pre-painted walls. Bauwerk’s ‘Medium’ brush (£12) is the ob­vi­ous tool for the task – it’s made from nat­u­ral fi­bres that dis­trib­ute the paint evenly. For mas­ter­classes on ap­ply­ing lime­wash, watch Bauwerk’s how-to videos on­line. From £60 for four litres ( bauw­erk­

4 PAINT & PA­PER L IBRARY Known for its high-end colours that are easy to use. Bonus: fewer coats re­quired!

Why should I choose it? This 20-year-old com­pany gives more well-known brands a run for their money, with paints that are known for their ease of ap­pli­ca­tion. Ini­tially recog­nised for whites and neu­trals – now its ‘Ar­chi­tec­tural Colours’ range – to­day it is gain­ing a rep­u­ta­tion for its other beau­ti­ful shades. Here are three things you need to know about this firm. 1It has a closely edited pal­ette

This is seen as a sell­ing point, not a draw­back. Each hue in the rel­a­tively mod­est range of 180 is care­fully con­sid­ered and al­ways on trend. 2Its ex­perts are avail­able to help If you are suf­fer­ing from what Paint & Pa­per Li­brary term ‘paint anal­y­sis paral­y­sis,’ for £180 its colour guru Lisa Ma­hony will visit your house and de­vise a scheme spe­cific to your home. 3It’s just added new colours

We love the four easy-on-the-eye neu­trals of ‘Porce­lain’ and the ori­en­tal crim­son of ‘Geisha’. £42.40 for 2.5 litres (paintand­pa­per­li­

5 ANNI E S LOAN The chalk paint pioneer’s range is ver­sa­tile and easy to use

Why should I choose it? Annie Sloan has been a house­hold name in in­te­rior de­sign since 1990, when she in­vented her ver­sa­tile ‘Chalk Paint’. Orig­i­nally a dec­o­ra­tive paint de­signed for fur­ni­ture, wood and metal, to­day there’s a wall range to match. What is ‘Chalk Paint’? Cel­e­brated for its ver­sa­til­ity, ‘Chalk Paint’ can be wa­tered down to make a wash for a dis­tressed look on floor­boards, or thick­ened into a vis­cous im­pasto by leav­ing the lid off. Use it to give vin­tage fur­ni­ture a speedy up­date – it doesn’t re­quire any prepara­tory prim­ing or sand­ing – and try mix­ing colours to­gether (Sloan’s web­site says they won’t be­come ‘dead or muddy’). The wall paints leave a soft, vel­vety fin­ish on sur­faces. In May, six new colours will join the ten ex­ist­ing wall paints: most dra­matic of the hues are the ‘Am­s­ter­dam Green’ and crim­son ‘Em­peror’s Silk’. Did you know? Sloan’s epony­mous brand sells more than just paint. Ex­pect to find ev­ery­thing a DIY dec­o­ra­tive painter will need, from wax, lac­quer, gild­ing ma­te­ri­als and craque­leur (which gives an an­tique-style cracked var­nish fin­ish), to brushes, sten­cils and more than 25 how-to books with tips and tech­niques. From £18.95 per litre (an­nies­ ➤

6 FAR­ROW & BAL L The trend-set­ting com­pany that’s per­fected her­itage shades

Why should I choose it? For its rich hues made us­ing tra­di­tional for­mu­las. While other man­u­fac­tur­ers found recog­ni­tion cre­at­ing mod­ern acrylic paints, Far­row & Ball con­tin­ued to use nat­u­ral raw ma­te­ri­als, es­tab­lish­ing a sense of his­tory. In the early 1990s, the com­pany de­vel­oped a range of shades for Na­tional Trust prop­er­ties, and its paint has been used in pro­duc­tions of Pride and Prej­u­dice and Bleak House. What’s its story? The com­pany was founded in 1946 by John Far­row, an in­dus­trial chemist, and Richard Ball, an en­gi­neer, who met while work­ing at a clay pit after World War II. They built the first Far­row & Ball fac­tory in Ver­wood, Dorset, ful­fill­ing im­por­tant con­tracts for the likes of Ford Mo­tors, the Ad­mi­ralty and the War Of­fice. A fac­tory fire, which forced a move to the cur­rent site at Ud­dens Es­tate near Wim­borne in the 1970s, pre­ceded an un­event­ful cou­ple of decades that proved to be fun­da­men­tal to the brand’s cur­rent suc­cess. His­tor­i­cal decorator Tom Helme and fi­nancier Martin Eph­son took over in the 1990s, herald­ing the be­gin­ning of the as­pi­ra­tional brand we know to­day. Did you know? Far­row & Ball only ever has 132 colours in its pal­ette at any time, ar­chiv­ing shades to make way for new col­lec­tions, which they launch ev­ery two to three years. Its colours are mostly named after places, peo­ple or na­ture; for ex­am­ple, ‘Miz­zle’, a green pig­ment, is in­spired by the West Coun­try word for mist and driz­zle. £39.50 for 2.5 litres (far­

7 DULUX The smart and af­ford­able choice for colour match­ing

Why should I choose it? Dulux can cre­ate a paint to match any hue your heart de­sires. It’s also one of the most dig­i­tally savvy com­pa­nies: its web­site is in­cred­i­bly user-friendly and its clever app, Dulux Visu­aliser, su­per­im­poses any paint shade onto a photo of the room you are plan­ning to re­paint, so that you get an idea of how it might look be­fore you even think about pick­ing up a brush. Here are four things that you might not know about this su­per­brand. 1The

name Dulux is a hy­brid of ‘Dupont’ (the US chem­i­cal man­u­fac­turer that first in­vented an enamel paint for­mula as a mo­tor body parts var­nish) and ‘Luxury’. 2The first ‘off-the-shelf’ colour

Fol­low­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of Bri­tish Stan­dard colours in the 1930s, the first shade Dulux sold was ‘Sky Blue’. 3The

ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paigns Dulux was the first paint brand to ad­ver­tise on TV. The story goes that the ad­vert di­rec­tor’s Old English Sheep­dog kept run­ning onto set, and in the end they let it stay. The shaggy breed has be­come syn­ony­mous with Dulux. 4Gloss

is back! ‘The new sol­vent-free for­mula makes it eas­ier than ever to ap­ply, and the mid-cen­tury mod­ern look – where gloss was king – is re-en­ter­ing the main­stream,’ says creative di­rec­tor Mar­i­anne Shilling­ford. From £19.99 for 2.5 litres ( ➤

8 CROWN The pro­fes­sion­als’ choice for hard­wear­ing, pure white paint

Why should I choose it? Head to Crown to find no-fuss, hard­wear­ing and long-last­ing emul­sions. Its ‘Pure Bril­liant White’ is the ba­sic favoured by trades­peo­ple for its great cover­age and af­ford­abil­ity. Here are four things you might not know about Crown. 1It

first set up shop in 1777 At the be­gin­ning it was known as Dob Mead­ows Print Shop and was lo­cated in Lan­cashire, where its head­quar­ters and paint pro­duc­tion fac­tory have re­mained ever since. Dur­ing the 1800s the brand in­vented new wall­pa­per pro­duc­tion tech­niques, in­clud­ing a cal­ico pa­per print­ing ma­chine that cre­ated the first pa­pers for the likes of Anaglypta. 2Crown’s paints did Na­tional

Ser­vice Dur­ing World War I, it pro­vided var­nish for bul­lets, and in World War II it sup­plied black­out, re­flec­tive and cam­ou­flage paints for the Bri­tish forces. Its prod­uct was also used to cre­ate the de­mar­ca­tion stripes on the planes in­volved in the D-day land­ings.

3It’s made by Royal ap­point­ment

Crown has held a coveted Royal War­rant as of­fi­cial paint sup­plier to the Queen since 1955. 4The colour trend to watch is navy blue ‘Dark colours are set to be­come ever more pop­u­lar,’ says Crown’s colour con­sul­tant Judy Smith. ‘Char­coal or deep blue can give a room a feel­ing of so­phis­ti­ca­tion, and work sur­pris­ingly well in a small area too, giv­ing it a sense of gran­deur.’ £22.50 for 2.5 litres (crown­

9 CAPAROL I CONS New to the UK, this set of colours mixes mod­ern and retro

Why should I choose it? De­signed with young fam­i­lies in mind, the new Caparol Icons paints are 100 per cent child-safe, com­pletely sol­vent free and odour­less. In fact, they’ve been awarded the high­est grade by Ger­many’s eco stan­dards for paint. What’s its story? Caparol is one of Ger­many’s lead­ing paint mak­ers, and it has just cre­ated the Caparol Icons brand, a bi­jou col­lec­tion of 120 colours de­vel­oped specif­i­cally for a cool, de­sign savvy crowd. The brand’s team of de­sign­ers, trend fore­cast­ers and art his­to­ri­ans delved into the his­tory books to de­velop a colour pal­ette that re­flects the iconic mo­ments, peo­ple and phe­nom­ena from the 1950s on­wards. What this trans­lates into is a set of slightly retro colour col­lec­tions that are per­fect for a mod­ern set­ting. Did you know?

The quirky names given to each shade pro­vide a sense of this paint gi­ant’s new ap­proach, which puts mood above tonal vari­a­tion. There’s a sunny ‘Flower Power’ yel­low, a rich ‘Trib­ute to Vinyl’ grey-black and a sooth­ing ‘Surf’s Up’ blue. Where to buy You heard it here first: Caparol Icons has only just be­come avail­able in the UK and is not stocked here as of yet, so get in touch di­rectly with Caparol for paint sam­ples and to ar­range ship­ping ( ‘Ode To Joy’

10 V& A PAINT The way to bring a mu­seum-qual­ity pal­ette into your home

Why should I choose it? In an en­tre­pre­neur­ial first, the Victoria and Al­bert Mu­seum is launch­ing a luxury in­te­rior paint range avail­able for the pub­lic to buy in shades in­spired by the gallery’s own walls, and its ex­hibits. The col­lec­tion has been pro­duced by 120-year-old Bri­tish man­u­fac­turer Master Paint­mak­ers for the Mu­seum. What are the paints like? The label launches with the ‘Clas­sic Paint Col­lec­tion’, con­sist­ing of 40 hues in­spired by the V&A’S his­tory, ar­chi­tec­ture and in­te­rior. An op­u­lent stand-out is the deep sea-green ‘Owen’s Teal’, which echoes the dec­o­ra­tive flour­ishes put in the Mu­seum’s early In­dian, Chi­nese and Ja­panese Rooms by de­signer Owen Jones, who once quipped that ‘Form with­out colour is like a body with­out a soul’. We also like grey-white ‘Tra­jan’s Col­umn’, named after the Mu­seum’s su­per­sized plas­ter cast of Rome’s 1st-cen­tury com­mem­o­ra­tive pil­lar. All colours are avail­able in matt emul­sion, eggshell, gloss and ma­sonry. Where can I buy them? In the V&A’S mu­seum shop or on­line. Want to see the paints in situ? Some have al­ready been used on the gallery’s in­te­ri­ors – such as ‘Grand En­trance’, a soft wel­com­ing white used in the mag­nif­i­cent domed lobby. £36 for 2.5 litres (van­da­ ➤

11 RESSOURCE PEINTURES The in­sid­ers’ se­cret, this firm still makes all of its paints in Provence

Why should I choose it? As well as hav­ing in­no­va­tive in-house ‘colour ar­chae­ol­o­gist’ Pa­trick Baty, the firm col­lab­o­rates with su­per­cool French cre­atives with a spe­cial in­ter­est in colour. The ‘It­inéraires’ col­lec­tion is the re­sult of ap­proach­ing four de­sign folk liv­ing in dif­fer­ent cities – such as Nantes and Mar­seille – to cre­ate a pal­ette of shades for each cityscape. In­te­rior de­signer Nathalie Rives con­jours up Lyon with peaty ‘Brown Whisky’, ‘Bleu Velours’ and the plummy ‘Rouge Ébène’. What’s its story? One of the last in­de­pen­dent paint man­u­fac­tur­ers in France, Ressource Peintures is a di­rect de­scen­dant of the So­ciété Provençale du Blanc Fixe Ocres et Couleurs, a paint brand cre­ated in 1946. Lo­cated near the ochre quar­ries of Rous­sil­lon in France, the com­pany has long been us­ing this nat­u­ral ma­te­rial to make its paints. Did you know? The brand’s paints are made with pig­ments mined straight from the earth, which means they are more nat­u­ral than most: all of Ressource Pein­ture’s tints con­tain less than half the max­i­mum al­lowed amount of VOC (nasty sol­vents re­leased into the air as a paint dries). Or­der colour cards from the Paris store. From £26.80 per litre (

12 L ITTLE GREENE The old favourite with cutting-edge green cre­den­tials

Why should I choose it? Lit­tle Greene is known for its strong eco cre­den­tials. The com­pany’s wa­ter-based paints carry the in­dus­try’s best eco rat­ing; the tins are made from more than 50 per cent re­cy­cled steel; and for ev­ery tree used to make its wall­pa­pers an­other four are planted. What’s its story? The ear­li­est records of the Lit­tle Greene Dye Works on the out­skirts of Manch­ester date back to 1720 – the Earl of Derby granted it rights as a ‘ house pro­duc­ing colours’ later in the 18th cen­tury. It is be­lieved that Lit­tle Greene’s ‘Cho­co­late’ shade was used for com­poser Ge­orge Frid­eric Han­del’s front door while ‘ In­vis­i­ble Green’ was pop­u­larised by Ge­or­gian gar­dener Humphry Rep­ton, who rec­om­mended it to help fences blend into sur­round­ing fo­liage. The orig­i­nal Lit­tle Greene paints used nat­u­ral resins and pig­ments com­bined with clean Pen­nines wa­ter, and many of those early in­gre­di­ents are still used in the com­pany’s for­mu­lae to­day, hav­ing proven to be safer and bet­ter qual­ity than their syn­thetic coun­ter­parts. Lit­tle Greene is still a fam­ily-run busi­ness – its paints and wall­pa­pers are made in the UK near the orig­i­nal Col­ly­hurst Wood site. Did you know? Lit­tle Greene’s ‘Fly­ing Chips’ are the only colour cards printed with­out a white border, mak­ing it eas­ier to com­pare shades against fab­ric, wall­pa­per and other paint sam­ples. £38 for 2.5 litres ( lit­tle­




‘Biron Gray’, be­spoke shade for the Rodin Mu­seum

‘Salon Drab’ and ‘ Yeabridge Green’

‘Mar­itime Teal’


‘Mon­fleur’, ‘Barcelona Or­ange’ and ‘Provence’

‘Plim­soll’, ‘Ge­orge­town’ and ‘ Wat­tle V’



‘Cir­cle Line’

‘Kas­bouri No.1’

‘FTT-013’ ‘Cado­gan Stone’ and ‘Em­pire Grey’

‘Ce­les­tial Blue’

‘In­vis­i­ble Green’


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