THE 12 PAINT BRANDS YOU NEED TO KNOW
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
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 The brand has just withdrawn all gloss paints from its collection after discovering a new varnish which, when painted over its matt paints, produces a far more striking effect.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 (emeryetcie.com).
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 (mylands.co.uk) ➤
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 ( bauwerkcolour.co.uk).
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 (paintandpaperlibrary.com).
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 (anniesloan.com). ➤
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 (farrow-ball.com).
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 (dulux.co.uk). ➤
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 (crownpaints.co.uk).
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 (caparol.de). ‘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 (vandapaint.com). ➤
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 (ressource-peintures.com).
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 ( littlegreene.com).
‘Biron Gray’, bespoke shade for the Rodin Museum
‘Salon Drab’ and ‘ Yeabridge Green’
‘Monfleur’, ‘Barcelona Orange’ and ‘Provence’
‘Plimsoll’, ‘Georgetown’ and ‘ Wattle V’
‘FTT-013’ ‘Cadogan Stone’ and ‘Empire Grey’