Valspar vs. Farrow & Ball: An In-Depth Comparison for DIY Enthusiasts and Pros Alike

Bob Thomas


As someone who’s spent a significant chunk of my life painting homes and other structures, I’ve tested a multitude of paints.

Today, we’ll take a closer look at two popular options: Valspar and Farrow & Ball.

Both have their unique strengths, but which one will come out on top?

Quick Summary

In a rush? Here’s the quick rundown: Valspar offers affordability and availability, while Farrow & Ball is celebrated for its high-quality finish and rich, unique color range. Ultimately, your choice depends on your project’s needs and your budget. Keep reading for a detailed comparison.



Valspar, a well-established paint brand, offers a wide array of products suitable for various painting needs.

It’s a trusted choice among DIY beginners and professionals for its affordability and easy availability.

Farrow & Ball

Farrow & Ball, on the other hand, is a high-end British paint company known for its artisanal approach to paint-making.

They offer a uniquely curated color palette, appealing to those who seek sophisticated hues and a luxury finish.

Coverage and Durability


Valspar’s paints generally offer great coverage, often requiring just two coats for a beautiful finish.

In terms of durability, their premium lines, like the Valspar Signature, can resist wear and tear remarkably well.

Farrow & Ball

Farrow & Ball paints boast excellent pigmentation, leading to impressive coverage.

Durability is also top-notch, with its Estate and Modern ranges providing a long-lasting finish that stands up to time and traffic.



A significant advantage of Valspar is its affordability. It’s a high-quality paint option for those on a budget.

Farrow & Ball

Farrow & Ball paints come at a premium price.

But if you’re after a unique color range and high-end finish, you might find it well worth the investment.

Pro Tip: Always weigh cost against your project’s needs and expectations. Sometimes, paying a bit more for superior quality can save you money on touch-ups and repaints in the long run.



One of the strengths of Valspar is its wide distribution. You can easily find it in various home improvement stores and online.

Farrow & Ball

Farrow & Ball has a more limited distribution, available in select showrooms and online. However, they offer shipping options that cover many regions.

Color Options and Environmental Impact


With Valspar, you’ll have thousands of color options to choose from. Plus, they’re committed to reducing environmental impact, offering low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) products in their range.

Farrow & Ball

Farrow & Ball may have a smaller color range, but their palette is meticulously curated, offering unique and sophisticated hues.

They’re also eco-friendly, with water-based, low VOC products.

Pro Tip: Always test paint colors in your space before purchasing gallons. Light and surrounding elements can significantly affect how a color looks.

Sheen and Finish Options


Valspar offers a variety of sheen options, from flat to high gloss. Each provides a different aesthetic and level of durability.

Farrow & Ball

Farrow & Ball offers specific finishes that align with their unique brand, including Estate Emulsion (matte) and Modern Emulsion (slightly sheer), among others.

These finishes are distinctive and cater to specific design aesthetics.

Valspar, on the other hand, offers a wider range of finishes, from flat and eggshell to satin, semi-gloss, and gloss.

This wider range provides more options for different applications and personal preferences.

Ease of Application

Both Valspar and Farrow & Ball paints are easy to apply, but they each have their unique properties.

Farrow & Ball paint is known for its depth of color and often requires fewer coats to achieve full coverage, which can make the application process quicker.

However, it’s slightly thicker consistency may require a bit more effort to apply evenly.

Valspar paint is generally easier to apply due to its smoother consistency.

However, you may need more coats to achieve full coverage, especially for darker shades.

Customer Support and Satisfaction

When it comes to customer support and satisfaction, both brands score well.

Farrow & Ball have a reputation for excellent customer service, and they offer advice and guidance on their website and in their stores.

Customers generally report high satisfaction with their products.

Similarly, Valspar offers excellent customer service, with representatives readily available to answer questions and resolve issues.

Customers are generally satisfied with their purchases, citing the high quality and wide range of colors available.

Other Considerations

Farrow & Ball’s paint is renowned for its rich pigments and depth of color.

Their curated color palette, though smaller than Valspar’s, is carefully designed to ensure that all colors complement each other, which can make choosing a cohesive color scheme simpler.

On the other hand, Valspar’s broader range offers more variety, which can be beneficial if you’re looking for a specific shade or if you enjoy having many options to choose from.

Personal Experience

Having been in the painting business for several years, I’ve used both Valspar and Farrow & Ball extensively.

The depth of color that you get with Farrow & Ball is truly remarkable, but I’ve also found Valspar to be incredibly reliable and versatile.

Once, I was tasked with revamping a client’s living room, and they were set on a specific shade of blue.

After searching through countless swatches, we found the perfect match in Valspar’s collection.

The paint applied beautifully and with a couple of coats, the room was transformed.

On another occasion, I was restoring an old Georgian home, and Farrow & Ball’s historical color range was a lifesaver.

We chose ‘Elephant’s Breath’ for the drawing room, a soft warm grey that looked stunning in the natural light.

In my experience, you can’t go wrong with either brand. It comes down to your specific needs and preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions Section (FAQs)

Q. How do the production methods of Valspar and Farrow & Ball compare?

  A: Farrow & Ball is renowned for their artisanal approach to paint production, favoring traditional methods and high-quality ingredients to achieve their distinct finishes.

Their paints are water-based, with minimal VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds), in line with their commitment to eco-friendliness.

On the other hand, Valspar, as a larger-scale manufacturer, utilizes more industrialized methods for their paint production.

They offer both water-based and oil-based paints and strive for a balance between quality and affordability.

Q. Can I find Valspar and Farrow & Ball paints at the same retailers?

  A: Valspar paints are generally more widely available and can be found at numerous home improvement and paint stores.

Farrow & Ball, however, is typically found in more upscale design stores or their own branded outlets. Online availability varies by region.

Q. Are the color palettes of Valspar and Farrow & Ball comparable?

  A: Farrow & Ball offers a more limited, curated color palette that prides itself on sophistication and depth of color.

These paints are designed for those seeking specific, often heritage-inspired hues.

Valspar, on the other hand, provides a broader and more versatile color palette.

This is advantageous if you’re seeking a very specific shade or want more flexibility and variety in your options.

Q. What kind of paint is best for high-traffic areas of my home?

  A: Both Valspar and Farrow & Ball offer options suitable for high-traffic areas. Valspar’s ‘Reserve’ line and Farrow & Ball’s ‘Modern Emulsion’ paint are both highly durable and washable, making them suitable for these areas.

Q. Which brand offers more specialty finishes?

  A: Farrow & Ball offer specialty finishes such as their ‘Estate Emulsion’ for a chalky, matte look and ‘Full Gloss’ for a high shine finish.

Valspar also offers a variety of finishes, including matte, eggshell, satin, and gloss, but doesn’t put as much emphasis on unique finish characteristics as Farrow & Ball.

Q. What if I want to match a specific color from one brand to the other?

  A: Color matching technology has come a long way, and many paint stores can accurately replicate colors from different brands.

However, it’s worth noting that due to differences in base paints and pigments, a 100% match might not be possible.

Always test a sample before committing to a large quantity of paint.


So, Valspar vs. Farrow & Ball – which is the better choice? Well, it depends on your specific needs. Both brands offer excellent quality paint with a wide range of colors.

If you value depth of color, eco-friend liness, and a curated color palette, then Farrow & Ball may be the better choice for you.

Their paints are well-regarded for their rich pigments, and their commitment to sustainability is commendable.

However, if you’re looking for more variety in color choices, ease of application, and perhaps a slightly more budget-friendly option, then Valspar could be a great fit.

Their range of finishes and vast color selection make it a versatile choice for all types of projects.

Ultimately, the best paint for you depends on your project, personal taste, and budget.

Both brands provide high-quality products that can help you achieve beautiful results.

It’s worth sampling a few colors from each brand to see which you prefer in your specific lighting and setting.

In the end, it’s all about what works best for your unique situation and aesthetic preference.

Whether it’s a statement wall in a vibrant shade or a soft, neutral palette throughout your home, the right paint can bring your vision to life.

Suggested Products:

Farrow & Ball

  1. Estate Emulsion: Known for its chalky, very matte finish, Estate Emulsion is a signature product of Farrow & Ball. It is perfect for use on walls and ceilings and adds a classic, heritage feel to any room.
  2. Modern Emulsion: This is a durable and versatile option that is slightly more sheen than the Estate Emulsion. It is resistant to scuffs and stains, making it ideal for high-traffic areas like hallways and children’s rooms.
  3. Exterior Eggshell: Farrow & Ball’s Exterior Eggshell paint is a durable, mid-sheen finish suitable for metal and wood surfaces. It is resistant to flaking and fading, making it ideal for outdoor applications.


  1. Signature: Valspar’s Signature paint is a high-quality paint and primer in one. It provides great coverage and durability, making it suitable for a wide variety of interior applications.
  2. Reserve: This line of paint is known for its superior durability, making it perfect for high-traffic areas. It is a paint and primer in one, with excellent hide and coverage.
  3. Duramax Exterior: Duramax is Valspar’s top-of-the-line outdoor paint. It is a paint and primer in one and has excellent durability. It provides a mold, mildew, and algae-resistant coating, which makes it an excellent choice for exterior applications.

About the author 

Bob Thomas

A fully certified interior decorator and house painter , Bob Thomas brings immense expertise and knowledge amassed from many years of hands-on experience with residential, commercial and specialty painting and decorating projects of all sizes and scopes.

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