What's the difference between Estate Emulsion and Modern Emulsion?

What's the difference between Estate Emulsion and Modern Emulsion?


This is a question we get asked a lot. As the rooms in our homes are used for different purposes, there are different demands placed on the paint coatings used in them. Farrow and Ball have produced two different emulsions, with different characteristics to give you the best performance possible and to keep your walls looking as good as possible for as long as possible.

Estate emulsion is a flat, chalky emulsion. This paint is designed to be used in bedrooms, living rooms and dining rooms, or rooms that have little traffic or moisture. With paints, normally, the flatter the finish, the less durable it will be. Estate Emulsion is Farrow and Balls most popular finish. Its flat fashionable look makes it a go to product for lots of people. However, to get that flat chalky finish, durability will be lower, especially with darker colours, marks will stand out more. This is something to consider when buying. 

Modern emulsion is more durable and can be wiped and scrubbed to a certain point. This strength comes from its slightly higher sheen level of 7%. Although 7% is still classed as a matt, when compared with a soft sheen or silk in other brands, customers who are looking for the flattest finish possible will not be getting that finish. Again the sheen level will be more obvious with darker colours. This paint is perfect for use in bathrooms, kitchens and high traffic areas. We have seen customers use Estate Emulsion in these rooms to get the flat finish, and they have been ultimately disappointed with the paints performance over time. This is simply because the paint is not designed for that use.

Both finishes are available in 2.5ltr and 5ltr can sizes in all F&B colours. Samples are available in Estate Emulsion, but currently F&B do not make their emulsions in smaller 1ltr or 750ml can sizes, which we have seen upset customers who only need a small amount to finish a job, but have to buy a 2.5ltr, this is something else to take into account when buying.

In short:

Estate Emulsion (2% Sheen) = Living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, study

Modern Emulsion (7% Sheen) = Kitchens, bathrooms, H/S/L, utility room, high traffic areas


Shop for Farrow and Ball Paints on Designerpaintstore.com - Free delivery on orders over £100.00, same day dispatch available from a Farrow and Ball Premium Stockist


An alternative to Farrow and Ball Modern Emulsion


If you have an area like a shower room that gets a lot of condensation, and has little ventilation, you might need a paint with more durability to give you a longer lasting finish. Estate Eggshell, which most would use on interior wood and metal can be used on walls. With a higher sheen level of 20%, this will offer a lot more protection against moisture, and will withstand more wiping and scrubbing than the F&B emulsions on offer. As long as the extra sheen level doesn't bother you too much. Another example comes from our shop here in Ashby. The wall behind our counter which has people bumping into it all day is painted in Eggshell, as a normal emulsion will start to look tired after a while. Another advantage is that this is available in a 750ml can size, so if you only have a small area to paint, you're not paying £50 for a 2.5ltr.


W McNeice








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