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.


NEW Farrow and Ball Dead Flat Matt

Adding to Farrow and Ball's current emulsion range comes their new Dead Flat. Sitting at the top of the emulsion pile for F&B comes a multi-surface paint that can be used internally on walls, woodwork, metalwork and ceilings. Perfect for colour drenching (where walls, woodwork, metal & Ceiling are all the same colour) this is a new move for F&B.

Boasting just a 2% sheen level, but with a durable, washable finish, this is what Farrow and Ball customers have been asking for for years. However its important to remember 2 things,


  1. Dead flat is NOT recommended for using in kitchens and bathrooms -  this will remain as Modern Emulsion
  2. Darker colours WILL show a sheen level higher than light colours! For example Studio Green will show a higher sheen level than Pointing, please take this into account before use.


This paint is also at a higher price point - along the same lines as the Estate Eggshell. However if you are planning to colour drench a room, it will work out cheaper then buying emulsion and eggshell separately. So this product could end up saving you money! Its available in all F&B colours and 3 different sizes. Finally we have a 750ml option in a Dead Flat hard wearing emulsion. So no more having to but a 2.5ltr to finish off a small area! This new paint has been a long tine coming from the UK's best designer paint and wallpaper brand, the colours are superb, and so is the offering of products. Not to mention the primers and undercoats have been improved and simplified as well. 

Dead Flatt is available and in stock at designerpaintstore.com.

Order now Farrow and Ball Dead Flat


W McNeice








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