This summer, London’s iconic National Portrait Gallery has become the latest institution to bring its walls to life with signature shades from Farrow & Ball.
To celebrate, the brand’s colour experts are sharing their advice on bringing personality to public spaces, inspired by tips and tricks used in the gallery’s transformation.
Whether you’re giving your foyer a facelift, embarking on a full-scale renovation of rooms, or simply looking to add some flow between spaces, these simple tidbits have practically endless applications.
Keep a consistent neutral
In the National Portrait Gallery, Dove Tale forms the neutral “spine” that runs the length of the building, acting as a complementary white for the stronger colours in the rooms that branch off it.
This tip works wonders in a hotel setting, too. Keeping a neutral corridor with darker-coloured guest rooms can help the latter spaces feel especially cosy. In a stronger-coloured scheme, keeping to one neutral on skirtings and ceilings is also a great way to create an effortless flow between spaces.
Draw from what you have
Use the pieces you already own and love to inform your new wall colour – a simple yet striking way to create a cohesive scheme. In the National Portrait Gallery, Green Smoke was chosen for a room housing a portrait of the Brontë sisters, which features similarly earthy tones.
Start with a Neutrals Group
If you’re unsure where to start, try looking at the six Farrow & Ball Neutral Groups and seeing which one you’re most drawn to. From there, you can either look for colours that share the same undertone, or simply mix and match the shades within the group for an easy breezy look.
Cornforth White and Ammonite, both from the Relaxed Neutrals group, have been used in various places throughout the gallery for a subtly connected palette.
Light Gray has been used inside the gallery for subtle nod to the colour of its famous exterior. If your property is made from distinctive masonry, local stone or timeless red brick, consider looking to the stonework (or even the pointing) for a subtle and elegant scheme that will make your guests feel right at home the moment they step through the door.
“Layering” two tones from the same family is a great way to create a subtle change of atmosphere between spaces and a different identity for each room, while still making it feel part of a cohesive whole. In the National Portrait Gallery, this has been achieved with the consecutive use of Charleston Gray and London Clay, two rich and elegant neutral shades to suit any space.