Published on December 4, 2019

Usually, when people recommend you paint with “nature-inspired” colors, the colors in question are, well, repetitive, with an overwhelming emphasis on green. What they don’t usually include are hot pinks and mustard yellows or royal purples and dusky mauves—and that’s precisely what makes Farrow & Ball’s latest collection so exciting. 

In partnership with the Natural History Museum in London, the company just released 16 brand-new hues. The palette is inspired by Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours, a tome in the institution’s rare book library referenced by Charles Darwin in his work. In keeping with the theme, each paint is blended with an eco-friendly water base, making it safer to use at home than its chemical-laden counterparts, and far more sustainable.

We got a chance to see the colors in action this morning, at design firm Roman and Williams‘s restaurant-shop the Guild in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. If you’re NYC-based, you can check out the palette there; if not, all the hues are available for purchase on Farrow & Ball’s website. We were curious: How would Roman and Williams’s principals, Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch, decorate with F&B’s latest launch? Naturally, their ideas didn’t disappoint. 

If you need an exact formula… 

Start with Scotch Blue, the duo’s favorite almost-neutral from the line. “If you look at it on paper, it’s intimidating. But when you look at it in three dimensions, it’s really rich—it has so much reflectivity,” says Standefer.  First, cover the walls in a simple hue, like Orange-Coloured White (also from the collection), then Standefer recommends using the rich navy on trims and door casings in a high-gloss finish. 

For some drama, put Broccoli Brown on the ceiling. “I like darker ceilings, but we’re moving away from black,” adds Alesch. “We were obsessed with that for a decade. It ran its course.”

If you want to make over your bedroom… 

“It has to be something dark and bold!” says Alesch. The pair’s pick: Ultra Marine Blue. “Picture you’ve got candles going in a dark bedroom,” he continues. “You’re half awake in the middle of the night, surrounded by a rich color. It puts you in such a dream state; as opposed to a white room, where you wake up and it gives you insomnia.” According to the designers, these medium tones create a sense of serenity, so if you’ve been having trouble sleeping, it’s worth a try. 

If you’ve been waiting to go bold…

Use a vibrant hue such as Lake Red—and not necessarily on your walls. Alesch recommends taking a vintage piece of wood furniture and dunking it in the color. “It makes you nervous because it’s this gorgeous antique, but when you just dip it, it modernizes it,” he explains. Standefer says that they do this with everything, ranging from vases to beach rocks, for an unexpected pop. Any way you style it, a hot pink object is an instant statement.

See more paint ideas:
No One Will Guess You’re a Rookie Painter If You Follow These Tips
For This French Interior Architect, Paint Belongs Everywhere But the Walls
You Don’t Need to Be an Artist to DIY This Color-Blocked Mural

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