A while ago, I posted up some images on my Facebook page of various paint brand samples and their relative depths of coverage. Suffice to say, one very popular brand did not come off well! Many of us tend to have a brand we revert back to, whether due to cost, reputation or past experience but there also seems to be a lot of smoke and mirrors involved — for example, some brands heavily push their green credentials (when in fact all paint manufacturers in the UK have to adhere to EU legislation on VOC emissions) or their heritage (not sure the walls care how long the paint company has been around). So, having played around with many paint brands, here's my experience to take or ignore as you choose! By the way, I don't have any relationships with or receive any benefits from these companies
Little Greene: Nine times out of ten, this is the paint brand I will turn to for both myself and my client projects. The colour range is fantastic, including their Colour Scales range, which allows easy tonal shading across different surfaces, the depth of coverage is excellent (see that Facebook page test I mentioned earlier) and the consistency between testers and full size cans is also good. The Intelligent Matt emulsion is family-friendly (i.e. washable!) while still being genuinely matt and they continue to produce an oil-based eggshell, which is easy to work with and vastly more resilient than any water-based variety.
Mylands: Less well known, as it started out as a supplier to the film and theatre industry, but readily available through decorators' centres. They have the Royal Warrant, so if it's good enough for the Queen... Mylands paints also give excellent coverage and their paints have a chalky/powdery finish. Their water-based eggshell is pretty much the only one with any resilience, in my experience. They don't provide tonal scales of colour though.
Valspar: A relative newcomer in the UK but readily available to most as it is stocked in branches of B&Q. The colour matching service is extremely good and the emulsion gives good results if you opt for the premium version. It does tend to separate quickly though so requires a really thorough shaking before use. As with many other non-premium brands, the only eggshell option is water-based, which is does impact on performance and durability in my experience.
Farrow & Ball: I know there are many people who will only use Farrow & Ball paints. Suffice to say, I'm not one of them and can only assume the fans have not done side-by-side comparisons with with other premium brands such as Little Greene, Mylands, Zoffany, etc. I know they have beautiful colours and wonderfully evocative names but there is a close equivalent to be found elsewhere for most of their range and the name tends to be irrelevant once the initial decision has been made! My experience: the Estate Emulsion is much thinner than its peers and marks easily, the Modern Emulsion is not as washable as would suit most families and requires expertise to achieve a good finish, and the wood and metal finishes are extremely fragile, particularly if you are not prepared to take the wood back to a bare finish and work your way up using only F&B's own primers. I have yet to find a decorator who likes working with it. There are many technical reasons why decorators find F&B paints trickier to work with, which are explored in detail on https://traditionalpainter.com/
Zoffany: Not one I use regularly as most often there will be a suitable option within the Little Greene or Mylands range. But good quality paint with a similar price point to Little Greene. Many of their colours come in a quarter / half / double concentration, making tonal schemes much easier and their paints co-ordinate with their range of wallpapers, so may be a useful check if you're struggling to find a match.
Sanderson: A sister company to Zoffany and similar comments apply. They have a key range of shades then their Spectrum range expands this tonally to 1352 colours. I've read that Sanderson are currently changing the way their paints are manufactured and distributed, which may have an impact on formulation and application.
Fired Earth: Another brand I'm not so keen on, unfortunately (and not just the paint, but that's a different story!)! I have found the emulsion to mark easily, particularly with water- not that helpful if you wish to clean it - and that I couldn't get a particularly smooth result with the eggshell.
Craig & Rose: Again, some beautiful colours and a long heritage. I personally don't like the smell and find the paint marks easily (although they have brought out a Superior range which may overcome this). I've also had a couple of issues where the paint looks rather different once covering the whole room. On the plus side, they have some really interesting specialist formulations, such as metallic and pearlised finishes. Craig & Rose supply A5 colour swatches as well as tester pots, but these are printed rather than made with the actual paint, so I don't find them useful for conveying what the wall will look like, as the sheen level and texture is different.
Paint & Paper Library: this range is now owned by Little Greene, and I'm not sure if the formulation has changed as a result. When I last used it, I found it very thick and creamy (which I liked, but not all will) and the result was extremely chalky. At the higher end of the price spectrum. Colours are very well scaled and the paint chart is designed to make co-ordinating colours very easy.
Any brands I've failed to mention? Almost certainly! And the reviews above are based purely on my personal experiences and those of the decorators I work with. But hopefully this gives you a steer if you're not sure which brand to go for. Little Greene, in case you're still in any doubt!