No. 31


Modern Emulsion

Railings is rated 4.7 out of 5 by 30.
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75 Years of Perfecting Paint
  • Handcrafted in Dorset
  • Free delivery on orders over £100

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Modern Emulsion

More blue than black, this colour is a softer alternative to black, especially when used on ironwork, hence the name.  

Modern Emulsion is our super-tough, easy to clean finish for interior walls and ceilings. Washable and protected against mould, it’s the best choice for kitchens and bathrooms.


Complementary white: Blackened

Key features



Modern Emulsion is a beautiful, durable matt finish with 7% sheen.

Our deeper, richer colours are available in a range of finishes with different sheen levels. Sheen always affects how colour appears: the same shade in gloss can look very different in matt. That’s why we specifically adjust the formula for every finish to make sure the balance is exactly right and you get the colour you were expecting. Our colours and finishes are formulated together, so you simply can’t have one without the other.

For interior walls and ceilings

For interior walls and ceilings

Modern Emulsion is our super-tough, matt finish for interior walls and ceilings. 

From walls, floors and furniture to radiators, skirtings and sheds, our range of paint finishes can help you transform almost any surface in your home (and outside it, too). Browse our full selection of finishes to find the perfect paint for your project.

Best choice for kitchens and bathrooms

Best choice for kitchens and bathrooms

Our expert chemists add a preservative to Modern Emulsion that protects it from mould, keeping moisture-prone kitchens and bathrooms looking fresh. So, although it makes a wonderful addition to every room of your home, it’s the best finish option for these steamy spaces in particular. 

Tough and easy-to-clean

Tough and easy-to-clean

Our super-tough superstar for washable walls, Modern Emulsion has a high-performance formula that makes it easy to wipe away spills and marks – not paint. We use high-quality minerals and strong binders to make sure it’s also resistant to knocks and scrapes. 

100% water based

100% water based

We’re proud to have been the first in the industry to transition to a completely water based range back in 2010. As a result, all of our finishes, including our tough trim and floor paints, are made with a low-odour, low-VOC water base that scores A+ for indoor air quality. 
Plus, our water based paint doesn’t discolour over time like solvent based paints can. So your spaces stay beautiful for longer.

Toy safe

Toy safe

This finish is independently tested and certified toy-safe in accordance with Safety of Toys Part 3: Migration of certain elements (EN 71-3:2019+A1:2021). That means you can and a splash of colour to toys, cribs and other surfaces little ones come into contact with. Our paints also have hardly any odour and don’t need any solvents to clean up, so you can breathe easy during application and beyond. 

75 Years of Perfecting Paint

If you've ever wondered what it is that makes Farrow & Ball so special, you'll find the answers here.

From our high-quality ingredients to our artisanal methods, our 100% water based range of finishes and responsible practices, it's about so much more than just paint and paper.

Complementary White

Complementary white: BlackenedComplementary white: Blackened


Our coolest white, with the slightest hint of grey, Blackened sits perfectly with each of our Architectural Neutrals for a minimal look or stronger industrial feel.
Find out more about Blackened No.2011

Every colour in the Farrow & Ball palette is paired with a specific shade of white, these are selected to celebrate a shared undertone and create harmonious spaces alongside your chosen colour.

Recommended Primer & Undercoat

Recommended Primer & Undercoat

Primers & UndercoatPrimers & Undercoat

Dark Tones

When it comes to using dark colours, the deeper the better. So, for an irresistibly inviting finished look, pair darker shades with our Dark Tones Primer & Undercoat. Based on the colour of Down Pipe, combining this primer with your topcoat creates an unrivalled richness and makes quite the statement.

Made with the same natural ingredients and pigments as our topcoats, our Primer & Undercoat is the crucial foundation for creating a rich, even and longer lasting finish.

Colour Schemes

accent Colour Pavilion Gray
trim Colour Manor House Gray
accent Colour Kittiwake
trim Colour Light Blue
accent Colour Blackened
trim Colour Dimpse

Inspiration for your project

Kitchen Ideas

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Bedroom Ideas

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Living Room Ideas

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Bathroom Ideas

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Exterior Ideas

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Hallway Ideas

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Dining Room Ideas

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Study Ideas

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Children's Room Ideas

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Nursery Ideas

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Sample Our Favourites

The best way to experience our colours before taking the plunge is with a true-to-colour paint sample. To help you narrow down your shortlist of shades, we've curated three of our most popular shades to help you find your perfect match.

Sample selection contains 3 x 100ml Sample Pots of our beautiful Hopper Head, Off-Black and Pitch Black.

Colour Consultancy

Our expert Colour Consultants are ready and waiting to help bring your style to life. If you’d like personalised advice on how to use our paint and papers in your home, book an in-home or virtual appointment today.

View All Black Paint Colours

Far from dark and dreary, black paint creates intimate, inviting and thoroughly sophisticated spaces to escape to at the end of a long day. Go bold and take it all over or simply add a touch to your trim.


Black Paint Colours

Discover Black Paint Schemes

Find inspiration for your project and view beautiful images of black paint schemes in real homes.

Black Paint Schemes


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Railings . Love this with stripped pine doors and brass fittings on the architraves and skirtings and the stairs… looking fabulous.
Date published: 2024-04-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Just perfect! I was recommended Railings for our staircase by Farrow and Ball’s paint consultant and so glad we followed it. It’s a dramatic but warming colour which has enabled our Edwardian staircase to take centre stage. We partnered it with Shaded White in the hallway but it complements our Drop Cloth painted sliding doors too.
Date published: 2024-04-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love this color This color is beautiful. I am so happy with it. My kitchen cabinets look great!
Date published: 2024-04-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Railings, exterior accent color. Always thrilled when I need paint from F&B. A long long time user and Railings is frequently my go to color for exterior accent shutters, benches even flower pots!
Date published: 2024-03-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful Paint Using modern eggshell to paint wardrobe and drawers. It is such a pleasure to use,it practically puts itself on! The colour and finish are perfect.
Date published: 2024-01-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love Railings I used the exterior matte on my front door. I also plan on painting my shutters with this color. Railings is an awesome classic color that runs between navy blue and black. I did have to put on an extra coat in order to get a smooth finish on the door. I did the last coat with a roller which looked much better than when I used a brush all over (my bad). So I recommend a roller for all large flat surfaces particularly when using the matte finish.
Date published: 2023-11-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fabulous all rounder Excellent finish and especially like the flexibility of using on wood and radiators.
Date published: 2023-10-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Used as accent colour and love the look Used on banister and skirting in the hallway and love the depth of colour and the striking look. Have paired with ammonite on the walls and hardwick white on panels. Highly recommend! Find me on instagram #yasmininteriorhome
Date published: 2023-09-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Service Railings sample pot purchased , easy ordering and extremely quick delivery
Date published: 2023-07-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fabulous Fabulous experience with dead flat, no brush strokes, dries quickly and resistant to heavy wear and tear
Date published: 2023-07-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A complex black but not black Usually my go to colour is Off Black but I wanted dark but not quite as dark, and this was perfect. Even with the blue tone, it is warm and sumptuous . Modern emulsion was perfect for our kitchen
Date published: 2023-07-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Railings sash window makeover Love this colour, we've used it on our sash windows and it looks amazing, really lifted the windows. Went on beautifully.
Date published: 2023-07-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Rich and modern We redid out bedroom and used Great White on the walls but put Railings on the accent wall, behind the bed. The trim is in Railings full gloss. It is stunning. The dark primer is a must to pull off the richness and density of this amazing color. Don't skimp on the prep. We have a south facing bedroom with sunshine all day. The Great White sometimes looks gray, off white with a hint of pink, and soft neutral white. It has so many personalities which is why this paint is worth every penny. It's as if it's a dynamic, living thing in your room. Always changing. It's stunning.
Date published: 2023-06-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great paint Love the colour and quality of this paint. Great finish and easy to use.
Date published: 2023-06-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from First experience with Dead flat Great coverage! Was good to use the same paint on three different surfaces!
Date published: 2023-06-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Railings didn’t disappoint I have been drawn to pictures of Railings for years, was I brave enough to embrace the dark side. It turns out my daughter is, we painted panelling, ceiling and skirtings in Dead Flat and I really love it
Date published: 2023-06-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great colour nice Matt surface Nice colour and nice really Matt surface is really nice - paint goes well on both plaster and wood
Date published: 2023-06-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Railings Railings is a strong colour and I have it throughout my house. In this photo it’s is used on door frame but ceiling is downpipe.
Date published: 2023-05-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Live it Went from light colours to railings. Love the end result
Date published: 2023-03-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I really nice rich blue/black I've been decorating my living room recently and after get some inspiration from the farrow and ball videos on Instagram I decided to paint my wood work in railings. It was a little bit scary to begin with but definitely the right choice, its really pulled the room together. I also painted the radiator, the fireplace and did a boarder around the room on the floorboards in railings. I'm really pleased with how it's turned out.
Date published: 2022-09-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful deep blue When it goes up it reads black but when done you’ll see the darkest blue. Used it for walls in living room and trim in entry. Used far less paint than other brands for same coverage.
Date published: 2022-09-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from More black than blue Would have liked a little more blue in it, came out very black.
Date published: 2024-05-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful Color! Finish Marks Easily. We wanted to try out this brand to see if the reviews only met our expectations vs. a big box brand. Overall the finish is beautiful; there is a noticeable difference in our estate emulsion product vs. others we have used. I'm not sure if it will fade more overtime, but the it was easy to see the lapping effect after 3 coats even though it was rolled as quickly as we could. I definitely recommend spraying it if at all possible. The one note I'm dissappointed with is an area I brushed up against with my pants. That area had a noticeable darker effect from the contact, and then when I tried to remove it, it just made the entire area worse. I'm not sure how to correct it without repainting that section. All in all, I'd try another color again, but need to be careful that it isn't in a room the wall would be in contact with anything like pets or children, otherwise I'd be afraid it would look horrible over time.
Date published: 2023-11-27
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Dry's different shades The Paint Dry's different shades where the edges are cut in to the rolled areas. Dose not touch up well. Must paint full walls again. which means buying more paint.
Date published: 2024-03-26
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Dead Flat is not a matte finish Love the colour, but the dead flat finish is definitely not a matte finish, it is closer to an eggshell. Probably about 10-15% sheen. I’m really disappointed. If I’d known I would have saved the money and gone with a cheaper Benjamin Moore paint.
Date published: 2023-05-24

Product information

Water Based and Toy Safe

Back in 2010, we moved to an entirely water based range of finishes, becoming the first in the industry to do so. These low-odour, low-VOC finishes are easy to clean without harmful solvents. They are also certified child- and baby-safe in accordance with Safety of Toys Part 3: Migration of certain elements (EN 71-3:2019+A1:2021).

Exclusions: Casein Distemper, Wood Primer & Undercoat and Metal Primer & Undercoat. 

Quality Finishes

Every one of our paint colours is available in a range of durable interior and exterior paint finishes, each rigorously tested to ensure an exceptional depth of colour and long-lasting finish. For the very best results, we always recommend using a Farrow & Ball Primer & Undercoat - see above for the correct tone for this colour.

Safety Information

Always read and follow the information on the product label.

All Farrow & Ball finishes except Limewash contain isothiazolinones, which may produce an allergic reaction. Farrow & Ball Limewash contains calcium hydroxide which can cause severe damage in contact with skin or eyes. For further information about our products, including guidance on safe use and application, click here to view our advice pages.

Limewash: Danger. Causes skin irritation. Causes serious eye damage. May cause respiratory irritation. 

Exterior Eggshell and Exterior Masonry: Harmful to aquatic life with long lasting effects. Contains isothiazolinones. May produce an allergic reaction.

All other finishes: Contains isothiazolinones. May produce an allergic reaction.

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