A breath of fresh air: eco-friendly paint for your home
There’s nothing quite like opening a window and feeling a cool breeze flow through a room. Fresh, clean indoor air is one of the most important features of an eco-friendly home. With a newly painted room we quickly reach for the window latch to get some clean air flowing through. And rightly so, many paints pose health hazards for you, your family and the environment.
But why are some paints so harmful? Many paints contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are a group of chemicals that evaporate easily at room temperature. When these VOCs emit gas, the movement can last for weeks, and depending on the type of paint, they may cause a variety of health problems. Paints also contain toxic fungicides to prevent mildew growth, and biocides, which are used as preservatives to extend the full shelf life. Toxic biocides can be detected in the air even five years after the paint has been applied. Also pigments can be harmful; some of the toxic chemicals in paints come from the substances used to color them.
When we were preparing to sell our house in London we didn’t want to renovate the kitchen, but we did want to make it feel lighter and more presentable. We decided to get our kitchen cabinets repainted from a horrible 90’s laminate pine to a matte white. It was perfect to make our small kitchen brighter and more inviting to potential buyers. Our decorator recommended a child safe Intelligent Eggshell Paint from The Little Greene Paint Company. This kind of paint is perfectly designed to withstand the wear and tear of modern family living as well as being certified as child safe under the Toy Paint Regulations. If it was good enough for children’s toys, it was good enough for me.
So next time you are thinking of renovating a room or a piece of furniture, or even your whole house, why not choose less-toxic paints or stains? What better way to ensure you are breathing clean indoor air while preserving the earth. When you are researching paint look out for these three things; low VOCs, low biocides, and natural pigments. No matter which type of interior paint you use, it’s best to keep the room well-ventilated. Never use old paint that may contain lead. Lead-based paints are extremely toxic, especially to pets or children. If you think that your home may contain lead-based paint, call a certified professional to inspect and, if needed, remove the paint.
Here’s my favourite selection of eco-friendly paints.
- Auro Paints is one of the leading manufacturers of natural paints. They are 100% solvent free and use a range of plant materials in their ingredients. Their Green Matt Silk Paint No.260-65 is perfect for wood, stone and metal fittings.
- Unearthed Paints are natural, eco-friendly, and 100% voc-free made with ingredients such as clay, marble, lime, and chalk. Their Vega paint is mostly composed of Italian marble. Pigments can be added to Vega Paint as well to achieve your own personal colors. Their Vibrant Yellow reminds me of Daffodils.
- Benjamin Moore’s Natura Interior Paint- Eggshell is now certified asthma and allergy friendly with Zero VOC’s. It is available in thousands of colors but my favourite has to be Florida Keys Blue 2050-40 as it is so reminiscent of sunny days by the ocean.
- Colorhouse Paint not only is incredibly eco-friendly but they use recyclable containers and have renewable energy at their HQ. Their Colour of Hope Collection is perfect for Spring to bring some zing to any decorating project.
- The Real Milk Paint Company’s products are made from natural materials that are earth safe. This means their non-toxic paint can be safely disposed of right in your own backyard. It is perfect match applied to raw wood or unsealed walls or wall board. I particularly love their Stillwater Cove Gray; it would be perfect lift to wooden patio furniture.
We’d love to hear more about your painting projects and any other eco-friendly paints that you have used. And if you’re just at the beginning of a redecorating project and you’re not sure what shade to pick, please get in touch, we’d be happy to help.