No longer does “going green” mean a sacrifice in paint or color quality. The eco-friendly paint market has grown and evolved: The paints we feature here perform like premium conventional paints (offering good coverage, vibrant colors, durability, and longevity) but without harmful odors, chemicals, or added solvents. One tip: Look for products that are low- or no-VOC in both the paint
and the colorant. (For more on this, see Remodeling 101: All You Need to Know About VOCs in Paint.)
Most of the brands featured offer large, painted color cards and/or small sample pots, a low-waste way to test the color in your space.
Above: Several years ago Farrow & Ball moved its paint to a water-based formula, significantly reducing the solvents in its products to low- and zero-VOC. Colors are derived from natural pigments, as well as other natural ingredients such as china clay, lime putty, and linseed oil. And the company doesn’t use harmful ingredients such as ammonia or formaldehyde. The price for a standard gallon of Farrow & Ball Paint is $95 from Farrow & Ball. Above: Mythic Paint is a nontoxic, ultra-low-odor paint that provides the durability and coverage you’d expect from a premium paint, without emitting the VOCs or toxins that can continue to be released into the air for years after application. Made by Auro, a German company that now distributes in the US, Flat Mythic Paint is $59.99 per gallon at Sustain Eco Store. Above: C2 LoVo Paint is a premium, nontoxic, low-VOC paint with infinite color options. The only pigment system in the United States to use European colorants, C2 Paint can be customized in any color. Above: For exterior or interior woodwork, consider Eco by Fine Paints of Europe, an American-based company that makes its paints in Holland. The Eco Satin Paint is $60 per liter from Fine Paints of Europe.
Above: A new line of paints from the Hackney Draper come in an Eco Emulsion formula that is water-based, breathable, and eco-friendly. For more on the paints, see our post Hand-Mixed Eco Paints from the Hackney Draper in London. Above: Ecos Organic Paints are water-based and free of all solvents, VOCs, and toxins. When the Louvre had some touching up to do on walls near the Mona Lisa, Ecos was selected. Odor- and fume-free, the brand has also been singled out as ideal for allergy sufferers. Ecos Organic Paints are available online in the United Kingdom and in the United States. Above: Returning to methods used before the advent of petrochemicals, Ecotrend Collagen Paint is a no-VOC, odorless paint that uses collagen (eggshell lining recovered from commercial bakery waste eggshells) as the paint’s binder. It is rated very high in coverage. Above: Konig Paints by Vanessa Galloway has a line of eco-friendly paints that are water-based and, the designers say, “very low in VOCs and heavy-metal free.” For more on the line, see our post A New Line of Eco Paints from England’s First Family of Design. Above: Portland, Oregon’s Yolo Colorhouse offers premium no-VOC interior and exterior paints with a user-friendly color palette. Above: Devine Color is an Oregon company founded by artist Gretchen Schauffler. The paint is low odor and meets the strictest green standards, requires only one coat, and creates a luminous surface. We especially like the Northwest-inspired palette. Devine Delicate Wall Finish is $59.95 from Devine Color. Above: Little Greene is located on the outskirts of Manchester and known for the paint’s complex pigmentation that provides character, definition, and depth of color. The company’s water-based paints have a low-VOC rating, and its oil-based paints are made with sustainable vegetable oil. Above: Old-Fashioned Milk Paint is a historic paint formula that uses casein (milk protein) as a binder. Both organic and biodegradable, Milk Paint is a zero-VOC milk paint designed for use on walls. Milk Paint is environmentally safe and nontoxic (there is a slight milky odor when it is applied, but it is completely odorless when dry). Above: Natura Paint is Benjamin Moore’s zero-VOC, nontoxic, most environmentally sensitive paint offering. The waterborne paint is available in all Benjamin Moore colors.
Above: Another small, eco-friendly paint company, Earthborn, has developed Claypaint, a special clay-based formula with an ultra-matte finish that absorbs and softens the light in the room. Earthborn paint is available only in Europe.
Need advice selecting paint shades? See our posts:
10 Happiness-Inducing Paint Colors, Architects’ White Paint Picks, and Architects’ Moody Paint Picks. And for even more possibilities, peruse our Palettes & Paints section.
N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on January 28, 2009.