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10 Easy Pieces: Best Everyday Paints

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10 Easy Pieces: Best Everyday Paints

March 1, 2023

The eco-ish 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 here offer large painted color cards and/or small sample pots, a low-waste way to test the color in your space. For a list of limewash, chalk, and other latex-alternative paints that are entirely eco-friendly, see the directory section of our new book Remodelista: The Low-Impact Home.

 little greene is located on the outskirts of manchester and known fo 12
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.
clare specializes in zero voc paints in a wide range of colors. 13
Above: Clare specializes in zero-VOC paints in a wide range of colors.
mythic paint is a nontoxic, ultra low odor paint that provides the durability a 14
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 VOCs or toxins (which can continue to be released into the air for years after application). It’s made by Auro, a German company that now distributes in the US.
paints by the hackney draper come in an eco emulsion formula that is water base 15
Above: Paints by 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.
backdrop offers low voc paint that is green wise and climate neutral certified. 16
Above: Backdrop offers low-VOC paint that is Green Wise and Climate Neutral Certified.
for exterior or interior woodwork, consider eco by fine paints of europe, an am 17
Above: For exterior or interior woodwork, consider Eco by Fine Paints of Europe, an American-based company that makes its paints in Holland.
years ago, farrow & ball moved its paint to a water based formula, signific 18
Above: 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.
natural paint company atelier ellis, by colorist and designer cassandra ellis,  19
Above: Natural paint company Atelier Ellis, by colorist and designer Cassandra Ellis, makes natural paints in a range of unique colors. For more, read our post “Take a Walk to My House”: A New Paint Collection from Atelier Ellis.
after benjamin moore phased out its natura line, the eco spec line was introduc 20
Above: After Benjamin Moore phased out its Natura line, the Eco Spec line was introduced as its replacement. Tinted with zero-VOC colorant, the paint is Green Seal Certified.
another small, eco friendly paint company, earthborn, has developed claypa 21
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.
 ecos organic paints are water based and free of all solvents, vocs, and t 22
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.

Need advice selecting paint shades? See our posts:

N.B.: This post was originally published on January 28, 2009. We have updated it with new and additional product selections and current pricing.

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