You need to choose a paint colour; what do you do? Ask your friends which colour they have just used and go with that ... we are all guilty of using what we know. I on the other hand am a huge believer in thinking outside the box; there are so many different paints available and eco paints are starting to lead the way. They are improving all the time and producing wonderful alternatives to the big brands and helping to lead us into a more sustainable future.
What does 'Eco' mean though and what are the best non toxic and ethical paints out there at the moment?
The World Health Organisation reported that professional decorators are 40% more likely to contract lung cancer and non eco paints are linked to numerous health problems such as respiratory problems, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, skin disorders and eye irritation. Not only are toxic paint fumes damaging to our health but also that of the environment, this is down to the level of VOC's that are let off into the atmosphere.
VOC (volatile organic compound) level is what we are looking at when you want to see how natural and non toxic a paint is. Non toxic paints are often called low VOC, No-VOC, VOC free, odourless, odour free and green, natural or organic. Natural paints are the only true non toxic paint as they contain the lowest VOC's and are made from natural ingredients such as water, vegetable and plant dye and natural minerals.
VOC's are a contribution to the greenhouse effect and can cause global warming. When VOC's react with Oxygen they can form bad ozone in the presence of sunlight, therefore adding to our worrying level of global warming.
If we all do our bit and buy low VOC paint we can help to bring down the level of VOC's let off into the environment.
Most paint suppliers now such as Little Greene, Farrow and Ball, Fired Earth and Designers Guild have water based emulsions which are low in VOC's and claim to be child safe. Oil based paints tend to be higher in VOC's however; watch out for this and ask what % they create if in doubt. Designers Guild paints are great and they supply oil-based paints for joinery etc that have been formulated using sustainable vegetable oils, to dramatically reduce VOC content and odour.
Some suppliers go that little bit further though and produce paint with virtually no VOC's, below are my three top rated.
Konig Colours are water based and non hazardous, very low in VOC's and heavy metal free. The founders of this paint range are interior designers Jasper and Vanessa Galloway from Konig Design. The colours are deep and rich in colour and I particularly like their range of pinks and yellows which can more often than not be very sickly-sweet. Available through Nina Campbell on Walton Street, SW3 www.shop.ninacampbell.com
One thing to note when working with a natural paint such as this, the final outcome may vary, to me and others that is part of the beauty.
This paint comes in a great range of 'Swedish' colours; full of depth and character. My favourite colours are the 'Antique Bleu' and the 'San Saccaria' from booklet 1 below. The Summer range also shown below has beautiful warmer colours.
Please if you would like any more information on this or anything else to do with your home please do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be more than happy to help. Have a lovely bank holiday weekend.