I know, I know. That last Ombre post has you itching to start your next home project this weekend, doesn’t it? Or perhaps you’re going to avoid the NATO nonsense by secluding yourself in your apartment and giving the walls a once over. Before you run to the nearest Home Depot….Hold Up! Don’t buy any old paint to help you with your project. This is a sustainable design blog, so I’m going to lay down the Eco info on all ya’ll. Let’s work on your “Green” cred.
According to the EPA, the air we breathe indoors is far worse than the air we breathe in outdoors. Hard to believe here in the city, but it’s true. Paints and other finishes consistently release toxics, even years after application. So you’re thinking “Crap, there’s no way to escape the polluted air??” Oh, it doesn’t stop there, dear reader. It also affects our water. When you wash your paintbrushes after use, all that toxic paint is swept into our drainage systems, seeping into our groundwater, and then makes it way into our bodies! Blech! Now that I have you utterly paranoid, I can tell you there is a beacon of light here. Because of new regulations, VOCs, a compound that was once regarded as an essential in paint bonding, has now been decreased or absent in most paint brands. We now have several new, healthier paint options to choose from. Keep an eye on the following when purchasing your paint:
Low Vocs – These paints has a water base instead of a petroleum base and carry little to no levels of heavy metals or formaldehyde. They still release an odor until dry, so if you’re extremely sensitive you should consider the other 2 options.
No Vocs – Paint in the range of 5 grams or less VOC’s can be considered “No VOCS” Keep an eye out, though. Some companies claim to have no VOC’s but they may use colorants, biocides, and fungicides that transmit VOCs into the space.
Natural– Au naturale, baby! The safest for both the environment and you! The main components in natural paints are natural raw ingredients such as water, plant oils, bees-wax, earth and mineral dyes. The water bases typical have no smell and the oil base paints typical give off a citrus-y aroma. Yummy! Unearthed Paints and EcoDesign’s Bioshield have great color selections and are a couple of the more legit natural paint suppliers.
One of my favorite, local paint stores in Chicago is Colori, the cutest little paint boutique in Bucktown! The owner and self-proclaimed color therapist, Michelle Quaranta, is passionate about color and eco-friendly paint selections for her customers. She carries Mythic paint which exceeds the VOCs standards and comes in a beautiful array of colors. So if you’re design savvy, drop by her store to explore all the different options. Totally clueless? No worries! Michelle is more than happy to help her customers find a selection that best suits them. Check out some of her work…