Why your first step to decorating could be the most harmful

When I was younger I used to change the colour of my room every few years, whether it be from a bright funky pink or to a deep and dark purple. The new colour would transform my bedroom from old to new in just a few coats but the smell of paint left me feeling lightheaded and dizzy. It was only several years later that I learned about why paint made me feel this way. It turns out that the smell of paint actually comes from a harmful mixture of solvents, pigments and binders called VOC’s.

Volatile Organic Compounds are harmful to you and the environment because once paint is applied to your walls it continues to omit chemicals into the atmosphere. Typical household paint can contain up to 10,000 chemicals, that is a lot of paint pollution in your home for a long duration of time. It can also be the cause of various health issues including breathing problems, asthma and cancer, as well as contributing to global warming.

Its a satisfying feeling to redecorate but it is important that when we start projects in our home we take into account the impact it can have on our health and our living space. When searching for paint look for low or no VOC, water-based or natural occurring materials like chalk, clay or lime stucco.

Listed below are a few brands that offer safe alternatives for your home.


Known for?
High clay content.

Why choose them?
With up to 35% clay content, no VOCs and no smell it gives their paint a creamy consistency and results in its distinctive totally flat matt finish. They also have a harder wearing Lifestyle emulsion or EcoChic which is designed especially for furniture.

My colour of choice
Polka Dot

Annie Sloan

Known for?
Decorative chalk paint.

Why choose them?
The chalk paint is especially designed for furniture but there is a water-based alternative used for walls with a great choice of colours . The paint can also be thinned with more water and used as a wash.

My choice of colour
Graphite (Pictured above)

Farrow & Ball

Known for?
On-trend colours.

Why should I choose them?
Popular among designers and decorators for their copious choice of colours. Big on tackling their environmental impact they also recycle almost 100% of their dry and liquid waste.

My choice of colour
Dead Salmon (Pictured above)

Little Greene

Known for?
English heritage period colours.

Why should I chose them?
Their water-based paint has virtually zero VOC and the oil based paint has been reformulated using sustainable vegetable oils. Plus all of their paint is manufactured in the UK.

My choice of colour

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