Paint Finishes That Are Better For You And Better For The Environment

February 6th, 2024

Finding ways to live a greener life is important to all of us, but have you ever thought about how to make more conscious paint choices?

Photo courtesy of Earthborn. Colour, Freckle.

Brewers stock a wide range of brands that have taken this into consideration. With low VOCs and a careful curation of ingredients, certain finishes can improve air quality and meet toy safety standards, which is better decorating for the whole family.

Photos courtesy of Little Greene. Colours, Attic II, Sky Blue and Citrine.

Why choose low VOC paint?

VOCs stand for Volatile Organic Compounds. These are chemicals mainly found in solvent based paints and coatings to help increase flow, application and drying time. 

Photo courtesy of Mylands. Colour, Primrose Hill.

Once applied, the VOCs evaporate, and this can affect air quality. Many water-based formulations on the market are now low on VOC and along with advancements in technology, it means that these paints can perform to the highest standards. Using these paints are a healthier choice and are much better for the environment. If you or your client are sensitive to air quality, it is important to be aware of VOC content before you decide which paint is best for your project.

Photos courtesy of Benjamin Moore. Colours, October Mist (left) and Hibiscus (right).

Finding your finish

Find the perfect finish from the following brands that is low VOC content. Be sure to check a product’s technical data sheet for more VOC information.

·       Little Greene

·       Farrow & Ball

·       Earthborn

·       Benjamin Moore

·       Water-based finishes from Albany, Crown, Dulux and Johnstone’s

Photo courtesy of Albany. Colour, Jevington.

‘Toy Safe’ paint

If you or your client has little ones, make sure a finish is ‘Toy Safe’. You will want to use a durable paint, but you might also wish it to be certified under Toy Safety Standard EN71:3 (2019) which is about the prevention of migration of certain elements. For peace of mind, it’s recommended that furniture paint used on cots, beds or toys meets this standard.

Photo courtesy of Mylands. Colour Bedford Square.

All of the following products have low VOC levels and are also certified ‘Child Safe’ under Toy Safety Standard EN 71-3:2019 (at the time of this article):

Earthborn Claypaint

Little Greene

·       Intelligent Matt

·       Intelligent Eggshell

Farrow & Ball

·       Modern Emulsion

·       Estate Emulsion


·       Marble Matt

·       Wood & Metal Paint


·       Satin Furniture Paint

·       Gloss Furniture Paint

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Photos courtesy of Farrow & Ball. Colours, Pavilion Blue and Folly Green (available in the F&B Archive Collection in store).

Decorating best practice:

·       When painting, make sure the room you’re decorating is well ventilated.

·       Keep children and pets away from the room that is being decorated until the paint finish has completely dried.

·       Ensure best health and safety practices when using equipment such as ladders and electrical tools.

·       Take into consideration anybody with pre-existing health conditions that could be affected by the decorating process.

Find out more about the right finish for you at your local Brewers Decorator Centre.