A woman’s hand holding a stem with leaves all dipped in green paint with the title Eco-Friendly Paint.


Eco-Friendly in Interior Design

As the world becomes more environmentally conscious many well-known brands, products, and industries are following suit—interior design being one of them. You might be surprised to know that Canadian universities and colleges have been prepping their design students for a few decades now on the importance of indoor air quality and sustainable design practices. When I started Design for Conscious Living in 2007, my secondary school training was one of the things that inspired me to choose my company name.

When thinking about starting a new interior décor project, there are many different reasons to consider eco-friendly options. A popular one seems to be the addition of a new baby or pet to the family. Taking the time to research non-toxic solutions to home décor—whether that be in furniture, carpeting or cleaning supplies—is beneficial to your family’s long-term health, adds eco-friendly aspects to your home, and contributes to the global environmental movement.

Eco-Friendly Paint Options in Interior Design

Opting for paint that is low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs)—or, the better option, totally free of them—is now one of the easiest eco-friendly home-reno choices you can make. All the major brands carry a line of ‘low’ to ‘no’ VOC paints and some of them offer significant improvements to the indoor air quality of your home. Having said that, one thing to keep in mind as you select a brand is that even paints labeled “low” or “zero” VOC’s, may still contain VOC’s.  “The number generally accepted for a low-VOC paint is less than 50 grams per liter; a zero-VOC paint has fewer than 5 grams per liter.” Sourced via GreenGuard.

After all the negative press about volatile organic compounds and their effect on human health, there should be nothing stopping you from choosing a healthier paint option for your home. Here are some eco-friendly paint options to consider when starting your project. These are products I have worked with personally and professionally and have had good experiences with to date.

A wood shelf with packages of milk paint.


Homestead House Paint Co. – Milk Paint

Milk paint is the oldest natural paint known to man and can still be found in some cave paintings. This paint contains milk protein (casein), limestone, clay, chalk and natural non-toxic pigments made from iron oxides and those synthesized from natural resources. Milk paint is very durable, easy to apply, quick drying, and fun to work with as it allows you to easily create different finish effects. I have used Homestead House Paint Co. Milk Paint on a personal project. The only drawback that I found with milk paint is that you don’t have as many colors to choose from and the ones that are available tend to have a more traditional feel.

A one gallon container of Dulux Lifemaster matte paint.


Dulux – Life Master

Lifemaster from Dulux was launched in 1992 as Canada’s first paint free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). It is a leading ‘green’ paint building standards product and is LEED compliant. I have been specifying Dulux Lifemaster paint professionally for design projects since I started my company. I have also used it for personal projects because I love working with it. One of the main reasons I will specify Dulux is because of their colour palette. It never lets me down when I am looking for a unique or hard to find colour.

A one gallon container of Sherwin Williams Harmony paint.


Sherwin-Williams – Harmony

Sherwin Williams zero-VOC Harmony acrylic latex paint is another one of the big names in eco-friendly paint brands. The Harmony Line zero VOC formula helps reduce common indoor odors from your pets, cooking and smoke to help rooms stay fresher, longer. Harmony contains new technology that helps improve indoor air quality by reducing VOC levels from potential sources like carpet, cabinets and fabrics. Sherwin Williams recently updated their colour palette and distributed new marketing material to professionals. Since making this change it has become one of my go-to brands for great colour options. I recently completed the design of a condo for a woman with health challenges and we chose Harmony as the paint brand. She was thrilled with the colours and the finished results.

A one gallon container or Benjamin Moore Natura paint.


Benjamin Moore – Natura

I have used Benjamin Moore Natura paint for many of my personal and business project. They boast some of the best features in VOC-free options and they have certainly gained the attention of the home renovation consumer. If it’s durability you are after I can vouch for this one. When I moved into my design studio, I had to repair badly cracked and water damaged windowsills. After carefully patching, sanding and priming the sills I finished them with three coats of Natura paint. Even to my surprise the paint is still holding up well after five years of washing, and lots of wear and tear.

A multi coloured splatter of iridescent paint on a white background.


Colour specifying has been one of my specialties. Time and time again I’ve received compliments from homeowners and industry professionals on my ability to narrow in on the right colour for various applications. If you are looking for advice on anything colour related in interior and exterior décor, or you would like an eco-friendly approach to your interior design project, let us put our expertise to work for you.