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Transforming a space into a sanctuary requires healthy and thoughtful choices. The products we choose to bring into our homes make an impact on our quality of life whether we know it or not. It’s true for the food we eat, the clothes we wear, and even the air we breathe.

Indoors, the air that surrounds us nearly 80 percent of the time isn’t always safe for people or the planet. Toxic interior paints are the culprits behind many common ailments that can affect us and our loved ones—including those furry four-legged family members.

What makes a paint eco-friendly?

Describing a paint, finish or lacquer as eco-friendly means that it doesn’t contain airborne chemicals or gases that will wreak havoc on your health. These low-level toxic emissions are called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that leach out into the air and cause symptoms like headaches, dizziness, visual and respiratory impairment—even memory loss.

The EPA notes that the effects of VOCs are about two to five times higher indoors than outdoors, and if you’re stripping paint during a home project, studies show that it can skyrocket up to 1,000 times higher. The good news is that you can be proactive and clean up the air in your home with more than just a few potted plants.

Ready for a fresh start and a fresh coat of paint? Here are the best eco-friendly options for your space, along with our top picks for sustainable furniture, organic mattresses, and nontoxic rugs. (If painting is out of the question, don’t worry! You can check out these eco-friendly removable wallpapers, too.)


1. ECOS Paint

Price | $69+/gallon
Availability | Online (made-to-order)
Best For | Odorless, organic paints

The environmentally friendly ECOS Paint is “paint you can feel good about.” Entirely free of VOCs and odors, this USA-made brand offers a colorful selection of organic paints for interior and exterior walls (and a transparent ingredient list!). Best of all, a gallon covers 560 sq. feet, more than most traditional options. Used by the Louvre, Westminster Abbey, and the Getty Museum, these paints mix quality and environmental consciousness like no other.

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2. Clare Paint

Price | $54/gallon
Availability | Online
Best For | Trim paints

Clare Paint is dedicated to bringing designer-curated colors and environmentally-friendly paint right to your door. 100 percent of its paints are zero VOC and Greenguard Gold Certified, while its factories have low-waste production methods, recycled packaging, and water conservation systems throughout. Not sure where to start? The team offers swatches starting at just two dollars with free shipping and the Clare Color Genius quiz to help you narrow down your options.

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3. Backdrop

Price | $59–$65/gallon
Availability | Online
Best For | Exterior paints

Backdrop spent a year curating 50 of the best colors for homes—and became the first climate-neutral paint company in 2020 along the way! Its line of interior and exterior colors are Green Wise certified with low VOCs, low odor, and sent in a recyclable can. You’ll also find a paint calculator and essential painting supplies to tackle the job on your own, instead of paying four times the cost for professionals. From the first swatch to the final coat, you’ll be impressed with how these colors turn out. Backdrop also gives back.

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4. Graham & Brown

Price | $90/gallon
Availability | Online
Best For | One-stop shop for paint, wallpaper, and wall art

Graham & Brown makes it easy to coordinate your colors, by offering eco-friendly wallpapers and paints to match. As a carbon-neutral company, the brand mixes your paints to order, and plants trees to offset emissions. With nearly 400 low VOC water-based paint colors to choose from and a wide range of finishes (including metallic and glitter topcoats), Graham & Brown will have the perfect shade for your home. And if you’re not sure, you can request a free color card or order a peel-and-stick sample in your favorite shade.

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5. The Real Milk Paint Co.

Price | $62.99/gallon
Availability | Online, find a retailer
Best For | Child-safe furniture paint

Milk paint, made from organic milk protein, is a healthier alternative than a water-based latex or oil-based paint used by many commercial options. The Real Milk Paint Co. has tons of great color options—including loose pigments so that you can blend your own custom color. The Real Milk Paint Co. has been innovating since 1995, and its time-tested formula is as biodegradable as ever. Even the waxes and finishing creams are non-VOC and odorless! Just add water, and it’ll work on raw wood, dry wall, and concrete.

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6. BioShield

Price | $46–$68/gallon
Availability | Online
Best For | Clay paints for a matte finish

BioShield is an eco-friendly paint company offering a line of solvent-free, zero-VOC paints and tints for your interior, exterior, wall finishes, and wood stains. As “healthy living paints”, the company strives to create products from natural and easily renewable resources without harmful chemicals, toxins, or additives. If you’re looking for a brand that’s committed to leaving the environment better than before, this is it.

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photo credit: @althepainterllc and @originatenaturalbuilding


7. Earth Pigments

Price | Starting at $54+ for 5 kg of base
Availability | Online
Best For | Nontoxic pigments

Earth Pigments offers beautifully rich colors including earth tones made from ocher, bright oxide pigments, and natural mica. Sustainably harvested from the earth, these mineral and plant-based pigments are a safe alternative to conventional paints. This is a more hands-on painting process that requires you to mix the pigments with additional materials, but the end result is worth the extra effort. If you’re not sure where to start, get in touch for a free color consultation!

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