WALLS : PAINTS
Not so invigorated by new paint smell? You might be sensitive to VOCs, which off-gas for weeks after paint is applied. VOCs like ethylene glycol can trigger skin rashes, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. “From paints to countertops and more, with every decision, we asked: ‘Will this have off-gassing? What is it made of?’” Filicia says, noting that he chose low-VOC paints and materials for Riverhouse.
- Yolocolorhouse divides its no-VOC palettes into categories like air, grain, and petal. There’s also a “little Yolo” line, and tinted or white primer. Yolo, $39.95 per gallon, little Yolo, $10.95 per gallon.
- Envirosafe’s no-VOC paint comes in fast-drying satin, flat, and semigloss finishes. $29–$45 per gallon.
- Mythic Paint has no VOCs and is also, the company claims, free of carcinogenic chemicals. It comes in subtle earth tones. About $38.95 per gallon.
- For a timeless, gentle look, the Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company’s Safepaint combines milk protein and lime with pigments. It arrives as a powder and you add water. $45.95 per gallon.
- Benjamin Moore’s Aura line meets California’s strict low–volatile organic compound (VOC) standards and ranked third in performance among 21 green and conventional paints in a March 2008 Consumer Reports test. $54.95 per gallon.
TIP: According to Paul Marquis of Green Home Solutions, milk-and-clay-based paints often don’t need a primer. However, they should not be used in humid bathrooms or basements, which are more likely to support mold growth.
- The wallpaper paste should be chemical-free, too. Try Ecofix.
- Brilliant, hand-printed, natural fabrics and grasscloths from Brooklyn design studio Twenty2 can vitalize a room. $32 per yard.
- Juicy Jute grasscloth from Phillip Jeffries is not only a renewable resource that provides great texture but it also comes in vivid vegetable-dyed hues. About $28 per yard.
- Innovations carries PVC-free wallpaper but only sells “to the trade,” so ask a decorator pal to order.
TIP: Choose wall-coverings, flooring, and other products that are free of PVC vinyl, a nonrecyclable plastic that can release phthalate chemicals, linked to hormonal and respiratory problems.
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