Autumn colour inspiration from 5 eco-friendly paint brands

Dark blue painted bedroom

With such an overwhelming amount of options available, choosing paint colours is enough to bring on a headache, even before you’ve been exposed to any paint fumes. Narrowing your choice down to more eco-friendly paint brands, could make life easier…

Paints are known to release harmful gases called VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). These VOCs can circulate not only when the paint is applied, but for 5 years thereafter. The World Health Organisation revealed an alarming statistic, that decorators are 40% more likely to get lung cancer. Currently, the levels of VOCs in paint are regulated by EU legislation, which paint companies have to abide by.

Labels on packaging such as ‘natural’ or ‘eco’ however, are not standardised, making it difficult for the consumer to know what they really mean. These, alongside general claims about taking steps to become greener, shouldn’t be taken at face value. We can however take note of the factual information for each brand, in relation to their manufacturing.

Colourful used paintbrushes

In this post, I’ve picked out 5 new paint colours from a selection of brands, alongside their green credentials. Please note, I haven’t tested all of these paints personally, so if anyone has any comments on their performance, I’m all ears.

With a change in the air and the new season approaching, it seems we’re finally coming out of our obsession with grey walls. Instead, here are some bold new paint colours to inspire you this autumn.

Peach Baby by Earthborn

Peach Baby Eco friendly paint by Earthborn in kitchen diner

Proof that peach has reinvented itself since the 1980s and definitely doesn’t have to be reserved for bedrooms. This versatile neutral shade ‘Peach Baby’ has here been used for a cool kitchen/diner. It’s paired with a shade of green called Secret Room, used on the kitchen cupboards. Accents of a charcoal black called Hidey-Hole, and a creamy green called Sapling create the contemporary edge.

What Earthborn say about their paints:

  • Holds the certification EU Ecolabel for indoor paints and varnishes
  • Lifestyle Eco Emulsion paints are acrylic free, oil free and odour free
  • Ingredients of Lifestyle Eco Emulsion paints are Water, Chalk, Talcum, Vinegar ester, Methylcellulose, Titanium dioxide, Phosphate, Sodium hydroxide, 0.1% Synthetic preservative

Peach Baby by Earthborn Lifestyle Eco Emulsion is £42 2.5 litres or £71 for 5 litres at Designerpaint*

Invisible Green by Edward Bulmer Natural Paints

Invisible green eco-friendly paint by Edward Bulmer

Greenery is the colour of the moment and dark greens have proven particularly popular for 2017. Aside from its connection to nature, in colour psychology, green walls spark creativity, so consider it for a home office or studio.

What Edward Bulmer Natural Paints say about their paints:

  • They provide an honest declaration of ALL ingredients, can tell you how they are produced and from which country they are sourced. Read the list of their key ingredients here.
  • Paint is made from naturally occurring raw materials of plant origin like linseed oil, of animal origin such as beeswax and milk casein, or from mineral raw materials such as chalk, earth and mineral pigments.
  • Ingredients are responsibly sourced and organic. They do not use dangerous solvents, pesticides, herbicides or toxins.
  • No net CO2 emissions generated in the process due to using abundant minerals or renewable raw materials.
  • Any CO2 generated in manufacture is counterbalanced by the absorption of CO2 by the plant sources used in their ingredients.
  • The VOC rating for their emulsion is less than 0.2%.
  • Made in Herefordshire, UK.

Read more about their environmental policies here.

Invisible Green is £45 for 2.5 litres or £79.50 for 5 litres at Edward Bulmer Natural Paints.

Blue Yonder by Eicó

Blue environmentally friendly paint in industrial interior by Eico

Blue Yonder by Eicó was the perfect colour choice for this converted former upholstery factory in East London’s Hoxton Square. Designed by Mark Lewis Interior Design, the industrial style home features painted tongue and groove panelling, reclaimed flooring and cast iron Victorian radiators.

What Eicó say about their paints:

  • Manufactured in Iceland and Sweden using 100% geothermal or hydropower energy
  • Paints have one of the lowest VOC ratings of any paint sold in the UK
  • Virtually no odour
  • Paints are washable up to 2000 times

Purchase via Eicó or see stockists here

Mid Azure Green by Little Greene

Living room painted in Mid azure green paint by Little Greene

This gorgeous deep teal Mid Azure Green by Little Greene is fresh and crisp, yet rich and indulgent. If you’re daring enough to experiment with darker shades, jewel tones are the perfect choice for adding a contemporary edge to period panelling.

What Little Greene say about their paints:

  • In 2004, they were one of the first UK paint manufacturers to achieve the European environmental standard BS EN ISO 14001
  • All their water-based paints carry the industry’s lowest eco-rating, with VOC content now virtually zero and are virtually odourless.
  • Little Greene oil-based paints have been reformulated using sustainable vegetable oils, without compromising on their unrivalled quality.
  • Paint tins are made using over 50% recycled steel and can be recycled again.
  • All paperwork is printed on recycled or sustainably sourced paper.
  • They are continually developing their packaging and warehousing procedures to increase the content of recycled and recyclable material and have achieved waste reduction of 57% in the last three years.
  • Paints are manufactured in the UK

Read more about their environmental policies here.

Mid Azure Green Absolute Emulsion by Little Greene is £21 for 1 litre, £42 for £2.5 litres and £71 for 5 litres, available at Designerpaint*

Exmoor Heather by Francesca’s Paints

Living room decorated in pink Exmoor Heather eco-friendly paint by Francesca's Paints

Exmoor Heather Eco Emulsion by Francesca’s Paints is part of a collection called ‘Somerset’ inspired by the unspoilt landscape of Exmoor and the West Country. Here it has been used in an interior by Romo Fabrics. Founder Francesca Wezel says, ‘I wanted to capture the amalgamation of the browns from the sedges, the mauve from the heathers and the greys from the pebbles along the coast.’

What Francesca’s Paints say about their paints:

  • Eco Emulsion is a water based, breathable paint made with organic resin, chalk and pigments.
  • Free from solvents and all their components
  • Contains no added lead

Eco Emulsion paints by Francesca’s Paints range from £20.14 – £76.90


Images 1 & 5 photography by Rory Gardiner for Mark Lewis Interior Design; Image 2 via Unsplash; Image 7 courtesy of Romo Fabrics; Others as stated.

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Author: Antonia Edwards

Antonia is the founding editor of Upcyclist. Based in the UK, she is the author of two books: 'Upcyclist: Reclaimed and Remade Furniture, Lighting and Interiors' (Prestel 2015) and 'Renovate Innovate: Reclaimed and Upcycled Homes' (Prestel 2017).