The 2020 Guide to a Lick of Eco-Friendly Paint!

Whether sprucing up your walls with a lick of paint is part of your new year spring cleaning, or you’ve just moved into a new home (congrats, by the way), you’ll be searching for some non-toxic paint. You’ve come to the right place!

Let’s dive right into it:

Before we delve into the spectrum of eye-catching paint colours available, let’s take a closer look at what exactly makes up eco paint.

A Quick Explanation of VOCs and Why They Matter!

There’s a fair bit of confusion about what makes an eco-friendly paint.

No matter what, your paint will need to contain a mixture of chemicals to make it stay bright and stuck to your walls. The big difference between genuinely eco-friendly paint and the standard stuff is which chemicals (natural or synthetic) are used, how they’re sourced, and whether they will release emissions into your home.

The first thing you should look for is VOCs.

Volatile Organic Compounds are what we call the harmful range of chemicals in paint that release fumes into your room while the paint dries… and for years and years into the future.

This is the nasty stuff that gives you the headache and itchy eyes. Long term exposure does nothing good for your health.

Any eco-friendly paint will contain no VOCs or so few VOCs that they’re considered negligible.

True eco, sustainable paint won’t use gallons of synthetic materials, instead. they will rely on naturally sourced ingredients like plant-based oils and waxes, mineral oils, clays, chalks and other extracts from natural sources.

If a paint company has an eco-friendly range that’s simply “low VOC” and is packaged in partially recycled packaging, research them thoroughly. If they’re not up-front with what’s in their paint and why exactly it’s eco-friendly, this is often a sign that they’re simply green-washing.

How to Find Eco-Friendly Paint Companies

The best way to tell is to look at the ingredients list or data sheet.

If it’s simple and mainly comes down to water, pigment and various binders (like clay and chalk) you’re onto a winner.

However, if it’s full of words like “skin – severe irritant” and “hazardous decomposition products” among a list of chemical names you can’t pronounce, best avoid them. 

FYI, we took those phrases straight from the Dulux Quick Dry data sheet, which is for Dulux’s supposedly eco-friendly paint range. When you get to page 9 and see the words “propanol”, “rabbit” and “exposure” in the same table, it’s enough to put you off this brand for life. This is why you won’t find any Homebase paint or Dulux Natural Hessian on our list.

If you’re truly dedicated to an ethical, eco-friendly home, you’ll need to reach out for a specialist, eco-friendly paint company. What you find in your nearest DIY store isn’t good enough.

All of the companies on our shortlist are available in the UK and are genuinely as eco-friendly as paints can currently be. We checked them thoroughly ourselves!

Our selection of the best eco-friendly paint in the UK

Earthborn Paint – Who Knew Organic Paint Could Be So Rich!


Dorothy is the perfect safe paint colour for your nursery. The entire Claypaint range from Earthborn is made with organic, safe clay-based materials. It’s virtually VOC-free, odour free, oil free, acrylic free and pain free to use! These colours tend to seem so much richer and earthier when painted on your walls. You’ll also need fewer coats compared to a standard emulsion paint. Bonus!

We love it because: clay paints, like this organic natural paint from Earthborn, is very breathable and reduces condensation, which is great for old walls in mildew-prone rooms. It not only has no harmful emissions but it also reduces health hazards in your home for the future.

Perfectly Pink Little Knights VOC Free Paint UK


This shade is called Suffolk Pink and we just absolutely adore it. Very few paints are 100% VOC free. Even the beloved Earthborn Paint company has a tiny, insignificant amount of VOCs in their products. But not Little Knights! Their paint range is vibrant, emission-free and even antibacterial for the little ones. They’re independently tested and all their claims have been verified by the Advertising Standards Agency, so don’t just take our word for it.

We love it because: the entire Little Knights range of eco friendly paints actually absorbs formaldehyde from the air, reducing harmful emissions released into your home.

Non Toxic Varnish for Ethical Furniture UK


Yellowbees’ natural furniture beeswax is just what you need for turning old junk sale treasures into beautiful vintage furniture for your new home. The wax contains just 3 ingredients: beeswax, carnauba wax (which also happens to be a food-safe vegan beeswax alternative), and pharmaceutical grade mineral oils for a lustrous shine.

We love it because: the eco-friendly furniture varnish is handmade in London and packed into entirely recyclable glass jars in small batches. With natural ingredients it’s safe for the packagers to handle and great for keeping your hardwood furniture in good nick.

Baby Safe Furniture Paint by Grace Mary


Grace Mary UK create sustainable paint that goes a long way. Their chalk paint formula is available in 23 colours (we’ve chosen the Charleston shade for our picture) and is perfect for painting walls or furniture. Made in the UK with natural ingredients, this paint should be your first choice if you want to create some shabby chic vibes.

We love it because: Grace Mary’s environmentally friendly paint formula contains 40% chalk, which makes it strong and lush enough to cover your walls/furniture perfectly in one coat! Less paint used and more time to sit back and watch it dry.

Earthborn’s Best Eco-Friendly Paint in the UK for the Playroom


We’ve all been there. Scrubbing frantically at the walls to get rid of the grubby hand marks and crayon scribbles… and then panicking when you start to wear away the paint colour. But beating this problem doesn’t mean relying on robust, chemical-laden paints. Instead, try Earthborn’s Lifestyle Emulsion.

We love it because: it’s almost VOC-free, wipeable and very hard wearing. The natural Earthborn Paints you love but in a stronger, low-sheen formula.

Non Toxic Wood Paint for Those Final DIY Touches


Another brilliant product from the Earthborn Paints collection. Their Eggshell No. 17 is a quick-drying, silky interior wood finish. It’s a water based formula that is as virtually VOC free as their popular paint colours. Hardwearing and scuff-resistant, this is a good eco safe paint for skirting, window sills or wooden beams.

We love it because: even though it has a touchably silky finish, this eco-friendly wood paint is free of oils and acrylic. It’s good for the wood, your health and the planet.

Don’t forget that all of the non toxic paint listed here has free delivery to the UK, much like our list of the Best LED Light Bulbs for your home…

If you like to match your furniture to the wall paint, have a look at our selection of the best organic and natural rugs in the UK!

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