Green Building Materials: Paint and Other Wall Treatments

The right wall treatment can make an enormous impact on your home. Whether it’s a fresh coat of paint or beautiful wallpaper, walls are a huge part of the design of your home. For the safety of your family, you want to use products that are safe and non-toxic. There are healthy alternatives to keep your family free from harm and the good news is that going green doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality or color availability anymore. You can choose to decorate your walls with less toxic paints and wall treatments and companies now offer eco-friendly and easy ways to go greener.

Why Use Eco-Friendly Paint?

It used to be that conventional paints emitted toxic fumes called VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, that caused skin, nose and eye irritation (and worse). The green paint market has grown tremendously over the past 5 years. The paints nowadays give premium coverage, vibrant colors and have no added solvents or harmful odors. These paints also have reduced levels of VOCs. When choosing eco-friendly paints, remember that both the paint AND the colorant should be labeled low or no VOC.

Low VOC and Zero VOC Paint Explained

The federal government now regulates VOC levels in paints sold across the United States. Paint that is labeled as “low VOC” has very low levels of VOC, usually less than 50 grams per liter. “Zero VOC” or “No VOC” paints are supposed to have no measurable VOCs in them. California was the first state to impose VOC standards and has some of the most stringent VOC limits in the United States.

Some of the Best Eco-Friendly Paint Brands

Valspar is a giant among paint brands and has recently launched an offshoot called Devine Color, with zero VOC. There are lots of colors to choose from and it is known for being thick, so you will only need one coat.

Valspar Devine Eco-Friendly Paint

C2 LoVo Paint is the only pigment system in the country to use European colorants. It is a premium, non-toxic paint with tons of color options. C2 Studio was recently introduced as a lower priced low VOC paint that offers 496 C2 colors.

C2 Studio low VOC paint

The small company Yolo Colorhouse, based in Oregon, offers no VOC paint for both the inside and outside of your home. Yolor Colorhouse is much more affordable than other green paints and is available at Home Depot.

Yolo Colorhouse DREAM paints

The mega-giant Benjamin Moore now offers two eco-friendly paint options: Aura and Natura. Aura is a low VOC premium paint, while Natura has zero VOC and a quick drying time. Both of these brands offer an enormous array of color options.

Benjamin Moore Eco-Friendly Paints

Green Planet Paints are zero VOC and do not contain any petroleum. The 120 colors are available in flat, semigloss and eggshell and are made from mineral pigments and plant resins.

Natural Wall Treatments

Arthouse Eco-Friendly Wall Coverings in Imagine Fern - Plum

Wall treatments today are fun, fashionable and sustainable. Many wall treatments are now made from such materials as rice paper, silk, cork and bamboo and are free from toxic glues and mold resistant. These green natural fiber wall treatments are also biodegradable. Many wall coverings do come with paste on them but you can request to have them without adhesive and simply use a nontoxic glue instead.

Another Eco-Friendly Alternative: Plaster Wall Treatment

American Clay plaster eco-friendly wall treatments

Plaster has been used for centuries and is beautiful and affordable. Plasters that are made from lime and clay come in a powder form and are easily mixed with water and naturally colored powder mineral pigment. The plaster forms a hard and durable surface and is safe for the environment.

Green Living Walls for Outdoor Spaces

Smith Brothers Construction Living Green Outdoor Wall

Another innovative and eco-friendly option for outdoor spaces is the use of live greenery to be create a property barrier wall around the perimeter of your home. This option can easily replace the use of wood or other materials commonly used as a fence to not only create privacy but also reduce noise levels. While some maintenance is required to keep them trimmed and looking nice, the benefits are well worth it!

Looking to make a design and decor change in your home in San Diego, California but can’t decide which direction to go? We get it. The choices can be overwhelming and our talented designers can help. Contact Smith Brothers to see how we can help you!


Smith Brothers is a unique team of construction craftsmen, architects, and interior designers. Since 1978, we stress the absolute highest levels of quality, performance, value and service in each and every project. Our award-winning design ideas, expertise, and collective experience allow us to provide the very best in what we do. For more information please contact us at 877-230-0333, (+01) 858-350-1445, or

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