Sure, you could go to HomeDepot or Lowe's and pick up a gallon of (low-VOC) Benjamin Moore Aura or (no-VOC) Sherwin Williams Harmony paint, but if you're looking for a hard-to-find brand of non-toxic paint—or you need some help with color consultation or detailed product info—you'll probably have better luck at a place that specializes in healthy paints. Many of the stores (listed below) also have online and phone order services, and some will ship samples to your door.
- Green Depot (Various Locations/Online): Customers can browse and order online or visit in-person at locations in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Illinois. The staff is extremely knowledgeable, not only about the products but also with color consultation.
- Green Home Design Center (Chicago): Using a 10-point classification system, Karen Kalmek has stocked her store with a variety of environmentally friendly finishes and paints. With LEED Accredited designers on staff, they can help you with a range of services from color selections to the full design of interior spaces.
- Yolo Colorhouse (Portland/Online): YOLO Colorhouse paint is water-based, Green Seal certified, and zero-VOC. Portland, Oregon-based artists, professional finishers, and Yolo co-founders Janie Young and Virginia Lowe offer poster-size color swatches painted by hand with real paint, which save both paint and effort.
- Environmental Home Center (Seattle/Online): Lucky for all of us, Environmental Home Center in Seattle is one of the few green retailers that has not only a pleasant showroom, which happens to be huge, but also a full-fledged commitment to web and phone orders. They sell a wide range of non-VOC and low-toxicity paints including Yolo, BioShield, Safecoat, Olivetti, and American Pride.
- Green Home Center (San Francisco): Green Home Center not only peddles paint (specifically Green Planet brand), but also kitchen options, flooring, furniture, carpets, solar energy, tile, plasters, and bedding. It's basically your one-stop shop for all things green living in the Bay area.
- Reclaim (Menlo Park Bay Area/Online): The store, which opened in 2008, carries a wide range of green home products—many of which you've read about on AT, including Yolo Colorhouse paint and non-vinyl wallpaper.
- Anna Sova (Los Angeles/Online): Their huge selection of non toxic luxury food paints ($69/gallon!!) allows not only healthier choices, you can mix in a little aroma and get your walls to smell as good as they look.
- Jill's Paint (Los Angeles/Online): Hidden off the main thoroughfare of Glendale Boulevard in Atwater Village, Jill's is a dealer of fine paints and even finer service. They're now offering an extensive line of green paint and products (everything from Mystic Paint to Yolo Colorhouse), as well as biodegradable paint trays and drop cloths.
- Livingreen (Southern California/Online): The Livingreen site has hard-to-find paints and finishes, like Green Planet and SoyCrete concrete stain. Like other regional retailers, they've culled their selection so that what they sell online can be easily shipped.
- Bio Paints (New Zealand/Online): An Antipodean company that prides itself on using old-fashioned paint recipes that call for all-natural ingredients. We're impressed both with their color palette and their VOC-free, environmentally friendly, and completely biodegradable paints.
Photo: Anna Sova Food Paint