Sunday, January 11, 2015

Eco-Friendly Paints and Wallpapers: A Powder Room Makeover

Do you believe in color therapy? I hadn't really thought too deeply about it but was aware that every time I visited my powder room I couldn't stand the color of the walls or trim. It all looked a bit dreary as it's a small and rather dark room tucked away at the back of the house. I would shoot in and out with a quick disagreeable glance at the gloomy grey moldings. There are many reasons why its taken me 10 years to sort out the situation but on January 1st I finally took action and lacquered beautiful bright white paint over the depressing gray. The dreariness receded and the gleaming white began to shine through, I began to feel a little refreshed. Then I had to get rid of the dark red walls, which I didn't mind quite so much but I was on a roll. Wallpaper (see picture above for the one we chose) seemed like a great idea, I did question this wisdom once or twice as it took my husband and I a two full days to finish one small room. As my husband quiped "those that wallpaper together, stay together." I couldn't resist showing you the before and after.

In keeping with my concern for a greener lifestyle it was important to find the most environmentally friendly products possible, the trick is to find a paint with very low or even no VOCs. To learn about what these chemicals actually are, what they do and why they're so bad, please click here. It turns out there are many options as far as paint is concerned, many of the major paint manufacturers such as Benjamin Moore have their own lines of eco friendly paints. Then there are companies who specialize in producing them. Yes, they are absolutely more expensive with prices ranging from a jaw dropping $85.00 a gallon to $10.00. Take a look  here for a comprehensive list of the best environmentally friendly paints on the market, We ended up using Benjamin Moore Natura Zero-VOC Interior Paint in multi purpose white.

For the wallpaper we used Chesapeake High Performance Wallcoverings, click here to few the pattern details. We LOVE it. It's an eco-friendly paper and doesn't contain the toxin emitting VOCs or mold harboring chemicals, it's made from natural fibers and is prepasted so you don't need to use any nasty smelly adhesives.

Be brave, this is the before, nasty grey trim and bright red walls....

I always hated the dark wood of the washstand, it all seemed a little grim..

Ghastly moldings but quite a nice light fixture...

You've made through the horror, now for the after.What a relief, a lovely white trim ....

The washstand looks much happier, the white paint actually accentuates the marble top...

We simply love the wallpaper, it's so light, bright and pretty. Peonies and hydrangea's are my favorite flowers.

The curtain is a crisp white linen panel to add to the airiness, it's from Pottery Barn, for details click here.

The finishing touches, some Barr soap, hand lotion and a lovely scented candle.

This is my first foray into decorating with eco friendly products and I couldn't be more delighted with the results. My family loves it too, the first evening it was finished my youngest daughter wanted to do her homework in there! Which would you go for, the before or after?


  1. Definitely the after! Before, while smart, reminds me of Victorian pubs. And it does make the room look dark. Warm, but dark. I adore that wallpaper you chose; so pretty, and they are my favourite flowers too! I think you made a great fresh and eco-friendly start to the new year:)

    1. I'm so glad you like it! I haven't thought about it before but you are so right - it did look just like a Victorian pub!!

  2. I could totally see how different colors surrounding you can make or break your day. I love what you've done!

  3. I can see why you are delighted! Great job,dear!

  4. What a wonderful transformation. I love the flowery wallpaper which is not overpowering. The expression 'powder room' always makes me smile! Do ladies still powder their noses? Are menfolk allowed in when they have needs?! Anyway, joking aside, you did a lovely job. Well done!


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