Bedroom paint

Here are some tips on bedroom paint, with some extra attention to health aspects. Most regular paints are not harmful, or only while still wet. But, organic paints are even less harmful. Click here for more on Low VOC paint.

Bedroom paint and decor

Healthy bedroom paints - from OK to superhealthy

  • Shellac paints - high on VOC during the job, but harmless thereafter
  • Acrylic and acrylic latex paints
  • Organic oil paint
  • Milk paint: very pure and matte paints
  • egg tempera paint
  • loam

Due to regulations, there are no really harmful paints around anymore. Still there's a difference between synthetic paints and organic ones. Organic oil-based paints are very pure materials, once you replace the turpentine by a cleaner alternative. Acrylic paints are more synthetic, even though you can clean them with water. 'Latex' paints don't contain latex, but softer synthetic materials like vinyl or PVA. The more acrylic a latex paint contains, the better its quality (tougher paint). Shellac paints are high on VOC, but once dry shellac is considered a non-toxic paint. And the really purely natural paints are made of milk or eggs: milk- or egg tempera paint. They have a rustic, matte, velvety look, which can be very beautiful for some designing styles. But laquer them, and they can look just as slick and modern as acrylics. Loam is not a paint, it's clay (with an earth color). You can apply it on drywall with a trowel. Loam is very good for moisture regulation.

How to work with these paints

On itself, you can do the whole room - also the woodtrim and the laminate furniture - with latex paints, if you make the following precautions: painting latex over oil-based paint can only be done on a shellac primer, and wood-trim or laminate furniture could use an extra protective strong laquer - a polyurethane.

If there's already a glossy or semi-gloss acrylic paint on the walls or woodtrim, you need to do a primer - an acrylic one if you'll paint with acrylics, and a shellac one if you'll paint with latex.

Bedroom paint colors

Colors and bedroom paints

Another big difference between acrylic/latex and milk/egg tempera paints: the availble colors. Acrylics and latexes are available in thousands of pre-designed tints (including those you can choose from in any house paint software). That makes the designing process very easy. When you use house paint software to make a design, you can order exactly those paint colors from the paint store.

When you use milk paint or egg-tempera paint, you'll have to do your own color mixing. Milk and tempera paints need to be fresh. First make little amounts of paint, and mix them untill you found the right color (let it dry too, it might go lighter or darker then). After that, you can risk making a big amount of paint.

Primers for bedroom paints

  • Shellac primer is good for every paint, except for acrylics. You can work it over with milk paint, egg-tempera paint, latex or oil-based paint.
  • Drywall primer - as it sais: for new drywall.
  • Acrylic primer - goes over latex and acrylics, and can be worked over with acrylics
  • Oil based primer - goes over oil based layers, and can be worked over wit oil paint or strong acrylics.
  • Low VOC primers are available too. Use an acrylic-waterbased primer over acrylic layers, and an oil-based one when you go over oil-based layers.
  • Heat reflective paint keeps the indoor temperature closer to the human comfort zone (68 degrees fahrenheid), and also saves money on your energy bill. It's available as a low-voc acrylic paint, and as a heat-reflective dry powder to add to any regular wall paint. The powder itself is 100% non-toxic.
  • Check here for more on primer paints

The best choice for avoiding smells is the low-VOC-primer. If you need to use shellac, you'll have to bear the smell for a short time. Just start painting in the morning - the paint will be dry within the hour. And after the wind went through, the smell will be gone.

Bedroom painted in mustard and pink colors

Bedroom paint for walls

  • On drywall, first do a drywall primer, then you can paint with latex, acrylics, milk paint or egg tempera paint. Or hang wallpaper.
  • On wallpaper, apply latex directly (for a matte finish). When you use a glossy paint, first use a primer/sealer.
  • On acrylic paint, apply another coat of acrylic paint, or use a primer/sealer before using any other paint
  • Matte, soft painted walls were painted with latex, and can be worked over with latex, milkpaint or egg-tempera paint.

If you need to use a primer/sealer: take a low-VOC one, then you won't have smells in the bedroom. A shellac primer on a big surface like a wall, will give lots of VOC (fumes). If you have to use it, try to open every window in the house.

Bedroom paint for wood trim and laminate

  • Old wood trim was probably done with oil-based synthetic paint. You can paint them over only with alkyd paints, shellac or organic oil paint. But after a good shellac primer, you can use a good acrylic latex. Consider coating it with a transparant polyurethane, for strenght.
  • Laminate needs to be primed with shellac first. After that, a coloring layer of acrylic latex, and last a polyurethane for strength.
  • When you use low-VOC primer: use an oil-based one over oil based layers, and a water-based primer when you work over latex- or acrylic layers.

Shellac paint is high on VOC, but the job is done really fast, and if you can open the window, the fumes will be gone before nightfall. But, there are also low-VOC primers available.

Bedroom colors

The colors you choose when buying bedroom paint, might affect your mood and the ability to sleep. Generally spoken, strong reds and greens are better avoided. Yellow can be OK, when applied in a soft tone. Warm reds and oranges can be good for low-bloodpressure or when you're often cold, but still then it's better when they're toned a bit. And for heart-patients, reds are just dangerous. Check here for more on bedroom colors, and here you'll find more on color and mood.

More bedroom painting ideas

Here you'll find more bedroom painting ideas and Bedroom color schemes. If you plan to make a special painting project out of your bedroom, check here for more ideas:


Related pages:



Oil Painting Techniques

Acrylic Painting

Watercolor painting

Color Schemes

Interior Painting techniques

Interior Painting Ideas

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