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Safe Paint for Nurseries (With Pictures of the Nursery Pink Paint I Chose)

Looking for a safe paint for nurseries? Here’s a great low VOC option for both health and color variety.

I’m that person who’s allergic to everything: foods, nature, chemicals (even “organic”ones) and animals. Every time we’ve painted our apartment or even had our kitchen redone, I got really sick. I’d get headaches, feel like a flu-ache throughout my body and the left side of my face and eye would swell up.

When deciding to pick a baby safe paint for the nursery, Mike, my husband, suggested we spend the extra buck and get something that 1) wouldn’t make me sick and 2) would be very safe for the baby’s room. Yes, it’s taken me getting pregnant to learn that my health and my family’s should always be priority.

After doing research on paint for nurseries and testing out some colors I liked, I ended up choosing this paint that’s not only safe for nurseries but also pregnancy safe (although I still don’t recommend you painting yourself if you’re pregnant.)

Keep reading to find out which paint is best for your baby’s nursery, why it’s a great option and what the process of using this paint is like!

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Safe Paint for Nurseries

Farrow & Ball Pink Ground, nursery pink paint that's a safe paint for nurseries

After testing out a few paint samples from different brands, I ended up choosing Farrow & Ball, a sustainable paint company that makes the most beautiful paints with low VOCs.

Farrow & Ball is considered safe paint for nurseries because:

  • They have low to minimal VOCs aka volatile organic compounds, which I go more into below.
  • They’re water-based.
  • Their paint is rated A+ for indoor air quality (specifically the French Indoor Air Quality Decree).
  • Their paint is even toy and baby furniture safe (according to Toy Safety Standards Safety of Toys Part 3: Migration of certain elements (EN 71 3:2013+A3:2018)).

Low to zero VOCs are the key to choosing a paint for nurseries!

VOCs – Volatile Organic Compounds

VOCs stand for volatile organic compounds. These are human-made chemicals and industrial solvents used in the production of paints, pharmaceuticals and refrigerants.

Not only are they harmful for the environment, but when painting your home, they create strong smelling fumes and pollute the air indoors.

VOCs can be toxic to your health and has various health effects such as:

  • Eye, nose and throat irritation
  • Headaches, loss of coordination and nausea
  • Damage to liver, kidney and central nervous system
  • Some organics can cause cancer in animals, some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans. (EPA.gov)

For your baby’s room, you’ll want to get paint with zero to low VOCs, which is what Farrow & Ball has.

A handful of Farrow & Ball’s paints are under 5 g/l (the VOC threshold you should aim for in a baby safe paint) including their most popular finishes: Estate Emulsion and Modern Emulsion.

  • 3g/l VOCs – Estate Emulsion is a very flat matte (2% sheen, our ‘signature’ look).
  • 2g/l VOCs – Modern Emulsion is still matte (7% sheen) but a bit more hard-wearing and washable.
    • This is the one I chose for the baby’s nursery because it’s more washable and yes, like their site says, it’s still quite matte!
    • This is a good option for the bathroom, kitchen and children’s toys/furniture because it’s washable and mildew resistant.

When using Farrow & Ball paint, you don’t need to air out the house for days or even avoid a room although I do recommend still to paint a baby’s room further in advance to be extra cautious (as noted in my tips for painting during pregnancy below).

My Experience With This Low VOC Paint

Farrow & Ball Pink Ground, nursery pink paint that's a safe paint for nurseries
It’s a miracle! I didn’t have to avoid the baby’s room during or after the painting process.

As I mentioned briefly in the introduction, I get really sick from paint fumes even days after it dries. From writing this blog post, I learned that VOCs get evaporate into the air anywhere from 28 days to six months after you paint!

When I shared that fact with Mike, he said, “Oh that makes sense that when we went to that apartment in Istanbul that was painted a couple of weeks ago that you got so sick.”

Yes, when there’s fresh or even cured paint, I get headaches, flu-like body aches and sometimes the left side of my face will swell up. I have fibromyalgia and ulcerative colitis so not sure if that’s a cause for these effects from traditional paints but I do know that when we painted with Farrow & Ball, I did not get sick!

Since I was able to hang out at home and could expose myself to the paint, it was one of the most stress free experiences we’ve had with painting. Normally, I have to stay out of the house all day or shut myself off in one room.

Another paint I didn’t get sick from is Bauwerk’s limewash paint, but I don’t recommend this for a nursery because it’s not as durable and wipeable.

Other Benefits of Farrow & Ball Paint

Besides being a more sustainable, low to minimal VOC paint, here are other benefits of Farrow & Ball paint.

  • Since the paints are water based, your brushes and rollers will be easier to clean and you don’t need extra solvent to clean.
  • Their paint is made to last.
  • The Modern Emulsion finish, which can be used on toys and furniture too, is mildew resistant.
  • Best of all, they have colors that can’t be matched by other brands!

When testing out paint samples, I tried colors close to Pink Ground but found all other paint brands’ nursery pink paint to be flat and monotone whereas Farrow & Ball’s had depth and shifted slightly depending on the time of day.

You might be wondering if the cost of Farrow & Ball paint is worth all these benefits though. Spoiler alert- for the healthy of your family, yes it is- but you can read my full thoughts on this below.


My “Trust the Process” Experience With This Nursery Pink Paint

Farrow & Ball Pink Ground is the nursery pink paint I picked for our baby girl's room. It is a safe paint for nurseries.
wet after 2 coats
Farrow & Ball Pink Ground is the nursery pink paint I picked for our baby girl's room. It is a safe paint for nurseries.
dry after 48 hours

I’ve made mistakes in the past picking the wrong color for a room– mainly because I didn’t do enough research and test out sample. My best tips for picking a paint color are listed below.

I thought I did a great job of picking out the right nursery pink paint for my baby’s room. I wanted something more peachy and subtle instead of so apparently pink.

As a result, I picked Pink Ground. Its base color is pink but in many photos I saw online, it looked more like a peachy or earthy pink.

But when Mike painted the first wet coat… omg the paint looked like cotton candy pink!

I was a bit worried and told Mike that maybe we should stop at the first coat because it was already so pink. My experience in the past with conventional paints was that the more coats you did, the more of that initial color you’d get.

This is when I told myself to trust the process.

Mike did another coat and already the color shifted and deepened closer to what I had sampled.

I kept going into the room at different hours saying “Oh it looks pink now” and then “Now it kind of looks a little purple” (with the sunset).

Finally, after 24-48 hours of drying, I compared the wall color to the sample I had painted on a card stock and noted they were very similar. Besides that, I loved the color.

Pink Ground dries more peachy (as one of the reviews said) but still has a dusty, soft pink, which was perfect for me to use as our nursery pink paint!

All in all, when using Farrow & Ball’s paint, trust the process! Do not judge based off the first or even second wet coat*. Wait until it fully dries to make an assessment. Keep reading to learn my best tips on choosing the right Farrow & Ball color without regret!

*That being said, we only needed 2 coats for full, beautiful coverage. Mike said it was easy to paint with too.


Tips for Choosing the Right Farrow & Ball Color Without Regret

Screenshot of Pink Ground from Farrow & Ball's website
The Farrow & Ball website is really helpful and shows you what the paint looks like in various rooms. Paint can look so different based on lighting, location, items in the room and editing so seeing a variety of uses was key in helping pick the right color. (Screenshot via Farrow & Ball’s website)
Farrow & Ball Pink Ground, nursery pink paint that's a safe paint for nurseries

Choosing the right color for your baby’s nursery or any room can be difficult. In fact, because of paint sample blunders I’ve made in the past, I was worried that I was going to regret picking the color that I did.

But in fact, it was quite the opposite! I absolutely love the Farrow & Ball color I chose for our nursery.

Here’s how to choose the right color:

  1. Scroll through Pinterest to get a general idea of what color paint I’d want.
  2. Go to Farrow & Ball’s site and shop by colors in that color range.
  3. Considering that the sample you see on screen is largely different from customers’ photos, click through a color.
  4. Within each color, look at photos that customers submitted and read reviews. The colors can vary greatly depending on what else is in the room, type of lighting used or how the customer edited the photo.
  5. Order a sample and paint two coats on white card stock.
  6. Look at the card stock throughout the day in various lighting (i.e. with natural sunlight, at night with the room light on).

Ordering a sample and testing it out in your own home is absolutely key since colors on screens tend to vary by device. Do not miss out on this process!

Also, trusting the process is also key! As I noted above, the 1st wet coat of Farrow & Ball Pink Ground looked really pink and I was a little bummed out. It looked better with the 2nd coat but still looked more pink.

When it was completely dry, the color was more of that peachy pink that I was looking for and now I’m absolutely stunned by it. It has a deep but subtle and relaxing look that I love.


Tips for Painting During Pregnancy

Choose a zero to low VOC paint.

If you Google “pregnancy safe paint”, you’ll find articles that say a degree of answers from “yes, it’s ok to paint after 14 weeks of pregnancy” to “you should only paint with low VOCs” to “no you really shouldn’t paint at all pregnant”.

Ultimately, it comes down to your comfort level so take this advice with a grain of salt as the information comes from forums, but in various forums, Farrow & Ball is listed again and again as a pregnancy safe paint because of its low VOCs.

The consensus from these forums seems to be that to be pregnancy-safe, paints should have zero VOCs or less than 5 g/l.

A handful of Farrow & Ball’s paints are under 5 g/l including their two most popular finishes, which you’re likely to use: Estate Emulsion and Modern Emulsion.

  • 3g/l VOCs – Estate Emulsion is a very flat matte (2% sheen, our ‘signature’ look).
  • 2g/l VOCs – Modern Emulsion is still matte (7% sheen) but a bit more hard-wearing and washable.
    • This is the one I chose for the baby’s nursery because it’s more washable and yes, like their site says, it’s still quite matte!
    • This is a good option for the bathroom, kitchen and children’s toys/furniture.

Have someone else paint for you if you’re pregnant.

Farrow & Ball Pink Ground, nursery pink paint that's a safe paint for nurseries
Pretending I’m painting for the ‘gram… Mike actually painted!

Despite using a zero to low VOC paint, you’ll still want to limit your exposure to paint. Thus, if it’s possible ask someone to paint for you out or hire a professional.

Filter and air out the room as much as possible before use.

Paint fumes are the worst 72 hours after painting but this company says that VOCs can continue to evaporate into the air six months after you’ve painted. As a result, here are some precautions to be as safe as possible for mom and baby:

  • Don’t use a room for at least 72 hours after painting.
  • Use a HEPA air filter while painting and after.
  • Paint the baby’s room as far as advance as possible (ideally 2-3 months in advance).
  • Wear a mask with activated carbon filters to absorb toxic chemical vapors.

Get masks with activated carbon filters on Amazon.


Is Farrow & Ball Worth It?

Farrow & Ball Pink Ground, nursery pink paint that's a safe paint for nurseries
applying the first coat

If you’ve taken a look at Farrow & Ball’s paints, the second thing you might notice (the first being how gorgeous its colors are) is the cost of the paint. It’s definitely more pricy than most paints on the market but for good reason.

Even before pregnancy, normal paints would make me really sick. I’d get headaches and flu-like achiness all over my body. Sometimes the left side of my face would even swell up. I have fibromyalgia and ulcerative colitis- not sure if it’s related to those illnesses.

Consider me your human chemical safety tester!

I had no symptoms while my husband painted with Farrow & Ball. I even would come in the room sometimes to take photos or to check how it was going and was perfectly fine whereas normally, for days after painting, I’d have to avoid the painted room or even leave the apartment fully for a couple of days (depending on the type of paint).

Since this is a paint you’re considering for your baby and paints continue to emit VOCs days to months after a room has been painted, it’s definitely worth getting this low VOC paint for the health of your newborn baby.

Furthermore, the Modern Emulsion paint I got:

  • is rated A+ for indoor air quality (specifically the French Indoor Air Quality Decree N° 2011-321 – Arrêté April 2011),
  • only has max. 2g of VOCs/liter (under 5g is a good option for baby safe paint),
  • is mildew resistant,
  • has a gorgeous, deep but subtle color
  • and is scrubbable, which is great just in case baby turns into a toddler who likes to draw on the walls.

I am absolutely in love with the color of the nursery pink paint, Pink Ground, but above anything, the fact that I didn’t get sick from this paint is a clear sign that it’s worth getting.

Health should always take priority for yourself and your family!


Other Uses for This Paint

According to Farrow & Ball’s website, “Our Estate Emulsion, Estate Eggshell, Modern Emulsion, Modern Eggshell, Exterior Masonry, Exterior Eggshell and Full Gloss have all been independently tested and approved to meet Toy Safety Standards Safety of Toys Part 3: Migration of certain elements (EN 71 3:2013+A3:2018).”

This means you can use those Farrow & Ball finishes listed above as nursery furniture paint and even paint on toys!

Of course, with all of Farrow & Ball’s varying finishes and utmost gorgeous colors, you don’t have to only use their paint for nurseries. You can use their paint all over your home, inside and out.


Check out the nursery pink paint I got, Pink Ground, here on their website or get inspiration for any room or project you have in mind by going to their homepage.


Thanks for making it all the way down to the end of this post about paint for nurseries! If you found it to be helpful, you might like what I share on my Instagram @sarchetrit. You might like what I post on there too.

Till then, thanks for stopping by, and have a great day!

xo,
Sarah


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