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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I Painted My Kitchen with No VOC Paint

For 6 years, Husband and I have been going around and around about what color to paint the kitchen. Since he is the Head Cook he wanted a say in how I decorated “His Domain.” I guess I can give him that. I’m also fine with him calling the kitchen His Domain. Heck, he can call it Shirley for all I care as long as he cooks my dinner!

Being a green blogger, I’m supposed to automatically choose a low or no VOC (volatile organic compound) paint to improve the indoor air quality for the health of my family. However, I had a lot of questions and concerns if a low or no VOC paint job would last. Turns out, my concerns were not such a big deal. I found out that we painted our bedroom six years ago with a paint that qualifies as a low VOC paint, even thought the company doesn’t advertise it that way. The bedroom paint job has held up over time but as for a low VOC paint, it SMELLED just as much as the mistint of conventional paint I bought from the Habitat Restore to paint the laundry room.


Since that stinky low VOC paint job held up over time, I was ready to take a chance on a no VOC paint. Hopefully, with less stink.



I painted the kitchen with Dutch Boy Refresh paint in Twisted Knot. It’s a no VOC paint, so it’s not supposed to smell. Refresh has Arm and Hammer Baking Soda in it so it’s supposed to absorb odors for up to a year too. Perfect for our kitchen because we often cook fish and the smell lingers even with using the stove exhaust vent and burning a scented soy candle after dinner.

Here’s the before:

Blah builder's grade everything kitchen.


Here’s the mood board of what I’m working with.

Yes, I consider Blitzkrieg part of the color pallete.
He sheds like a machine, why fight it?

Here’s the after:


The kitchen isn't finished yet. I have a few more projects to show you before I post the final reveal.


Dutch Boy Refresh no VOC paint Pros:
  • The paint barely smelled and even then, it was only a faint odor. After a 24 hour drying time, we couldn’t smell anything. The real smell tester was Blitzkrieg. If we spray or use something smelly, he avoids it like the plague and voices his displeasure by cuddling up to the offender and giving them a big wet, sneeze in the face. The smell must have passed the Peke test because he supervised my paint job.

Blitzkrieg’s not dead from fumes. He’s a lazy Project Manager
and often sleeps on the job.


  • The coverage was FANTASTIC. My kitchen was supposed to use a little under two gallons of paint. I did two coats and only used one gallon of paint. That might be because I used such a light color of paint or because I primed the walls due to them being so damaged to begin with... In the future, I would still buy the recommended amount of Refresh paint to cover my room. I would rather have too much paint mixed than not enough. I ran into that problem when painting our bedroom and matching can be difficult.
  •  The twist and pour can. I’ve seen it advertised and though it was nice but I doubted it was worth the extra money. I was wrong! I can’t believe that I got so excited over the design of a paint can but I did. I didn’t have to scramble for a screw driver or church key (which is always buried under a drop cloth or something) to open the can. I didn’t have to worry about the paint drying out because I didn’t put the lid back on the can tightly. The built in handle didn’t cut into my fingers like the wire handle on a traditional can of paint.
  • Dutch Boy is based in Cleveland. That makes their paint local to me. Yay for buying local!

Dutch Boy Refresh no VOC paint Cons:

  • It’s not the least expensive paint I’ve used, but it’s on the upper end of the price scale. I think the coverage, no VOC aspects, and the twist and lock can make it worth the extra bit of money over my low VOC (and still somewhat stinky) brand of paint.
  • I think I went a little too light on the wall color. I might have played  it too safe. However, this isn’t Dutch Boy’s fault, but my own. They gave me a big fan deck of colors to choose from. Unlike other no VOC brands, Refresh comes in tons of shades, many that are as deep and as saturated as a conventional brand of paint.
  • For those of you who do not like plastic, Dutch Boy Refresh comes in a #2 plastic paint can. However, the nice thing about that for me is that I can rinse the paint out of the can when it is empty and put it in my recycling bin with the rest of my #2 plastic bottles. I can’t do that with a conventional paint can.
Yet again, I am blown away at how well a green product performs above or as well as its conventional and not so green counterpart because that is my test. If a green product doesn’t last as long as it’s conventional equivalent, to me it’s not worth the extra money I have to pay for it. Sorry environment but quality and performance matter just as much to me as being green. In this case, Dutch Boy no VOC paint surprised me in coverage, packaging, clean up, and smell. Only time will tell if the paint job lasts as long as its conventional counterpart but I’m confident it will.

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Dutch Boy provided me with Refresh no VOC paint to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% honest and my own.