As the cold weather set in this season I turned to painting the dining and living rooms of my new house. I wanted to use an eco friendly paint and had previously decided I would use one of the low VOC paint brands I have previously mentioned. I settled on the Benjamin Moore Aura Low VOC Paint brand for interiors.
All I can say is, Wow. Benjamin Moore has always exceeded my expectations, but Aura really goes above and beyond. I had not used Benjamin Moore for several years because I sold another place and rented for a while. Back then, pretty much all that was available was their “Regal” line. Great colors, but not particularly low-VOC as I recall. I was glad to hear they had since added “green” alternatives.
In terms of consistency, Aura is deliciously thick, closer to molasses than runny water. That ensures almost no splatter as you dip your roller or brush and then take it to the wall.
When you apply it, Aura goes on smoothly and dries very quickly, much faster than other paint brands I have used. You can easily paint an entire room, let it dry, and then paint it for its second coat an hour later.
Its ability to cover the underlying paint is excellent. I had a jaundiced yellow color I was painting over, a truly dreadful shade. Aura was able to completely cover the old color with a single coating. A second coating was mostly necessary to correct minor painting errors the first time, and also to lend an even richer hue to the finished wall–but you could probably get away with a single coat if you are a complete perfectionist the first time around.
The Aura brand is “intended” for use with Benjamin Moore’s Affinity collection (although I believe the base Aura paint can be used with any of Benjamin Moore’s color collections.) Affinity is a grouping of 144 colors that the company says are specially selected to all go well with each other. This is important for me, you see, because I am not a professional interior decorator and I’m guaranteed to choose colors that go together terribly!
The collection seemed rather low-intensity for my tastes, but I gave the colors a chance and I’m very glad I did. My dining room was transformed by a combination of “Caliente” red and “Buttered Yam” orange, while my living room looks like a peaceful oasis with the light silvery-sage “Wind Chime.” The colors have an incredible depth and vibrancy to them that bring the rooms to life.
Consumer Reports gives Benjamin Moore Aura high marks for things like wearability and scrub resistance. However I have not had the paint on the wall for enough time to say whether I agree or not.
Aura is certified eco friendly by third parties. It bears the GreenGuard certification for low voc paint emissions, and is also certified by the California Collaboration for High Performance Schools (CHPS). It is also usable for LEED (eco friendly) green building construction.
Aura is not cheap. It is considerably more expensive than other options from Benjamin Moore and other brands. However, you get what you pay for. You don’t have to deal with headache-inducing, environment-harming volatile organic compounds. You get a paint that performs incredibly, dries quickly, and looks stunning. Personally, I would never use anything else for my home’s walls even though it hurts the wallet.
Pro’s: low voc paint brand, looks amazing, goes on great
Con’s: it’s expensive
Why it’s green: low voc paint brands reduce toxic emissions that could cause health or other problems.
Green certifications: GreenGuard, CHPS, LEED