Colors of Inspiration: Zero-VOC Turquoise Olympic Paint

Reader Contribution by Staff
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Five months ago, I was dreaming of a turquoise accent wall.  I drew inspiration from the serene things in life that I found beautiful — namely ocean water and chunky turquoise jewelry. After months of comparing the slightest nuances in shades of teal, turquoise, sea blue and green, I think I’ve finally narrowed down my color choices for an accent wall in my sweet little suburban apartment.

Olympic Paint and Stain sent me its collection of color swatches, appropriately called “Colors of Inspiration,” to help me find the best interior paint color for my accent wall. I knew I wanted to use Olympic Paint and Stain on my accent wall because the company provides a stellar selection of zero-VOC paint colors and zero-VOC primer — that means I won’t be polluting my indoor air quality while trying to bring a sense of calm to my living room!

Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are emitted as gases from everyday solids and liquids that we bring into our homes — from paints to particleboard — and can have adverse effects on your health. If you’re not really into getting that “paint high” from noxious chemicals, opt for low- or zero-VOC paint, and even when you’re painting, make sure to have proper ventilation — turn on a fan and crack a window!

Olympic Paint and Stain’s “Colors of Inspiration” swatch booklet contains more than 1,200 zero-VOC paint colors. Photo By Kim Wallace.

While I cooed over all sorts of beautiful shades — from fiery oranges to sweet pinks and moody plums — I was still set on finding the perfect shade of turquoise to splash upon my walls. Make no mistake — red is by far my favorite color — but there’s something so soothing about turquoise that I am always drawn to it. In narrowing down my color choices, I looked to items I already owned that seemed to be the perfect shade of turquoise and tried to match the swatches as closely as possible to those items.

Of course I have jeweled shoes that match the colors I’ve picked for my living room. My Thich Nhat Hanh postcard contains all the elements of calm, too: blue ocean water and soothing words. Photo By Kim Wallace.

Some of my favorite pieces of jewelry mimic the colors I’ve chosen for my living room. Those earrings even showcase my other furniture accent color — orange! Photo By Kim Wallace.

With several color swatches and my turquoise things scattered over my coffee table, I decided that these four colors from Olympic Paint and Stain were the best contenders for my living room accent wall: Pale Jade, Whirlpool, Mermaid’s Tail and San Juan Spritz.

They may look really similar here, but these paint colors are so different on the wall. Photo By Kim Wallace.

After priming my wall (never apply paint to bare walls — the color won’t be in its truest form!) with Olympic Zero VOC Interior Primer, I painted four test squares of my top turquoise choices. (Luckily, I have a large framed poster that lies against the accent wall, so I can cover these swatches when I don’t want to be distracted by these random squares against my stark-white wall!) I now have my favorites narrowed to two from these four colors. Which color do you like the best? Leave me a comment and help me choose!

Clockwise, from top left: Pale Jade, Whirlpool, San Juan Spritz, Mermaid’s Tail. Photo By Kim Wallace.

Kim Wallace is a freelance writer and editor in Kansas City. Contact her at