Pretty & Practical: The History of “Haint Blue” Porch Ceilings

updated Jul 23, 2020
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Looking for a quick project to liven up the front porch? How about a little something blue? Frequently considered just a Southern superstition, blue porch ceilings have actually been a long-standing tradition in many parts of the country for centuries. Giving your own outdoor space a hint of blue is the perfect way to play into history, and it just might keep wasps, evil spirits and nightfall away, too.

Once upon a time in the deep South, many people painted their porch ceilings a specific shade of Haint Blue, a soft blue-green, to ward off evil spirits called “haints.” It’s especially common in the historic homes around Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina. Although ghosts and goblins might not be front-of-mind for modern homeowners, many continue the tradition of blue porch ceilings to keep ties to their home’s Southern roots.

But blue porch hues aren’t exclusively Southern. Further up along the East coast, blue porches are still prevalent in cities like Boston and Philadelphia where Victorian homes are popular. Victorian-era homeowners favored color inspired by nature, such as brown and olive green. Light blue porch ceilings, it turns out, match the color of the sky perfectly and help to visually extend daylight even after the sun has begun to set.

Sky blue paint might actually fool insects as well. Many people theorize that porches painted a soft blue will trick wasps and other insects into thinking it’s the sky, taking their nests elsewhere.

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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Whether the choice is based on superstition, getting back to nature or just because you think it’s a lovely color, blue porch ceilings are a wonderful way to add visual interest to your outdoor space. These spaces prove a soft blue is the perfect hint of color to have above you during lazy summer nights.

  1. A farmhouse porch in New York, from Crisp Architects (via Houzz).
  2. Calhoun Mansion, the largest home in Charleston, South Carolina, photographed by Bill Ward.
  3. Photographer Paige Knudsen’s Home, shared on her blog.
  4. A front porch makeover from Jen of I Heart Organizing.
  5. A dusty blue dining porch from Soorikian Architecture.

And here are a few paint colors to get you started. Although Haint Blue is a specific shade, you can try whatever shade of blue or blue-green that suits your home.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)