Home Decorating Haint That Something? The Blue Porch Ceilings of the South

Haint That Something? The Blue Porch Ceilings of the South

We’re not a superstitious bunch, but we are aficionados of the unexpected—like a pop of soothing blue, also known as haint blue, on a porch ceiling. Though we’ve seen this colorful treatment on many homes in the Southern United States, we’ve noticed it in a variety of cities around the country, and that got us to wondering about the roots of the haint blue tradition. Where did it come from, and how is it used today?

Haint blue paint originates with the descendants of African slaves known as the Gullah or Geechee people of the South Carolina and George Lowcountry. They believed that haints—restless, troublemaking spirits of the dead that had not yet crossed over from the physical world to the noncorporeal one—could haunt a home, so they took a variety of measures to keep them from taking up residence. One of these was painting the porch ceiling—as well as openings like windowsills, shutters, and doors—with a watery blue-green shade that was meant to mimic water. Since the haints were unable to cross water, the blue paint protected the home and its occupants from evil.

While true haint blue is a soft blue-green shade, and was a milk paint wash, these days, the hue is a bit more open to interpretation. From aqua to a sun-washed cerulean, the many versions of haint blue make it easy to find one that works with your porch and house color. Here are a few of our favorite examples.



Photo via Dash & Albert



Photo via Dash & Albert


Charleston home haint blue ceiling

Photo via Realtor.com


Herlong Architects haint blue porch ceiling

Photo via Herlong Architects


Quinlan house Jamison Howard via Houzz

Photo via Houzz


West University New Orleans  Brickmoondesign via Houzz

Photo via Houzz


Our Town Plans blue porch ceiling

Photo via Our Town Plans


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marcia trodson May 4, 2015 at 9:59 pm

I work in a paint store and people are always asking me what color blue to paint their porch ceilings, it would have been nice if you listed the colors you used!

Fresh American May 5, 2015 at 9:48 am

Thanks for getting in touch, Marcia! You might try getting in touch with the original sources to request the color names; just click on the image and it will take you to the designer’s homepage. We’ll check in with Bunny Williams and she if she can provide the paint color she used. 🙂

Bertie May 5, 2015 at 8:26 pm

Haint blue is on the color chart at Ace hardware in Florence, S.C. My daughter used it and it’s Great.

Fresh American May 6, 2015 at 7:49 am

Thanks for the tip, Bertie!

Angela May 17, 2018 at 3:25 pm

There is actually a haint blue paint! Many of you not from the lowcountry wouldn’t know this but here it does exist! Sherwin Williams has the official color, and for those of you not residing in the southeast, go to your local store tel them to pull it from the historical Charleston selection (not displayed for the public, oddly) If they still can’t find the formula, kindly ask them to call the Charleston store, if your looking for the actual historic color and not a guess (which many people and sites show). Also, this color was painted to ward off mosquitoes as well which is obviously a huge problem here!


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