Haint Blue, a Traditional Paint Color with a Haunted History

Blue Ceiling1
blue ceiling1
Whether you are warding off evil spirits, bugs, or cloudy days, haint blue may be for you!

Painting porch ceilings blue is a practice originally adopted in the old South, inspired by several myths and superstitions.  The Southern tradition made its way north and has had a revival with new generations of homeowners.  There are a few interesting and compelling reasons you might choose to carry on this American ritual and paint your porch ceiling and other parts of your home haint blue or some other shade resembling a clear blue sky.

Ward Off Evil Spirits

The color haint blue got its name from the belief that it could ward off evil spirits.  The term “haint” was originally a variation of the word “haunt.”  Haints are lost souls or the dead’s restless spirits.  According to the Southern belief, blue paint applied to the porch ceiling as well as door and window trim can keep haints away.

evil spirits
If only this porch had a haint blue ceiling, they would not have to worry about the evil spirits lurking on the porch.

It’s reported that haint blue paint was first used by African slaves in the South.  According to Gullah culture, the color haint blue is representative of water; and evil spirits aren’t able to pass over water.  (Gullah culture is from a group of people in the coastal areas of Georgia, South Carolina, and northern Florida who were of African ancestry.)

Ward off Insects

Haint blue is also believed to have the good purpose of deterring spiders, wasps, and other insects from setting up house on porch ceilings.  The myth is that the insects are fooled into thinking that the blue ceiling is an extension of the big, blue sky; and they move on instead of settling in.

There was a time when this belief was more than just a myth.  In early days when the blue paint was made with milk paint formulas, an ingredient that was used actually did repel insects.  The formula for milk paint lacked durability and has long been replaced with other paint formulas which don’t have any inherent qualities for repelling insects.  But the belief lives on that you’ll have fewer insects on your porch with haint blue paint.

Invite Calm

Porches provide a nice retreat, especially if equipped with comfy chairs and ceiling fans.  You can enjoy the comfort of the indoors with the pleasure of being outdoors, but without uncomfortable elements of weather.  A haint blue ceiling creates even more of a calm atmosphere, making relaxation easy.

Many believe that part of the reason a blue porch ceiling is perfect is because it’s like the natural sky on a clear day.  It lightens up the space.  Haint blue evokes nature beautifully.

Choose Your Favorite Shade

Haint blue isn’t one specific color.  Rather, it’s a range of hues, all of which emulate different colors of the sky.  One way to choose your shade of blue for the porch ceiling is to determine which looks best with the look of the house.  According to home design experts, blue should work with any style of house; the trick is to choose the right shade of blue.

Traditional homes typically look perfect with light shades of haint blue.  Contemporary homes, on the other hand, are often perfectly accented with a bold blue color for the porch ceiling.

If you’ve never heard about the myths surrounding haint blue, start taking notice of porch ceiling colors.  You can check for insects and signs of evil spirits while you’re at it!

Photo Credit: lakelou, energetic spirit

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