If you’ve spent any time on a historic Charleston SC front porch (sipping sweet tea in a rocking chair, my guess), you’ll notice haint blue (that robin’s egg color) painted on everyone’s porch ceilings. This trend is not purely for style: haint blue serves a practical and metaphysical purpose.
What’s With The Blue Porch Ceilings In Charleston? Haint Blue Serves A Practical And Metaphysical Purpose
Charleston architecture, home design, and style are like nowhere else in the country. Ever noticed the most porch ceilings here in the low country are painted a particular hue of blue? This isn’t just a fashion statement: it’s rooted in Charleston’s rich multicultural history.
Yes, these days Charleston homes are more modernized, but they’re still loaded with history. Many houses on the downtown peninsula are adorned with Haint Blue porch ceilings from the 1800s. The word Haint is the Gullah pronunciation of “haunt.”
Charleston’s Rich History Rooted In Gullah Culture
If you’re new to Charleston, it won’t take long for you to hear the term “Gullah” when referring to style, history, or an ingredient on a menu feature.
Gullah Culture: Located on the Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia are communities of people who are the descendants of enslaved Africans. They have a unique culture that is directly linked to West Africa. In South Carolina, this group of Americans of African descent and the language they speak are referred to as Gullah (Gul-luh).
Haint Blue Window Frames And Porch Ceilings: Keeps The Spirits (And Wasps) Away
In Gullah tradition, troubled spirits trapped between life and death can’t cross over water, so many porches and window frames were painted a pale blue to keep spirits from entering.
Spirits aren’t the only thing that these blue ceilings are said to keep out. Many believe that painting porch ceilings light blue (to resemble the sky) will keep spiders, wasps, and birds from building nests. The sky blue color keeps these insects and animals away because they look for “hard” surfaces to build their nests.
Add Curb + Local Culture Appeal: Bring A Pop Of Haint Blue To Your Charleston Home
Haint blue is one of many historic colors you’ll notice sprinkled throughout Charleston’s home culture– why not add it to yours?
If your considering selling your home – add a touch of Haint blue to your porch ceilings to add some Charleston nostalgia and history to your house (and then don’t forget to call me to help you list or find the home of your dreams, of course!)
If you’re thinking of repainting or sprucing up your current home, try to add those lighter colors. If you’re working with a lot of neutrals, check out my tips on how to decorate with neutrals without being boring (Haint blue goes fabulous with beiges, taupes, and neutrals.) Not only will it help keep pests away, but it will allow you to enjoy your porch for longer hours!