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Why You'll Find Haint Blue Paint on Many Homes in the Southeast

The Story Behind This Charming Color

Looking for advice on which color to paint the ceiling of your front porch? If you ask someone from the southern part of the United States, you may find that the overwhelming response is blue. And not just any blue, but a very specific hue called Haint Blue.

Haint Blue Porch

Haint Blue is similar to a soft, Robin’s Egg blue. Although this color has become somewhat of a traditional choice of porch ceiling paint, many people have not heard the story behind it. Its history contains some pretty interesting folklore that has faded over time and often homeowners don't know how the color gained popularity long ago. There was a time when haint blue was not simply an aesthetic choice, but a matter of home security.

Many years ago, in the low country of South Carolina and Georgia, enslaved Africans utilized this pretty blue color to help fight off evil spirits that they called Haints. They believed that this particular color could prevent spirits from entering their homes.

Their culture taught that painting with the right color of blue, which was similar to water and also the sky, would prevent spirits from doing harm to people inside their homes. In fact, many think that the modern word 'haunt', may have been derived from the term 'haint'.

Over time, the descendants of the enslaved Africans from this coastal area in the southeastern United States became known as the Gullah Geechee. It was their belief that evil spirits could not cross over water, and if the ceilings of porches were painted to mimic water, these Haints would not be able to enter their homes.

Haint Blue Porch Southern Home

If these malevolent spirits believed the blue paint color was the sky, they would be fooled into thinking they were heading away from the home and further into the sky, thus creating a deterrent as well. Not only were porch ceilings painted blue, but often shutters and doors were included in the mix.

The low country area where the Gullah Geechee lived was well known for producing the Indigo plants, which were used to make the famous blue color. Even today, this porch painting tradition is still alive and well in many homes. Large commercial paint companies like Sherwin Williams sell a color named “Haint Blue”, which is a popular choice for homeowners.

If your belief system does not include haints or evil spirits, Haint Blue is nevertheless a charming and peaceful color choice for the ceiling of your covered porch. Some people even believe that applying this shade can help with pest control.

The legendary power of Haint Blue as an insect repellent has been passed on generationally as well, and some still maintain that mosquitos, bees, and even birds are kept away from porches because they perceive the paint to be the sky. However, a more scientific explanation has been offered that insects were deterred by the lye that was used to make paint in the past, and lye was known to repell insects.

We recommend creating an atmosphere of hospitality and serenity where you will greet and entertain your guests. Why not give Haint Blue a try?

Need more home advice about curb appeal, that doesn’t include evil spirits? Check out “Great Ways to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal.”

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