Blue is a popular paint color used all throughout the home, but to see where it really thrives, you have to look up. Painting the ceiling of a porch blue, especially lighter shades of blue, has been a trend in the South for centuries. The trend has spread throughout the country in recent years, and blue porch ceilings can now be seen popping up everywhere.
But why are sky blue porches so popular? There are many different theories!
The blue porch ceiling has been a characteristic of southern homes for hundreds of years. It is thought to have originated from an old superstition regarding evil spirits known as “Haints”. People believed that these ghost-like spirits could only be stopped with water, so people would paint their ceilings as well as their door and window frames a shade of blue to prevent the Haints from entering their homes.
The fear of being attacked by these evil spirits spread throughout the south and the shade of blue used became known as “Haint Blue”. Whether due to old myth or respect for tradition, Haint Blue remains in use today.
Some people also insist that blue paint can be used as an insect repellant. While mosquitos don’t threaten to take your soul or possess your home like Haints, they can be quite annoying - and you certainly don’t want them in your home. People began painting their porch ceilings blue to fool mosquitos and other bugs into thinking it was part of the sky so bugs wouldn’t linger too long.
This theory probably comes from the past when blue paint was made with an ingredient called “lye”. Lye is a natural bug repellant and therefore enforced the idea that blue paint drives bugs away. Most blue paint doesn’t use lye anymore but many people have stood by the idea of tricking bugs into thinking the ceiling is the sky.
Another theory explaining the popularity of blue porch ceilings is simply the calming and brightening effect the color has in general. Blue is often used to lighten a space and implement an overall natural and soothing atmosphere. What better place to use this color than the porch, a historical and notorious center of relaxation?
This practice is thought to have originated in the Victorian era when natural, earth tones were preferred. The outdoors and nature were important to Victorians, so being able to imitate a perfect and sunny day even during a storm was a valued home feature.
No matter the reason you choose for painting your porch ceiling blue, this is a great project for homeowners to consider starting. So ward off those evil spirits, mosquitos and rainy days by giving yourself a blue sky everyday!
For more ideas of what to do with blue paint that can make your home worth more, click here.
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Photo: Aaron Hawkins, Flickr