Haint Blue Paint Colors: A Southern Tradition

Posted on Jun 06, 2023 by Gentry Stafford
Posted in Color Inspiration

Blue Porch Ceiling Painted Harbor Haze from Benjamin Moore

Pictured above on ceiling: Harbor Haze (2136-60) from Benjamin Moore.  

Why do southern porches have blue ceilings? 

“First, there’s the folklore," explained Ellen O’Neill, past director of strategic design intelligence at Benjamin Moore. "Then, there’s the feel-good factor." 

The Gullah Geechee people are descendants of Africans who were enslaved on the rice, indigo and Sea Island cotton plantations of the lower Atlantic coast.  Many came from the rice-growing region of West Africa and settled in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. They have had a tradition of painting ceilings light blue to match the sky for centuries. People of this time were influenced by spiritual traditions that included wearing blue beads and clothing, because it was thought to offer protection. The Gullah Geechee group used the dye of the indigo plants from the plantations they were working on to scare away “haints,” or in other words “haunts.” The blue coloring would trick the haints into believing that it was the sky. 

Over time, more people participated in this trend. Children started painting their porch ceilings ‘haint’ blue, because their parents did, and so the tradition continued. It became less known for scaring ghosts away, but more known for keeping wasps and birds away. It has been known to keep them from nesting since they believe that the blue represents the sky. Some people even call it dirt dauber blue.  

Beaufort County is one of the places where haint blue originated from and is very popular. Explore Beaufort states, “Haint blue porch ceilings are more of a tradition that helps keep Beaufort's storied cultural past alive and well”. 

Our Beaufort manager, Grecia Quintana, put together Spectrum Paint’s official haint blue color, SP 51. "The formula is loosely based on Duron's old Piazza Blue formula from the Historic Charleston Color Collection. Our version is just slightly “cleaner”.  

haint blue paint inspiration

We recommend our Empress Exterior Satin in Haint Blue, SP 51, for your porch ceiling!

Below, we'll explore more popular blue paint colors for southern porches:

According to Painting Superior, “Blue Allure by Benjmain Moore is a very soft blue that goes well with white. It has a slight green undertone and look amazing on walls as an accent wall or ceilings on porches for a more southern look.” 

blue allure paint on ceiling

Pictured above: Blue Allure (771) from Benjamin Moore by Superior Painting of South Carolina. 

haint blue paint ideas and color inspiration

Pictured below is Bless'er House’s ceiling, painted her favorite haint blue, Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue (HC-144).  

palladian blue paint inspiration

Photo Courtesy of Bless'er House 

Lastly, we have Benjamin Moore Oil Cloth, CSP-760, on the ceiling of Boutique/Unique Gift Shop, Amidst the Alders, that you can shop both online and in person in Port Royal, South Carolina. 

oil cloth color inspiration

Pictured above is Oil Cloth on the ceiling at Amidst the Alders. 

To buy color samples of Haint Blue, click here for Benjamin Moore and here for Spectrum Paint Empress color samples.

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