If you Ain’t Got Haint you Ain’t Got Blue
Have you ever heard of haint blue? It’s a historical porch color found throughout South Carolina and Georgia, imported to the region from enslaved people brought from West Africa known as the Gullah Culture. The practice of painting porch ceilings blue is thought to have originated as a way to ward off evil spirits. “Haint” meaning a ghost or spirit is the Southern form of the word “haunt”. The thought being that the spirits would not cross water and the blue would ward them off. I’ve also seen it used in shutters and doors in Charleston, SC. A few years ago while photographing a local plantation, Woodburn, in Pendleton, SC the director told me the color was also thought to ward off insects and that was why it was so often used on porches, verandas and piazza we so love in South Carolina. Also, because the color mimics the sky it creates a more open and calm feeling for your porch.
When my wife and I decided to build our home blue became our accent color so haint blue was a no brainer for a southern home. Doing my research into the historical color turned up so many shades for haint blue from almost navy to sky blue, to electric blue to greenish blues verging on lime.
When I select ceiling colors generally I choose a light hue rather than white. It makes your trim pop and gives more energy to the space. Rarely do visitors even realize your interior ceilings are colored. So for our home’s interior we chose a light blue for the ceiling and then a darker blue for the porches. The increased lighting outside usually calls for a darker or more saturated hue than inside. So what is my choice for haint blue? Benjamin Moore’s Chesapeake Blue fits the bill best for me, but really any blue you like will do!
Make sure you consider the color of your brick or exterior materials when choosing your blue as your wall colors could clash if you get the wrong shade. Some other paint colors to consider are Ben Moore’s Antiquan Sky, Paradiso, Breath of Fresh Air, Windy Sky and Fairview blue, but really anything in the blue-green family will work as there is no specific shade used for haint blue.