Did You Know (Blue Porch Ceilings)

porches on home in Annisquam with porch ceilings painted sky blue

Photo by E.J. Lefavour

why pale blue paint is used on the porch ceilings of many older homes in New England?  There are actually a number of possible reasons.  The blue paint is said to reflect light.  To anyone standing inside the house, the day would seem brighter, even if it were overcast.  Some say it keeps the porch cooler in summer.  Still others believe that blue chases away evil spirits.  In the South, especially in South Carolina, the ceiling porch blue is called haint blue (haint being a spirit or ghost) and is used to ward off evil spirits.  Some people also believe that the color discourages insects that mistake it for the open sky and avoid it for fear of being caught in the open and eaten by flying predators.  Some just do it because it is pretty.

E.J. Lefavour

www.khanstudiointernational.com

7 comments

  • I have read that the lime in the old paint is what repelled insects and birds from building nests, so modern paint is not as effective – though still pretty!

  • It’s true! When I was growing up in Charleston, SC you could see a lot of the Geechee homes on the sea islands with blue door and window trim. This was meant to ward off haints and plat-eyes. I’m still in Charleston, and it has become stylish these days for folks to paint their porch ceilings “haint-blue”.

  • My Dad always painted our porch ceiling blue in central Pennsylvania. We had a huge porch that ran the length of the house and he always kept the ceiling sky blue. He said it was good luck… we also had a Pennsylvania Dutch Hex sign!

  • Our porch ceiling was blue in our last home – I was told the previous owner was from Italy, and that is what everyone does in Italy!

  • Blues are my favorite colors! If it helps get rid of the evil spirits all the better! I’ll use them more. Thanks EJ!

  • I just love it when people connect with a post, whether to give additional info, share their own experience with the subject, or just because they enjoyed it or learned something new. I love Jenna’s post that it is what everyone in Italy does – now I want to know why. Paul, I love blue too, and now I know why God made the sky blue.

  • …and what a perfectly lovely photo to illustrate your post!

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