For generations, it has been traditional to paint porch ceilings blue. In the South, the pretty blue-green color often used for porch ceilings is called haint blue. The Gullah people in South Carolina believed that by painting your porch ceiling, windows and door trims a watery blue, you would scare away the haints (like “haunts”) or evil spirits that were scared to cross water. It was also thought that you could trick the evil spirits into thinking the blue was the sky and so that they would be drawn to toward the porch ceiling instead of going inside your home.
Another theory behind the use of blue for porch ceilings is that a blue ceiling acts as a bug repellant–that the bugs will, like the evil spirits of Gullah lore, get fooled into thinking it is the sky. Originally, the paint that was used to paint ceilings had lye in it, which is a natural bug repellant, so the paint may have had an effect in repelling insects even if the critters were not deceived by the faux sky.
In many cases, I imagine the choice of blue for porch ceiling paint is based not only on tradition, but also on its being a pretty and peaceful color that helps make the porch a great place to relax and watch the world go by. Blue evokes sky and water—two nice associations. It also lightens up the space and, as sunset gives way to dusk, has the effect of extending the daylight out on the porch.
Here are some pretty examples of blue painted porch ceilings. Where available, I have included the name of the paint color.
Other paints that would be beautiful for porch ceilings include Benjamin Moore Woodlawn Blue, Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue, and Sherwin-Williams Rainwashed.
Don’t these pretty porches make you feel ready for summer?