If I ask you to close your eyes and picture your dream porch. What does it look like? Got a picture in your head?
Here’s mine, it’s big wrap-around porch with rocking chairs, beside at least one of the rockers is a lazy dog, there are hanging Macho Ferns, a cat sleeping on the steps, blue porch ceilings, and a glass of Iced Tea – it is after all the house wine of the South.
Even if you don’t live in the South, particularly the Deep South, if you have visited you’ve probably noticed our porch and balcony ceilings are often painted blue. Ever wondered why?
There is a theory that if you paint the ceilings blue of your New Orleans home – it will trick the spiders & wasps into thinking it’s the sky. Truth be told, this probably doesn’t work but does have some basis in history. Apparently back when the paint used was a milk paint- it often had lye in the composition and lye is an insect repellant. As time would wear the paint off, new paint with lye was reapplied and it did in fact probably help to keep the insect population down but not because they were fooled into believing it was the sky.
You’ve probably heard that expression but maybe you don’t really know what it means. Haint is a derivative of haunt, it simply means ghost or a restless spirit of the dead, that for whatever reason has not moved on from the physical world. So we paint our porch ceilings, but sometimes the door, and the window frames as well, “haint blue” to protect our home and ourselves and keep the spirits away. Why blue you ask? Well, blue represents water and I guess spirts can’t travel through or across water.
More daylight, please
Then there’s the aesthetics painting your ceilings a shade of blue- be it a soft powdery blue, a light-blue green or a blue with a drop of red in it just depends on your overall color scheme. However, there is no arguing the right shade of blue makes space feel calmer and more relaxing. It also can help give the illusion of extending the daylight hours.
So, I believe this is really why most people paint their ceilings blue. For generations, everyone has painted their ceilings blue, so when you buy your house and that ceiling isn’t blue – you paint it. After all your parents, your grandparents, your great-grandparents, so on and so forth all had blue porch ceilings. It’s a tradition. And if there’s one thing we love in New Orleans and the South in general, it’s a tradition.
Feeling Inspired to Paint It Blue?
In a sea of blue, it can be overwhelming. Here are a few of our picks!
Sherwin Williams, Aviary, SW 6778
Sherwin William, Calypso, SW 6950
Benjamin Moore, Palladian Blue, HC-144
Benjamin Moore, Tidal Wave, 2061-50
Farrow & Ball, Pavilion Blue, No. 252
Farrow & Ball, Parma Gray, No. 27
Valspar, Sea Salt Blue, CI191
Glidden, Tropical Surf, 30BG 72/069
Behr, Tahitian Breeze, P450-2
Tip: When I had my balcony ceilings painted, my painter mixed the primer and a blue and it turned out to be the perfect shade…unfortunately with no name!
Alright y’all get those ceilings painted, the ice tea ready and invite us over for some porch sitting!
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