Blue Ceilings – From Folklore to Modern Design
Blue ceilings – from folklore to modern design on large Southern porches — are a long-standing tradition, and for good reason. The color’s resemblance to the sky and water has been shown to have calming effects on people, making them feel relaxed. The soft shade also reflects light, which is especially helpful in the evening hours.
The Gullah Geechee people, descendants of Africans who lived on the rice, indigo and Sea Island cotton plantations of the lower Atlantic coast of the U.S., used the color to keep evil spirits away from their homes. They believed that the restless spirits (known as haints) couldn’t cross water, which is what the blue resembled. So they painted their doors and windows blue to protect their homes.
Blue Ceilings: A Dive into Their Folklore Origins and Modern Design Revival
While it has never been proven scientifically, many believe that the blue paint repelled insects as well. This probably stems from the fact that old milk paints were usually mixed with lye, a known insect repellent. Since the paint would fade over time, it had to be repainted every few years — giving the hue its reputation as a pest-repellent.
Today, blue ceilings are a popular choice for homeowners across the South and beyond. They are a lovely complement to the moss, oak leaves and terra-cotta tones commonly found on Victorian and Colonial houses in historic neighborhoods. For this Oakleaf Cottage by Sherwin-Williams, designer Brandon Ingram chose a shade of blue called Waterscape and paired it with a neutral shade on the floor and trim.