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Haint blue is a longstanding tradition for porch ceilings. Here, paint pros sound off on their favorite blue-green paint picks to help you get the look.
Haint blue is a longstanding tradition for porch ceilings, particularly in the South, where it is said to have originated with the Gullah Geechee people of the lower Atlantic coast. Some believed ghosts were unable to cross over water—the inspiration behind the blue-green hue—and a haint blue porch ceiling would therefore deter evil spirits from entering the home. The ingredients used in historical haint blue paint (namely lime and/or indigo) might also have been used to repel insects. The tradition has endured through the years, and today the term is commonly used to encompass a range of paint color shades within the blue-green family.
“Haint blue has withstood the test of time because it is such a staple and comforting home color choice,” says Ashley Banbury, Dutch Boy color marketing manager. Over the years, it has inspired plenty of shade varieties that suit a broad range of aesthetics and other complementary color schemes.
But before you commit, Michelle Marceny, founder and lead color designer for The Color Concierge, suggests testing the colors on the ceiling, as this unique application won’t have the same effect as some of your other paint jobs. “At a horizontal angle above your head, the colors will look completely different than if you paint them vertically on the walls,” she says.
As for nailing down that perfect shade of haint blue, color experts share their tips and picks for getting this historical hue just right.
How to Find the Right Haint Blue
“When selecting a haint blue color for your porch, consider the overall exterior color scheme and other decorative elements on the porch like furniture, planters, and the like,” says Erika Woelfel, VP of color and creative services for Behr. She explains that lighter blues often do well with light neutrals, white, and cream. When it comes to accents like doors and shutters, she suggests going dark (think navy blue and forest green) to provide a sense of lightness overhead.
Finding the ideal haint blue is a bit of a dance. Marceny says you’ll want to pick a color that’s bright enough to lighten up the porch but, at the same time, won’t read too neon. “I like to stick with an LRV (light reflectance value) between about 50 (darker) and 65 (lighter),” she says. “Use 50 for front porches with tons of light and 65 for front porches with more shade.”
The Best Haint Blue Paint Colors
Tender Blue (236-3DB) by Dutch Boy
Some porches are meant for gazing, especially if they’re tall and stately. For tall porches, Banbury suggests Tender Blue. “[It’s] a soft sky blue, reminiscent of a clear sky day—the perfect shade to draw the eye up to embrace a tall porch and add some charm and comfort,” she says.
If you’re already working with a traditional color scheme (particularly crisp whites), Banbury says Dutch Boy Lake Getaway is a haint blue paint color to consider as well. The subtle contrast between the white and soft haint blue delivers timeless appeal.
Tradewind (SW 6218) by Sherwin-Williams
Marceny says the soft green undertones and light reflective value of 62 of Tradewind make it a winner. It provides a soft yet notable companion, particularly for traditional farmhouses with white clapboard siding.
Moon Glass (S420-2) by Behr
Moon Glass is a mid-range gray-green with a smoothed over effect, says Woelfel. Its reflective quality adds interest without demanding attention. Subtly is key with this haint blue paint color.
Rochester Gray (429-2DB) by Dutch Boy
“A stunning light, almost teal choice, this is the ideal color choice if you want some blue with a tint of gray,” says Banbury. If you’re looking for a similar choice that skews just a little lighter and whiter than Rochester Gray, Banbury suggests going for Dutch Boy Silvered Teal. It’s always important to play with tone nuance to see what works best with your existing color scheme and accents before committing. Even slight differences between two colors can make all the difference.
Air Blue (S460-1) by Behr
Haint blue can sometimes lean more toward the beige color family, while others draw on green tones. When it comes to this pick though, there’s no mistaking it sits well within the blue color family. “Behr Air Blue is a cool and breezy powdery blue that when carefully balanced with light undertones brings life to any space,” says Woelfel.
Woodlawn Blue (HC-147) by Benjamin Moore
The more subtle effect of Woodlawn Blue can provide a transformative effect, especially as the levels of sun exposure change throughout the day. “I especially like this color for darker front porches because it really pops,” says Marceny. “It almost borders on being an aqua color, but in a muted and beautiful way.”
Niebla Azul (SW 9137) by Sherwin-Williams
Don’t shy away from pairing a dark blue house with a haint blue ceiling. According to Marceny, the dual tones can create a beautiful mix. Niebla Azul is both bluer and darker than some of the other haint blue picks. When working with dark color schemes, Marceny says a darker ceiling selection will oftentimes work best.
Ethereal Mood (MQ3-52) by Behr
Taking a slightly more subtle path than some other powder blue options, Ethereal Mood has an undeniable optimistic energy thanks to its light-reflecting abilities. Woelfel says it’s a great pick for adding an illuminating element to your porch.
Palladian Blue (HC-144) by Benjamin Moore
Some homes call for a more subtle take on the haint blue porch ceiling, while others demand a bit of drama. If you find yourself in the latter camp, give Palladian Blue a whirl. Marceny says it takes a greener stance and is ideal for lending a dramatic pop of color.
Tidewater (M450-2) by Behr
Tidewater is best described as a gentle aqua with subtle green tones. Woelfel says this ocean-like quality can go a long way in creating a restorative effect both for your home and those who spend some time on your porch.
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