Blue Sky Ceilings – A History

fotor_(24) copy_FotorSo it turns out there’s quite a tradition of blue ceilings, especially on porches, and especially in the South. While I can’t claim that our living room or dining room falls into either of those categories, it did pique my curiosity. So I did a little digging.

The Victorian Influence

Apparently sky blue ceilings were popular with the Victorians, who felt that earth toned walls and blue porch ceilings were a great way to bring the colors of nature into their homes. The blue ceiling was a cheery reminder of better weather even when it was cold and gray out. With Seattle weather being what it is, I can see why this Victorian idea might be relevant today.

Shoo Fly

There’s also a popular theory that blue paint is a pretty reliable insect repellant. The theory goes that insects are fooled into thinking the ceiling is the sky, and therefore not a good place to nest. There isn’t much stock to this sadly, but it is a nice thought.

Haint Blue

The majority of the blue ceilings I’ve seen have been on grand Southern porches. They’ve been popular there for centuries, and the tradition lives on. But there’s a name for that color blue, Haint Blue. A “Haint”, for those who don’t speak Southern, is a restless spirit. And the painting of ceilings, doors, shutters, or window frames Haint Blue is meant to protect the home and its inhabitants from evil spirits. Said to originally stem from the Gullah belief and common European superstition that angry spirits cannot cross water, the color is meant to confuse and trick bad luck from entering your home.

There are some really beautiful examples of historic buildings with Haint Blue porch ceilings, and as charming a tradition this was I didn’t think that was what was going on with my ceilings.

[Garden District- New Orleans, LA]

Ceiling Murals

I’m pretty sure whoever did or had this done did it because they thought it would be beautiful, unique, and artistic. And it is. Someone spent hours painting those puffy clouds up there. It’s kind of cool. There’s a history to it. And like I’ve said before, it grows on you.

Ceiling murals are coming back in style. Their quirky and unique, without being disruptive to the overall style of a room.


Painted Ceiling

Here are some more blue ceilings from around the web for a little inspiration.

Modern Country


Welcome to The Blue Sky House

Photo Aug 04, 6 31 26 PM

A few months after my husband and I got married in 2012, we realized what many newlyweds tend to realize, that we needed more space. The housing market was starting to bounce back so we jumped into the real estate fray, bound and determined to get something good while we could still afford it.  We found ourselves a smooth-talking real estate agent who had helped a few friends find their places, and we started looking.

A few months in, the market was obviously taking off – and there were fewer and fewer houses available. We put a few bids down, but either something in the contract was fishy (one house had been leased out for two years) or we were out-bid. We lucked out when this house came up for sale, our agent told us. It had a great footprint, was well maintained, was located in our ideal neighborhood… So we went to take a look.

I’ll be honest here, my first reaction when we walked in the door was laughter. Slightly bitter laughter, even. Like, you-have-got-to-be-kidding-me laughter. This is why.

blue sky ceilings

Who, I ask, who paints their admittedly gorgeous high ceilings sky blue with white puffy clouds? Did Michelangelo live here? Is this the Sistine Chapel? No.

sistine chapel

And as we walked through the house, it got better. Old peeling linoleum, weird hole next to the fireplace, 80’s chic wallpaper in all the bathrooms, a jungle of a backyard, mismatched counter-tops, more blue sky ceilings in a bright, bright pink bedroom Ugh. No. Wasn’t going to happen.

It’s got great bones, they said.

Everything wrong with it is cosmetic, they said.

It’s in an awesome neighborhood, they said.

We went back to look at it a couple more times before I caved and said yes, OK, let’s do this. Fast forward a month or two and there we were out front, leaning against a U-haul waiting for the current residents to hand us the keys.

The family dallied, chatting, laughing, saying goodbye to their home of the past five years. They took a lot of pictures of the ceiling. I realized they loved that house, those ceilings, because they were pretty special. Their life took place under those ceilings and it wasn’t so much the style that was important but the memories created. The house was it’s own character in their story.  They had to say goodbye.

Now those ceilings are a character in our story. We still have them, two years later. We’ve painted at least one wall in almost every room in the house, but that ceiling is still blue and more chipper than a summer’s day. We’ve deforested the backyard. Tiled the master bath. Welcomed our first child home under that ceiling.

Let me tell you, it grows on you. One day I too will be sad to say goodbye.