You don’t have to live south of the Mason-Dixon line to love classic Southern homes—yet you may have to be from the area to understand Southern architecture. Defined by history, charm and generations of heat survival, Southern-style houses are designed with unique features. While most people know about wrap-around porches or high ceilings, for example, it typically takes a Southerner to know terms such as “sleeping porch” and “hospitality door.”
Here are design terms specific to Southern homes.
Also called a Florida room, a sleeping porch hearkens back to the days before air-conditioning, when a porch offered overnight relief from the summer heat. Essentially a three-season room, this space typically has walls and windows, but no insulation or heating.
Haint Blue Porch Ceilings
From Savannah, Georgia to Charleston, South Carolina, Southern porches often feature blue ceilings. Known as haint blue, this blue-green shade is more than charming. It gets its name from its legendary ability to ward off “haints,” or spirits of the dead. This color is used for bottle trees, too.
Here’s a closer look at the history behind blue porch ceilings.
Coastal parts of the South often feature homes with elevated foundations, built on stilts to avoid potential flooding. Added bonus: On hot summer days, having a breeze beneath the first floor offers slight cooling.
Found on trim, doors and shutters throughout Charleston, South Carolina, Charleston Green is a color that, according to legend, dates back to post-Civil War. When Northerners sent black paint to rebuild the city, color-loving locals added yellow and green to make it their own.
Speaking of Charleston Green, it’s a popular color choice for joggling boards, those Lowcountry rocking benches that are essentially long, bowed boards held between two wood stands. Find them on front porches of Southern homes—and learn Charleston natives love joggling boards.
In Southern cities, especially Charleston, front porches may feature what’s known as a hospitality door—intended as a social cue to friends and neighbors. If the door was open, you knew you were welcome to drop by. Learn more about the charm of hospitality doors.
A distinguishing mark of Key West, Florida, eyebrow houses are 1800s-era homes where the gabled roof shades almost the entire second story of windows—lessening exposure to the sun’s heat.
Up next: Why houses in the South don’t have basements.
Iced Teas to Pair with Your Porch Swing
We have a large family, so we go through beverages quickly at our house. This thirst-quenching tea is simple to mix together and has a sparkling citrus flavor we all enjoy. —K. Kitell, Lenexa, Kansas
Beautiful basil and fresh raspberries lend bright color and refreshing flavor to this grown-up iced tea
. You’ll love the fun fizz and make-ahead convenience for parties. —Laurie Bock, Lynden, Washington
Sweet tea and cherry limeade are two of my favorite summer libations, so I decided to combine them—the results are wonderful. —Renee Page, Rochelle, Illinois
This calorie and caffeine-free tea has a delightful rosy color.—Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Greendale, Wisconsin
I love an ice-cold beer on a hot summer day. I also love sweet tea, so one day I got the great idea to mix the two. Wow! It was absolutely delish. I experimented with different flavorings, and this combination was my favorite. —Kelly Williams, Forked River, New Jersey
A pinch of baking soda eliminates bitterness in this smooth and easy-to-sip tea and it has just the right amount of sugar so it's not overly sweet. —kelseylouise, Taste of Home Community Member
A frozen orange or lemon slice in the glass looks pretty and helps keep this refreshing punch nice and cold. Using honey instead of sugar adds a sweet touch. —Sheila Bradshaw, Columbus, Ohio
I grow mint in the garden on my balcony. For this tea, I blend two of my favorite beverages—Moroccan mint tea and honeydew agua fresca. —Sarah Batt Throne, El Cerrito, California
I like to garnish this iced tea with some of our sweet Hawaiian pineapple. —Beverly Toomey, Honolulu, Hawaii
This recipe makes a gallon, so it's a great choice for a springtime party when you have a medium-size crowd. It freezes well, so feel free to make it ahead of time. —Arlana Hendricks, Manchester, Tennessee
Sweet iced tea is a southern classic, and this is a fabulous recipe for tea lovers or for a party. The concentrate will make 20 servings. —Natalie Bremson, Plantation, Florida
I have always loved iced tea with lemon, and this delightful thirst quencher just takes it one step further. Lemonade gives the drink a nice color too. I dress up each glass with a slice of lemon on the rim. —Gail Buss, New Bern, North Carolina
This agua de Jamaica is an iced tea made from hibiscus, which is tart and deep red like cranberry juice. Add rum if you like. —Adan Franco, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
One sip and you'll likely agree that this is the best flavored tea you've ever tasted. —Chris Wilson, Sellersville, Pennsylvania
A bumper crop of rhubarb and mint from my garden inspired me to create this thirst-quenching pick-me-up. Raspberries deepen the tea's vibrant red color, making the drinks a pretty addition to your table. —Laurie Bock, Lynden, Washington
Frozen raspberries lend fruity flavor and lovely color to this pretty iced tea that's good throughout the year. The recipe calls for just a few common ingredients and offers make-ahead convenience. —Lois McGrady, Hillsville, Virginia
You can’t have a summer gathering around here without this sweet tea to cool you down. It’s wonderful for sipping while basking by the pool. —Angela Lively, Baxter, Tennessee
Every special occasion deserves a refreshing beverage (and a lovely punch bowl). Our tea has a tangy flavor from lemonade, apricot nectar and mint. —Kay Chon, Sherwood, Arkansas
You need only a handful of ingredients to stir together this refreshing spring sipper. Its brilliant color and smile-fetching flavor will make a popular thirst quencher as the weather turns warm. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
Forget sugary (and boring) sodas for your next potluck and treat your family and friends to a refreshing homemade punch. —Crystal Bruns, Iliff, Colorado
I grow mint on my balcony, and this refreshing beverage is a wonderful way to use it. It combines two of my favorite drinks—Moroccan Mint Tea and Honeydew Agua Fresca. For extra flair, add some ginger ale. —Sarah Batt Throne, El Cerrito, California
I came up with this recipe because I'm not a fan of regular iced tea. This tea has the perfect combination of freshness and sweetness. The orange blossom water gives it a distinctive flavor. People often request the recipe after just one sip. —Juliana Gauss, Centennial, Colorado
I got this delicious tea recipe from a friend and make it about twice a week. It's such a refreshing drink. —Tammy Griffin, Frankston, Texas
My family has been making iced tea this way ever since I was a child. When I recently prepared it for a church function, everyone liked it so much that they asked for the recipe. — Diane C Kirkpatrick, Terre Hill, Pennsylvania
This colorful tea with its sweet spicy flavor is a great winter warmer-upper. The aroma is sure to bring guests to the table! —Kathy Traetow, Waverly, Iowa
Looking for other iced tea options? Check out how to make Thai tea