3 Paint Colors You’ll Find in the South (and What They Mean)

Updated: Mar. 10, 2022

Even the paint colors in the South are steeped in tradition.

For homes with serious charm, head south. From hospitality doors to high ceilings, the quirks of Southern architecture will have you going down the rabbit hole of building history. You’ll discover that some of the classics, like Charleston’s joggling boards, are coming back into style! Each Southern home feature has a purpose, so it only makes sense that the paint colors are significant, too.

There’s a reason every Texas ranch house you see is brown. And it’s not the only color that has a rich history in the South!

Why Are Texas Ranch Homes Brown?

Think of Texas and you’ll picture wide-open skies and land as far as the eye can see. Texans like to keep attention on the landscape rather than homes, so they paint houses brown to blend better with the countryside. Plus, it makes the beautiful blue skies pop! They may even add some soft blue shutters to highlight the scenery around them.

Yes, there is a Ranch House Brown paint color for your next DIY project.

And Why Are Barns Always Red?

This is a tradition most everyone knows—ask a kid to draw a barn and they’ll always color it red. But do you know why? It started back when Southern farmers created a mixture of orange-colored linseed oil and rust to keep barns protected through the seasons. And it worked! The colorful tradition was born and now red barns have spread across the country.

Use this Barn Red Wood Stain for a shed, fence or deck with Southern soul.

Why Are Porch Ceilings Painted Blue?

We’re no stranger to blue porch ceilings. This color is traditional in the South due to the influence of the Gullah Geechee people some 200 years ago. The Gullah were an enslaved people that held tightly to folklore. They believed ghosts, or “haints,” could not cross water. To help repel evil spirits, porch ceilings were often painted blue to prevent bad spirits from entering the home. It’s a tradition that still stands to this day. Even modern bottle trees use cobalt blue bottles.

In Charleston, the front porch might also feature a joggling board—here’s why.