'Tis the season for sweet tea and rocking chairs; happy hour cocktails and wicker chaise lounges. It's that time of year in the South when life moves outside—to the porch. And if your outdoor retreat is looking is a tad weather-worn or maybe just a little blah, try a fresh coat of paint before you go buying all new furniture or recovering the existing upholstery. For the same result, painting is faster, simpler, and a whole lot easier on the wallet.
Newly painted walls, shutters, railings, and floors all make an immediate impact, but there's nothing we love more than a painted ceiling, especially a pop of traditional Haint Blue.
Credit: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Page Mullins
"First you have to decide on the desired look you want to achieve," says Nashville-based designer Chelsea Robinson of Chelsea Robinson Interiors. "What you decide paint and color-wise on your porch really determines the mood." The surrounding landscape is a natural place to start when seeking inspiration, but consider your home's architectural elements, too. "You really want the mood to stay true to the exterior of the house," Robinson says.
Classics are classic for a reason, right? Exhibit A: "Haint Blue" porch ceilings. Rooted in the Gullah communities of coastal South Carolina and Georgia, the practice of painting porch ceilings "Haint Blue" was thought to ward off evil spirits. It's also rumored to mimic the sky, discouraging wasps and other insects from nesting there.
Credit: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller
"I love the reflective nature of a high-gloss paint on your ceiling," Robinson says. It's also your best bet in terms of performance and holds up well against stains and weather. And if it does get dirty, it's the easiest finish to clean, too.
Credit: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Lydia Pursell
One new design trend that we love for its timeless look is choosing a natural wood or a stain for your porch ceilings rather than paint. "Mixing natural textures outside is a great way to add interest," says Kim. "It's an unexpected surprise that welcomes guests."
"Prep work is huge," Robinson says. "I think there's really more work involved in prepping than there is in the actual painting." If you skimp here, you'll regret it, so carefully consider your materials—sandpaper, painter's tape, brushes for detail work and a properly-sized roller, drop cloths for your floors, primer, paint, and grubby clothes. Most importantly, take your time preparing your space. Pro Tip: After letting your first coat dry for 24 hours, apply the second coat at a right angle to the first.