What is the Story Behind Charleston Green?

Charleston Green

Our fair and Holy City of Charleston, South Carolina, is painted with dabs and dots of a single signature color, which is commonly referred to as Charleston Green. It's a color that could dress up the shabbiest Charleston single house, and aggrandize the smallest freedman's cottage.

A green so dark it appears black, it lends an air of subtle chameleon mystery to streets with light streaming through moss draped trees. The color changes as you move and elevates what might have been a simple flat black to a rich and dignified tone.

The History Behind Charleston Green

Charleston Green lends a formal sensibility, but the purported history is more rebellious. The origin of the color is contested, but the story goes that after the American Civil War, the Union sent buckets of plain black government-issued paint down to Charleston to gloss over what war had done to the city. But Charlestonians, less than impressed with boring black, added yellow and blue (or green, depending on the source) to make the deep forest green now named for the city where it originated. 

How to Use Charleston Green on Your Home

If you're strolling Downtown Charleston on the brick, pavement, or cobblestone streets, you'll notice the hue applied to front doors, window shutters, Italianate trim and even balustrades. There's no right or wrong way to use Charleston Green, but do remember that direct sunlight will heat the dark color and could cause it to bubble, or even be hot to the touch—a danger those moss draped trees can alleviate, since the Charleston housing market is quite hot enough on its own.

This deepest-deep green hue can be used in a variety of different exterior color schemes. The most classic is off-white with Charleston Green shutters and doors. Green shutters can compliment a lighter green home, a yellow home, or even a pink one.

If you'd like to add a touch of black-tie class, but don't want to darken your overall palette, try painting just the front door, or brushing the window sashes with Charleston Green while the casing remains white. Some homes paint only their front steps in the color. Window boxes are a nice place to add a deep green to bring out the green leaves and flowers and provide a visual anchor to the shape of the windows. Think of them as the strong brows on the face of your home.

You can also pull the color inside by using it on an interior staircase or in a study. Give a high-style makeover to a small half bath with a stunning high gloss enamel finish or treat a mantle to a stroke of dark green.

While the color chip is readily available from Historic Charleston Foundation's collection at your nearest Sherwin-Williams, you could also mix your own using a local recipe:

DIY: Charleston Green Recipe

10 ounces black paint

4 ounces green paint

½ ounce yellow paint 

Now that you know what to look for, the next time you're walking South of Broad , you'll more easily spot the difference between a true black hue and the trademark tint that we call Charleston Green. 

Looking for something different? See below for current listings downtown Charleston!

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37 Photos 14 Lockwood Drive UNIT 6h Charleston, SC 29401

14 Lockwood Drive UNIT 6h
Charleston, SC 29401
Ashley House
Residential

MLS# 21020959 / Active
2 br, 2 ba, 1032 Sqft

Must See Condo on the 6th Floor in downtown Charleston's Ashley House! This established building features great views of Ashley River in walking di... 

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$585,000
Provided courtesy of Brand Name Real Estate
28 Photos 125 Meeting Street UNIT B Charleston, SC 29401

125 Meeting Street UNIT B
Charleston, SC 29401
French Quarter
Residential

MLS# 21020860 / Active
1 br, 1 ba, 820 Sqft

 

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$570,000
Provided courtesy of Carriage Properties LLC
28 Photos 42 South Street Charleston, SC 29403

42 South Street
Charleston, SC 29403
Eastside
Residential

MLS# 21020779 / Active Contingent
4 br, 3 ba, 1725 Sqft

Historic Charleston Single-House has been completely restored from top to bottom, inside and out - with off-street parking and a backyard retreat b... 

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$649,000
Provided courtesy of The Boulevard Company, LLC
63 Photos 20 Elliott Street Charleston, SC 29401

20 Elliott Street
Charleston, SC 29401
South of Broad
Residential

MLS# 21020636 / Active
3 br, 3 ba, 1 Half Bath, 2704 Sqft

This beautiful George Gibbs home, constructed Circa 1801, is in the heart of downtown Charleston within walking distance to the Battery, Waterfront... 

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$2,100,000
Provided courtesy of Carolina One Real Estate
34 Photos
Open House: Sat Jul 31st, 12:00pm - 3:00pm
271 Coming Street Charleston, SC 29403

271 Coming Street
Charleston, SC 29403
Elliottborough
Residential

MLS# 21020595 / Active
3 br, 3 ba, 1230 Sqft

Have you dreamed of owning property in downtown Charleston? This opportunity is one you don't want to miss! This Charleston-style home has lots of ... 

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$575,000
Provided courtesy of Matt O'Neill Real Estate
27 Photos 3 Queen Street UNIT #201 Charleston, SC 29401

3 Queen Street UNIT #201
Charleston, SC 29401
French Quarter
Residential

MLS# 21020535 / Active Contingent
1 br, 1 ba, 1 Half Bath, 1023 Sqft

Welcome to 3 Queen Street, a historic downtown Charleston condo located in the heart of the French Quarter within walking distance to Charleston Ha... 

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$535,000
Provided courtesy of The Boulevard Company, LLC
25 Photos 10 Rosemont Street Charleston, SC 29403

10 Rosemont Street
Charleston, SC 29403
Downtown
Residential

MLS# 21020511 / Active
3 br, 2 ba, 1 Half Bath, 1520 Sqft

Welcome to this totally updated and renovated home 10 Rosemont. Great quiet street, convenient location to everything downtown has to offer. Nice ... 

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$599,000
Provided courtesy of The Exchange Company, LLC
15 Photos 36 Prioleau Street UNIT C Charleston, SC 29401

36 Prioleau Street UNIT C
Charleston, SC 29401
One Vendue Range
Residential

MLS# 21020370 / Active
1 br, 1 ba, 1342 Sqft

One Vendue Range has long been the standard bearer in downtown Charleston for Luxury Condominium Living and this well-appointed top-floor luxury of... 

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$1,047,350
Provided courtesy of King and Society Real Estate
64 Photos 57 Gibbes Street Charleston, SC 29401

57 Gibbes Street
Charleston, SC 29401
South of Broad
Residential

MLS# 21020333 / Active Contingent
5 br, 4 ba, 3314 Sqft

Nestled in the coveted South of Broad neighborhood on the historic Charleston peninsula, 57 Gibbes Street offers a traditional floor plan with a fu... 

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$2,650,000
Provided courtesy of The Cassina Group
44 Photos 38 Chalmers Street Charleston, SC 29401

38 Chalmers Street
Charleston, SC 29401
French Quarter
Residential

MLS# 21020321 / Active
3 br, 3 ba, 1 Half Bath, 2584 Sqft

Nestled in the heart of Charleston's French Quarter, this charming 1840's brick home located at one of the highest points in the City has been mast... 

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$2,750,000
Provided courtesy of The Cassina Group
34 Photos 33 Calhoun Street UNIT #122 Charleston, SC 29401

33 Calhoun Street UNIT #122
Charleston, SC 29401
Gadsdenboro
Residential

MLS# 21020248 / Active
2 br, 2 ba, 1237 Sqft

Executive luxury condo in the heart of downtown. This beautiful two bedroom two bathroom condominium is ideally located within one block from the ... 

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$725,000
Provided courtesy of Carolina One Real Estate
44 Photos 81 Nassau Street Charleston, SC 29403

81 Nassau Street
Charleston, SC 29403
Eastside
Residential

MLS# 21020163 / Active Contingent
3 br, 3 ba, 1 Half Bath, 1675 Sqft

To Own a Piece of Charleston History, You have to Start with a 1847 Historic ''Charleston Single.'' Completely Renovated and Restored to the Highe... 

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$629,000
Provided courtesy of Realty One Group Coastal
19 Photos 149 Broad Street Charleston, SC 29401

149 Broad Street
Charleston, SC 29401
South of Broad
Residential

MLS# 21020148 / Active Contingent
2 br, 2 ba, 1939 Sqft

A Charleston property unlike any other when designed as a free standing kitchen house that was completely renovated and updated. This quintessentia... 

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$1,449,000
Provided courtesy of Robertson Team Real Estate
18 Photos 17 Duncan Street Charleston, SC 29403

17 Duncan Street
Charleston, SC 29403
Radcliffeborough
Residential

MLS# 21020145 / Active Contingent
3 br, 2 ba, 1421 Sqft

Located in the desirable Radcliffeborough neighborhood, this turn-key Charleston single was professionally re-designed and renovated in 2014 by HHM... 

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$625,000
Provided courtesy of Smith Spencer Real Estate
13 Photos 111 Smith Street Charleston, SC 29403

111 Smith Street
Charleston, SC 29403
Harleston Village
Residential

MLS# 21020144 / Active Contingent
4 br, 4 ba, 2000 Sqft

Located in the highly sought-after Harleston Village neighborhood, this turn-key Charleston single was professionally re-designed and renovated in ... 

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$875,000
Provided courtesy of Smith Spencer Real Estate
19 Photos
Open House: Sat Jul 31st, 11:00am - 1:00pm
37 Percy Street Charleston, SC 29403

37 Percy Street
Charleston, SC 29403
Elliottborough
Residential

MLS# 21020146 / Active
4 br, 3 ba, 1540 Sqft

Located in the desirable Elliotborough neighborhood, this turn-key Charleston single was professionally re-designed and renovated in 2015 by HHM Cu... 

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$760,000
Provided courtesy of Smith Spencer Real Estate
21 Photos 201 Broad Street UNIT #1 Charleston, SC 29401

201 Broad Street UNIT #1
Charleston, SC 29401
Residential

MLS# 21020112 / Active
2 br, 2 ba, 1096 Sqft

Welcome to 201 Broad Street on Colonial Lake in Historic Downtown Charleston. No. 1 tops all w/sophisticated design by top local design firm. Priva... 

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$779,000
Provided courtesy of The Boulevard Company, LLC
13 Photos
Open House: Sat Jul 31st, 4:00pm - 6:00pm
84 Bull Street UNIT B Charleston, SC 29401

84 Bull Street UNIT B
Charleston, SC 29401
Harleston Village
Residential

MLS# 21020111 / Active
2 br, 1 ba, 1072 Sqft

Main floor unit in the c. 1842 Hutchet House on the corner of Rutledge and Bull. Walk up the grand entryway into your units large, sunlit living ro... 

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$575,000
Provided courtesy of EXP Realty LLC
16 Photos 47 Laurens Street UNIT A Charleston, SC 29401

47 Laurens Street UNIT A
Charleston, SC 29401
Ansonborough
Residential

MLS# 21020021 / Active
2 br, 1 ba, 878 Sqft

A unique offering for Ansonborough. Buy one of these 2 bedroom, 1 bath condominiums, or both of them as a duplex. A solid investment either way. La... 

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$750,000
Provided courtesy of Daniel Ravenel Sotheby's International Realty
14 Photos 47 Laurens Street UNIT B Charleston, SC 29401

47 Laurens Street UNIT B
Charleston, SC 29401
Ansonborough
Residential

MLS# 21020022 / Active
2 br, 1 ba, 878 Sqft

A unique offering for Ansonborough. Buy one of these 2 bedroom, 1 bath condominiums or both of them as a duplex. A solid investment either way. Lau... 

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$750,000
Provided courtesy of Daniel Ravenel Sotheby's International Realty
26 Photos 67 Legare Street UNIT #107 Charleston, SC 29401

67 Legare Street UNIT #107
Charleston, SC 29401
Crafts House
Residential

MLS# 21019939 / Active Contingent
2 br, 2 ba, 975 Sqft

This stunning downtown get-away in the historic Crafts House offers 2 bedrooms and 2 baths. The open floor plan, huge windows and high ceilings mak... 

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$598,000
Provided courtesy of Dunes Properties of Chas Inc
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