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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Displaying results 1-21 of 3824
31 Photos 7 Sheppard Street Charleston, SC 29403

7 Sheppard Street
Charleston, SC 29403
Eastside
Residential

MLS# 20029149 / Active
6 br, 2 ba, 1832 Sqft

DUPLEX. GREAT INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY just a short walk to upper King Street, Courier Square, and the Cigar Factory. Perfect chance to earn rental ... 

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$525,000
Provided courtesy of Charleston Real Estate Group
69 Photos 128 Bull Street Charleston, SC 29401

128 Bull Street
Charleston, SC 29401
Harleston Village
Residential

MLS# 20029080 / Active
4 br, 4 ba, 1 Half Bath, 4875 Sqft

The Joseph Bennett House (Thomas Grange Simons House) is a Notable, Category 2 home, built Circa 1814 and is emphasized by a central pedimented pa... 

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$2,349,000
Provided courtesy of Handsome Properties, Inc.
29 Photos 5 Aston Place Charleston, SC 29401

5 Aston Place
Charleston, SC 29401
Harleston Green
Residential

MLS# 20028993 / Active
3 br, 2 ba, 1 Half Bath, 1597 Sqft

Stunning recently remodeled town house! With two deeded parking places! Current owner spared no expense making this space truly special and upscale... 

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$569,000
Provided courtesy of Carolina One Real Estate
39 Photos 5 Motley Lane Charleston, SC 29401

5 Motley Lane
Charleston, SC 29401
Ansonborough
Residential

MLS# 20028961 / Active
4 br, 2 ba, 1 Half Bath, 4059 Sqft

Welcome to 5 Motley Lane! This home, stunning and unique, is ready for you to make it yours. Walk out your front door to a myriad of shops and rest... 

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$2,020,000
Provided courtesy of The Pulse Charleston
37 Photos 4 Gibbes Street Charleston, SC 29401

4 Gibbes Street
Charleston, SC 29401
South of Broad
Residential

MLS# 20028929 / Active
4 br, 3 ba, 1 Half Bath, 3888 Sqft

This historic home, circa 1790, in the South of Broad neighborhood of Charleston, has been renovated with the utmost respect to the properties uniq... 

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$2,675,000
Provided courtesy of Keller Williams Realty Charleston
43 Photos 32 Lenwood Boulevard Charleston, SC 29401

32 Lenwood Boulevard
Charleston, SC 29401
South of Broad
Residential

MLS# 20028874 / Active
3 br, 3 ba, 1 Half Bath, 2873 Sqft

So charming in every way, this very special South of Broad carriage house was recently enlarged to offer a beautiful first-floor master suite, with... 

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$1,995,000
Provided courtesy of Carriage Properties LLC
18 Photos 5 Gadsdenboro Street UNIT 406 Charleston, SC 29401

5 Gadsdenboro Street UNIT 406
Charleston, SC 29401
Gadsdenboro
Residential

MLS# 20028823 / Active
1 br, 1 ba, 753 Sqft

Like-new, lock-and-leave furnished condo in downtown Charleston. Move right in, as all furnishings, appliances, window treatments, and appointments... 

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$604,000
Provided courtesy of Disher Hamrick & Myers Res Inc
37 Photos 32 Menotti Street Charleston, SC 29401

32 Menotti Street
Charleston, SC 29401
Ansonborough
Residential

MLS# 20028745 / Active
2 br, 2 ba, 1 Half Bath, 2080 Sqft

Built in 1997, this immaculate Charleston single style residence is currently configured as two bedrooms with a second floor sitting room that can ... 

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$1,095,000
Provided courtesy of Lois Lane Properties
86 Photos 122 Tradd Street Charleston, SC 29401

122 Tradd Street
Charleston, SC 29401
South of Broad
Residential

MLS# 20028741 / Active
4 br, 4 ba, 1 Half Bath, 5475 Sqft

The ''William C Bee'' House, circa 1835, is a grand and beautiful masonry Greek Revival mansion with Italianate styling, sitting on a high elevatio... 

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$4,950,000
Provided courtesy of Carriage Properties LLC
58 Photos 61 Warren Street Charleston, SC 29403

61 Warren Street
Charleston, SC 29403
Radcliffeborough
Residential

MLS# 20028720 / Active
2 br, 2 ba, 1 Half Bath, 1746 Sqft

This 1830s jewel was meticulously restored and maintained for many years by the previous Director of the Preservation Society and most recently exp... 

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$897,000
Provided courtesy of Carriage Properties LLC
47 Photos 180 Smith Street Charleston, SC 29403

180 Smith Street
Charleston, SC 29403
Cannonborough
Residential

MLS# 20028587 / Active
3 br, 2 ba, 1 Half Bath, 1860 Sqft

This updated Charleston Single was home to multiple families who lived in this neighborhood beginning in 1852. Natural light and beautiful hardwood... 

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$695,000
Provided courtesy of Redfin Corporation
24 Photos 10 Clifford Street Charleston, SC 29401

10 Clifford Street
Charleston, SC 29401
Harleston Village
Residential

MLS# 20028579 / Active
2 br, 2 ba, 1 Half Bath, 1544 Sqft

Welcome to 10 Clifford Street. This well cared for historic home is just a half block off of well known lower King Street. The property is currentl... 

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$1,079,000
Provided courtesy of William Means Real Estate, LLC
47 Photos 315 King Street UNIT 201 Charleston, SC 29401

315 King Street UNIT 201
Charleston, SC 29401
Downtown
Residential

MLS# 20028558 / Active
2 br, 2 ba, 1 Half Bath, 2296 Sqft

Like no other loft-style residences in Charleston! Davidson Lofts is an elegant, urban, above-street transformation of one of the city's most notab... 

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$1,795,000
Provided courtesy of Charleston Real Estate Group
48 Photos 248 Coming Street Charleston, SC 29403

248 Coming Street
Charleston, SC 29403
Elliottborough
Residential

MLS# 20028522 / Active
3 br, 2 ba, 1 Half Bath, 2102 Sqft

This house has just completed a transformative restoration. Every interior surface painted, all new fantastic light fixtures installed. Exterior ... 

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$785,000
Provided courtesy of Daniel Ravenel Sotheby's International Realty
10 Photos 7 Wraggborough Lane Charleston, SC 29403

7 Wraggborough Lane
Charleston, SC 29403
Wraggborough
Residential

MLS# 20028523 / Active
4 br, 3 ba, 1 Half Bath, 3300 Sqft

Must see!! Opportunities abound with this beautiful Charleston single behind the gates in Wraggborough. Double porches and courtyard let you enjoy ... 

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$1,259,000
Provided courtesy of BHHS Carolina Sun Real Estate
40 Photos 25 Smith Street Charleston, SC 29401

25 Smith Street
Charleston, SC 29401
Harleston Village
Residential

MLS# 20028517 / Active
3 br, 2 ba, 1 Half Bath, 2700 Sqft

Located in Charleston's vibrant Harleston Village neighborhood, this charming historical c.1840 Charleston-single home was carefully guided through... 

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$1,350,000
Provided courtesy of Daniel Ravenel Sotheby's International Realty
66 Photos 138 & 140 Wentworth Street Charleston, SC 29401

138 & 140 Wentworth Street
Charleston, SC 29401
Harleston Village
Residential

MLS# 20028510 / Active
5 br, 5 ba, 6442 Sqft

A unique opportunity to purchase a piece of storied history. The Kerrison House, later known as Villa De La Fontaine, was built circa 1840 and rest... 

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$4,490,000
Provided courtesy of AgentOwned Charleston Group
32 Photos 26 Smith Street UNIT A Charleston, SC 29401

26 Smith Street UNIT A
Charleston, SC 29401
Harleston Village
Residential

MLS# 20028509 / Active Contingent
3 br, 2 ba, 1 Half Bath, 1590 Sqft

Come see this beautiful end unit townhome, located south of Calhoun Street, steps from King Street, Colonial Lake and so much more. This home featu... 

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$795,000
Provided courtesy of William Means Real Estate, LLC
8 Photos 96 Cooper Street Charleston, SC 29403

96 Cooper Street
Charleston, SC 29403
Residential

MLS# 20028492 / Active
3 br, 3 ba, 1665 Sqft

Fantastic New Construction in the heart of an up and coming area with lots of new construction going up all around. Live in Downtown Charleston and... 

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$670,000
Provided courtesy of Realty One Group Coastal
7 Photos 94 Cooper Street Charleston, SC 29403

94 Cooper Street
Charleston, SC 29403
Residential

MLS# 20028431 / Active
3 br, 3 ba, 1763 Sqft

Fantastic New Construction in the heart of an up and coming area with lots of new construction going up all around. Live in Downtown Charleston and... 

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$670,000
Increase +$35,000
Provided courtesy of Realty One Group Coastal
73 Photos 66 Bull Street Charleston, SC 29401

66 Bull Street
Charleston, SC 29401
Harleston Village
Residential

MLS# 20028384 / Active
5 br, 4 ba, 3575 Sqft

The John Cart House, a Charleston Single Grand built in 1817, is nestled in the heart of Harleston Village and is the perfect union of old-Charlest... 

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$1,999,000
Provided courtesy of Southeastern Management Group,
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