LUCKY CHARMS: HOME DECOR WITH A TOUCH OF ‘MAGIC’

A lot of us in the Florida Keys feel lucky simply by living here. We may respond to a query of “How’s it going?” with “Great —  another day in paradise.”

But hey, we can always stack the odds in our favor, right? For this reason, many people bring in special decor — from statues to specific paint colors to bowls of fruit — into their home to attract positive vibes. Yes, some may call BS on this practice. But we propose that our island chain is full of boaters who are so superstitious they ban bananas from boats — and never rename a vessel without an elaborate ceremony.

Emily Pulis, director of marketing for Marathon’s D’Asign Source, confirms that their interior designers do get requests from clients for lucky decor.

“What we see pop up more than anything is they request to paint the ceilings of Florida rooms ‘haint blue’ to keep away evil spirits,” says Pulis. “It’s a Southern thing.” 

This was news to us. Where do these superstitions come from? We dug deep to reveal the lore behind blue porches, as well as other luck-attracting decor, such as statues, fruit motifs and sea life. We share our findings here:

Haint blue for Florida rooms. Haint blue, as Pulis tells us, is the name of a sky-colored paint used on ceilings for porches in the Carolina area. The tradition was started by the Gullah Geechee people of coastal South Carolina and Georgia, and, according to Southern Living magazine, they “believed that the haints (a.k.a. spirits from the dead) would confuse the color with the sky and pass right through the porch ceiling.” 

Buddha statues. Many Keys homes have a Buddha statue in the garden or even in living rooms, often just to bring in a serene Zen feel. However, there is actually an ancient Indian science behind the placement of such statues called “Vastu,” which, if practiced correctly, can bring serenity to a dwelling. “Knowing which direction to place a Buddha in … can amplify prosperity, good health and peace,” says Vastu expert Shilpa Khurana in Architectural Digest India. For example, a sleeping Buddha in the drawing room or veranda can bring harmony in your relationships, while a wooden Buddha statue should be placed in the southeast if you’d love more financial prosperity.

Pineapple motifs. The sweet and pulpy fruit not only bedecks tropical cocktails in tiki bars everywhere, but it also symbolizes hospitality, a tradition that began centuries ago. According to the University of Central Florida’s website, “American colonists began importing the pineapple from the Caribbean in the 17th century. Due to its seemingly exotic qualities and rareness, the pineapple soon became a symbol of hospitality in early America. … It was considered a significant achievement for a host to procure a ripe pineapple for guests.” These days, pineapples are seen as a positive and welcoming motif for door knockers and assorted knick-knacks.

A bowl of nine lemons. “Real Housewives of Orange County” fans (‘Sup, Shannon Beador) will instantly recognize this reference. Beador, one of the cast members, had her home design overseen by an expert in the ancient Chinese art of feng shui. They recommended Beador place a bowl of nine lemons in her kitchen to clear funky vibes. According to Medium, feng shui wisdom dictates that the number nine “amplifies all energies,” and since lemons are known for their cleansing properties, nine lemons in a bowl have the power to negate bad energy. 

Elephant figurines. “Indeed, elephants are associated with good luck and good fortune in many cultures throughout the world, and having an elephant figurine in one’s home is thought to harness those positive vibes for the benefit of the entire household,” reports Reader’s Digest. The magazine also says that an elephant statue should have a trunk that points up to keep its magic from “slipping out” and be placed in such a way so that it is visible from and facing the front door.

A fish bowl or an aquarium. Aquariums apparently promote good luck. Reader’s Digest says, “According to feng shui, water plus fish is a winning combo,” due to water being connected with money. “As for the fish, they keep the water moving, which is a plus because we tend to equate moving water with vitality. 

So, to sum up: Perhaps the best scenario to attract prosperity would be to have a Florida room with a blue ceiling; buddha, elephant and pineapple statues; a squeaky-clean aquarium; a conch shell; and a bowl of nine lemons. Then … let the good times roll.

Charlotte Twine fled her New York City corporate publishing life and happily moved to the Keys six years ago. She has written for Travel + Leisure, Allure, and Offshore magazines; Elle.com; and the Florida Keys Free Press. She loves her two elderly Pomeranians, writing stories that uplift and inspire, making children laugh, the color pink, tattoos, Johnny Cash, and her husband. Though not necessarily in that order.