5 Especially Useful Amish Home Features

Amish homes have certain features that you’ll tend to see over and over again, due to how useful they are. The following are all features I made use of – and found myself appreciating, some more than others – on my latest visit staying with Amish friends in Pennsylvania.

Useful features found in Amish homes

1. Heating stove in basement – This is how many Amish homes are heated. The hot air pumps up through floor vents. These floor vents attract chilly humans. You might find various family members gathered around them in the morning warming their feet.

What was interesting about my recent stay with one friend in their “new” home (an old farmhouse, but new for them) is that one day I found this friend pouring water down through the floor vent. This was to create some humidity and keep the air from drying out too much. Didn’t even have to go downstairs to do it.

2. Entryway sink – The entryway sink is especially useful for washing your hands, even essential. If you have half a dozen boys coming in from working or playing outside, best to get everyone’s hands clean right off the bat as they come in.

This is a feature that you don’t really see in non-Amish homes but a standard one in Amish places.

3. Mud room – You can use this term loosely, it may be part of the entry way or a separate room.

This is where your dirty boots, coats, etc. go, also to keep the mess off of mom’s just-swept floor.

4. Lots of hooks – With both coats AND head coverings needing to be hung, Amish homes tend to have an abundance of hooks, usually in the entryway but in other places as well.

For example in the basement, you may have hooks or simply nails in the overhead floor boards where men can hang their hats during church.

5. Lots of extra blankets – This is one I found myself REALLY appreciating, as the upstairs bedroom room I stayed in at one place was 100% unheated. This was a time of below-freezing temps and waking up to sleet one morning. I generally sleep very well in such conditions – maybe better than in any other – provided there is enough cover.

I didn’t actually count, but I would guess I was under around four to six bed coverings including a quilt and regular old blankets. None of this, of course, will spare you the painful moments when you’re compeleld to emerge into the early-morning darkness from said sanctuary. But they sure make for a good night’s rest.

What else could go on this list?

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    1. Paula


      Both my grandparents always had a pot of water on a heat register.

      My hubby’s grandfather lived in Coal Township PA. No heat at night, but grandpa would load the coal stove in the basement at 6AM & it would go from 50 to 80 within minutes. The pile of blankets would soon to overheating by 7 AM, which would ensure the children would be sweating by breakfast. He has many fond memories of his very rustic grandpa’s house. I also remember a more “upgraded” coal stove at my grandparents house. Hauled in by the old coal bucket. But hubby’s grandfather had a special coal delivery door to the basement, where much more coal could be shoveled into the stove at a time, as well as stored. I visited the old coal towns with hubby a few years ago & was fascinated by the still existing coal mountains & the history of those mining towns. No…not Amish history, but it seems everyone in the lower Appalacian region had much in common.

      1. That’s one way to get people up! Sounds like a pleasant one considering the alternatives

    2. Central Virginian


      Here in Central VA, wood stoves in the basement are common, especially in the country, but usually to supplement the central heating.

      Just curious, how far did you have to go for bathroom facilities when you visited in the cold weather under all those blankets? Midnight trips in the cold are the hardest part of unheated houses unless they have plumbing.

      1. Good point, luckily it’s right around the corner from the room where I stay. Once I’m down I try not to get up until the alarm rings though 🙂