5 Things Decorating The Walls Of Amish Homes


Updated May 2021

How do Amish decorate their walls? Artwork and other items typical in English homes are generally not found in Amish homes. That doesn’t mean that Amish don’t display nice things, however.

No matter your culture, people still like to fill their houses with eye-pleasing items. The general rule for the Amish is that things with a practical purpose are most acceptable. You’ll see what I mean below.

As with most things, some families have a more liberal approach to what they allow on the walls. That said, here are five items of decor commonly found in Amish homes.

Five Decorations Found On The Walls Of Amish Homes

1. Timekeepers

By timekeepers I mean both clocks and calendars, two staples on Amish walls.

Mechanical-action musical clocks which chime a tune on the hour are widely popular (see one close-up here). I haven’t seen cuckoo clocks as often, but you can see one in this photo below, from our look inside an Ohio Amish home for sale.


There are plenty of other examples of timepieces on walls. Here is a clock on a wall shelf also displaying decorative drinking items (coffee mugs) in an Andy Weaver Amish home.

Calendars are very common, even in plainer homes, and typically feature photos–nature or even Amish scenes–or drawings or other artwork. Another type, perpetual calendars like the one below, can be re-used year-in and year-out.


On a similar note, I recently picked up a neat calendar in the Somerset County, PA community, featuring all the birthdates of members of the community–from the newborns to the venerable elders.

But it lacks a year, or days of the week, so it can be used in theory perpetually (though of course would need updating as people are born and pass away). Small black-and-white photos of the community’s schools and meetinghouses decorate each month (see what I’m talking about here, 5th and 6th photos from the bottom).

2. Birth & Family-Related Decor

To state the obvious, family and lineage are very important to the Amish. And so you’ll often see decorative items commemorating family and birthdays in a few different forms in Amish homes.

One example are family records, listing parents and all children, with birth dates. Here’s a rather decorative example, dating to the 1930s.


Another are individual birth commemorations. These may be a framed drawing with the child’s name and birthdate and a scene such as a baby’s room and crib, or you may see something similar in the form of a decorative plate.

I’ve also seen a wall hanging showing ancestry of a married couple going back generations (giving the couple’s parents, then grandparents, and great-greats along a certain line). Items like these remind you of your place in the whole–not just today in the community, but throughout time.

3. Zip Code Charts

I’ve always assumed these are handy for letter writers. This one, in a Lancaster County home, lists zip codes both for the Lancaster area, and for other places Amish live in Pennsylvania, such as Lebanon County, Smicksburg, and the Big Valley area.


Truth be told, I don’t really know how much these are referenced. You’re not going to send a letter to someone in your own community to arrange a get-together next week. You’ll probably just call or say something at church.

But you might use this when writing to relatives in other communities, or if you’re sending a birthday card to the other side of the settlement and the zip has slipped your mind.

4. Religious-related or Inspirational

Something you tend to see in more progressive homes. This might be the Ten Commandments or an inspirational message. This type of decor might hang in the kitchen, a living area, bedroom, or the bathroom.

Here’s one of my favorites, a plain and simple one. I took this photo in friend Mark Curtis’ home. This is/was technically hanging on the door, but you get the point:


Here’s what I’m pretty sure is another example (can’t quite make out what looks to be text in the photo), notable as it’s in a very progressive-looking (some commenters felt “un-Amish”) Michigan Old Order Amish home.

5. Hooks

Not exactly a decoration, but depending on the home and room you may see plentiful hooks for hanging both headwear and garments.

In rooms where church is held, for example the basement, you’ll find these attached to the rafter/ceiling area, providing a place for men to hang their hats. Here’s an example of hooks on the walls from inside a very plain Swartzentruber Amish home.

amish hanging clothing

I guess hats and shawls are their own form of simple, temporary “decor”, or at least something to make otherwise empty walls less bare.

Bonus: 6. Greeting Cards

Here’s one more I’m updating the post with. Many Amish hang greeting cards (Christmas, birthday, etc.) on the walls. You can see a string of cards in the photo from a Wisconsin Amish farmhouse below:

Here’s another example, from a log cabin-style Amish home. You can see them hanging above and to the right of the recliner. This has the look of a more progressive home. You’ll also notice examples of other items from this post in this photo, and even what looks like a decorative deer-themed wall hanging:

These aren’t the only examples of Amish wall decor of course.

A hunter might display antlers, which conveniently can double as hangers. One of our readers brought up the practice of hanging completed puzzles on the wall. A friend has a framed photo of a horse-and-buggy on the wall of his study.

amish horse wall photo

Though decor will vary by community and family, cultural norms mean you tend to see the same types of practical yet decorative items adorning the walls of Amish homes.

Image credits: family record- lydiaglick.com; Swartzentruber home hooks- Karen Johnson-Weiner

Get the Amish in your inbox

Join 15,000 email subscribers. No spam. 100% free

    Similar Posts

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    1. Terry from Wisc

      I'm thinking

      This request has me wondering. I’m trying to remember if I’ve seen something other than what’s on your list. As far as clocks go most of our friends have one that you wind. If you have church don’t they wait for the clock to chime 9:00 for services to begin? Granted the clock might have a battery in it and still chime.

      A friend of ours who is ex-Amish has made the comment that not having family photos of his growing up years with 12 siblings is the pits. You’ll never see a wall of family pictures in an Amish home. For many of us English our old photo’s of family members is a reminder of who we came from, and we have them hanging on our walls. And then there’s the subject of the grand kids, but we won’t go there!

      As Maudie says in the Budget; Make it a good day

      1. Mark - Holmes Co.

        Terry, I don’t know about every community or even district within a community, but we usually “silence” our chiming clock when we have church at our home so the chiming won’t disturb. Since church starts at 8:30 AM in our community, the 9:00 chime would hit right when we are singing.

        1. Terry from Wisc

          The clock

          On a visit to my wife’s sister in New Hampshire, we attended a United Methodist Church that was old, quaint, New England-ish with small pained windows, and white painted pews. In the sanctuary there was a cock that ticked, and that was a first for us! During the time of silent prayer you could hear the clock ticking away, and I thought how “peaceful”. The clock didn’t strike the time, which didn’t matter. In our house there are five clocks that tick and strike and I love them all!

          In our kitchen we have an Amish built Ashland cook stove with a tea kettle on it, and a wall clock that ticks and strikes the time. Often times if I’m feeling nostalgic and there is a fire in the stove, I shut the radio or tv off and just sit and listen. The stove will snap or a chunk of wood will fall down, the tea kettle will sing, and clock ticks away, and it truly is peaceful.

          It is a time to reflect on the blessings God has bestowed upon us, away from all the hustle and bustle around us. A step back in time so to say.

          Tomorrow I won’t hear that clock ticking in our church, and that’s ok. Life is full of memories and so often it’s the simple ones that stay with us. The worship service in NH is forever one of mine.

          See you in church, Terry from Wisc

    2. Mark - Holmes Co.

      In this area we see a LOT of P. Graham Dunn art-work in Amish homes. I’m sure they have a website. They have a lot of beautiful pieces and most, if not all of it, is inspirational. My all time favorite is that of a cowboy in a snow-storm carrying a calf in his arms and a lantern. It brought tears to my eyes to think of how just like the cowboy sought and rescued the calf in the storm, God was there to rescue me.
      Another thing we see a lot of around here are the vinyl adhesives that stick on a wall, often a scripture verse, but sometimes something like “Faith, hope, love…” or the like.
      And what about bulletin boards & chalkboards? This time of year there are likely to be several wedding invitations stuck on the bulletin board and our kitchen chalkboard is important for us in keeping track of what all is going on and to-do lists, shopping lists, etc.

      1. Good additions Mark, thanks. The vinyl adhesives seem to have become popular in recent years. My friends have one that reads “Family”. And bulletin boards are certainly handy 🙂

    3. Slightly-Handled-Order-Man

      artwork from commercial calendars

      The Amish are very creative and crafty.
      I wonder though, directed particularly at the Amish folks who frequent and help Amish America, have you seen your Amish friends receive a scenic photo/print calendar and use it for the year and then cut up the calendar to hang the images, particularly if they like the images in it, or if one catches their eye in particular… is this a thing among the Amish?

      Into the future I want to do this, I think its smart, especially if something strikes my own fancy

      1. Elva Bontrager

        Old Calendars were Fancier

        Evidently in the past calendars were fancier and probably more expensive to produce.

        I remember at least two that my Amish parents kept. Both were framed and glass-fronted and displayed a scenic picture. Both of the calendars, by the time I came along, had only the month of December remaining, attached at the bottom of the picture. My mother kept them in a drawer, not on display, but obviously prized them.

        The pictures were, I think, probably 10 inches high and 8 inches wide while the calendar part was only about 4″ x 3″.

        Does anyone else remember these? If I recall correctly, the years were from the 1920s.

      2. Amish Girl-Rebecca

        SHOM, I haven’t noticed that much in homes here, but I do use calender pics a lot for the students’ art work.

    4. Al in Ky

      In the Swartzentruber Amish homes I’ve been in, the wall decorations are very limited. Come to think about it, I don’t think they would call them decorations. They seem to limit them to clocks, calendars, hooks, and maybe a small wooden box that holds letters or receipts/bills. All things hung on the wall in these homes seem to have a function other than decoration. I enjoyed the picture in your number 5 “Hooks”. It shows a beauty in simplicity and plainness.

    5. Lorna

      A Different 5 Things Decorating the Walls of Amish Homes

      I have friends who are “Troyer Amish.” They do not have any sort of decorations on the walls except for a few allowable things. They can have calendars without pictures of people or animals, only scenery. They can polish their copper bottom pans and arrange them in order on a shelf where they look very nice. They can have a certain pattern of pressed/molded glass candy dishes–I think it’s called “moon and stars.” They can have a water pitcher and set of glasses, painted with a floral pattern by a local painter. They can have one of three different patterns of decorative cannisters–a grape vine pattern, painted flowers on plastic cannisters, or a third floral pattern. They have clocks–wind-up clocks. They can have a rack of matching cups hanging on hooks on a shelf, for daily use. They have only navy blue, tab-top curtains with only a nail to hold them back. They have only bent wood hickory rockers for furniture with blue/black square quilted pads on them–no upholstered furniture. The items that you show and describe are completely absent from their homes…which are very “plain.”