5 Tips For Decorating with An Amish Theme
This week on Ask the Designer, we will be discussing 5 tips for decorating with an Amish theme, and how truly similar Amish decor is to farmhouse style decor.
As we dive right in and take a look at how the best way to decorate within an Amish theme, I can’t help but to address the elephant in the room. Honestly, when I look at the Amish style of design, I can not help but see it’s very strong similarities to the that of the highly coveted farmhouse style of design which is currently sweeping the nation. In fact I would go so far as to say that Amish style furnishings and Amish decor can be the primary basis of some the very best farmhouse style interior designs.You may also notice that throughout this article I may refer to Amish, Shaker and Mission style of furnishing in a interchangeable fashion. By today’s standards they are all relatively similar, with the main differences based in specific types of stylization. In fact you may do better to have your Mission or Shaker style of furniture built by a Amish furniture company, since they still offer handmade furniture building processes with higher standards and greater attention to the quality of production.
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When you really think about farmhouse interior design your mind may travel along the lines of homemade grain shack pillows, rusty olive buckets full of grandma’s homemade quilts, or handmade wicker baskets. What do all of these things have in common? They are perfect for decorating with an Amish theme and also can be seen in most modern farmhouse designs today. I would like to share a few personal stories about visiting Amish country, recently in Lancaster, Pennsylvania a couple of years ago. During our visit we purchased several amazing handmade items that I still proudly display in my home today. So you see, even though my home has been roughly classified as a southern farmhouse style, it still boosts some of the most beautiful, found, one of kind wears from the heart of Amish country. This beautiful shaker style broom is a perfect example of handmade rustic Amish decor, and one of my favorite pieces to date. I proudly display it near my front door as you enter my home, so it is one of the first things you see upon entering. I have taken a few close up pictures so you see the fine attention to detail, which is why I love this piece so much. There is absolutely no glue all of the bristles are held together with this highly hand wound wire. The handle is a beautiful hand sanded knotty pine. The fun part is you can actually watch the artesian making brooms when you visit the shop.
Designer Tip #1 “Simplicity is The Ultimate Sophistication”- Leonardo De Vinci
I use this quote by Leonardo De Vinci because Amish design has a tendency to be very simple. That does not mean it is not good design by any means, it just means that the design must be more deliberate. You want to have beautiful focal pieces that will catch your eye and hold you attention. Rooms that have natural color palettes that carry soothing tones. Possibly, colors derived directly from nature like pale sky blues, herb colored sage greens and of course all the neutral tones of white, black, cream and gray.
Designer Tip #2 Always Consider “Quality over Quantity”
In Amish Design their is more of a focus on the quality of products. This can be seen in the high quality and great attention to detail during the furniture-making process. In most cases each piece of wood is hand-selected for a specific piece of furniture in mind, it starts from the grain of the wood, all the way to achieving the desired look of the finished piece. For this reason Amish designs tend to have very simple, clean lines and high functionality. The design has almost a modern farmhouse feel since there is not such a big focus on stuff or things. You have what you need to live and the rest is simply unneeded. Furniture that has very clean and simple lines like Amish Book Cases, Farmhouse Style Tables and Mission Style Pie Safes.
Designer Tip #3 Sustainability is a Way of Life
Amish furniture is also valued for it’s sustainability as a “green” product. Amish beliefs prevent the use of electricity, so many woodworking tools in Amish shops are powered by pneumatic or hydraulic power tools, which cuts down on the total carbon footprint of producing Amish Decor. Many of the items today are still hand carved, hand woven, hand painted and hand stitched. Another way to be green is reusing found objects, repurposing or up cycling a object might be a great way to add interest to a space and still maintain your green way of life.
Designer Tip #4 Using Authentic Handmade Pieces
Using one of kind, authentic handmade pieces will always add more personality to a space then a store bought replica. Amish woodworkers pride themselves on their work and view their products as both pieces of art and furnishings to be used and lived in for generations. For this reason Amish furnishing are true antiques, made with beautiful hand glued dove tailed joints or hand hammered metals making them treasured family heirlooms worth the investment, for example this Amish Kitchen Hutch would be perfect in any rustic style home. This piece can be custom built and hand stained in your choice of 17 different finishes.
Another great example from my personal collection is this beautiful handmade straw basket, I purchased years ago on my way through Amish country to my husband’s family reunion in Ohio. While we did not have a lot of time to stay and see the entire area, I was so intrigued by the Amish way of life. I just knew that I had to purchase a little keepsake to take home with me. While this basket was already pre-made, I was able to watch 3 generations of ladies sit side by side hand weave similar baskets, while they carefully taught their daughters and granddaughters age old methods, probably passed down from their grandmother’s. It really felt as if I was buying a little piece of history.
Designer Tip #5 Add Visual Interest to Your Space By Adding Decorations to the Walls
The Amish are very spiritual people, so it only makes sense that they would create inspirational signage. For this reason, you might want to incorporate a few hand painted signs like this Amish Decor sign to your walls with inspirational sayings to brighten your day and fill some of those empty spaces. You can find all kinds of handmade signs to fit your life, maybe you need one to help remind you of life mantras to focus your day before you leave for work or a few simple Praises of Gratitude as a gentle inspirational reminder as you gather around the dining table.
You could also utilize found objects similar to these rustic antique dough boards to make your own one of kind wall art. Sticking in the Amish theme of hand made quilts, wooden ladders or wood based tools similar to these would work perfectly to create visual interest for your walls. Just remember Tip #1 “Simplicity is The Ultimate Sophistication”- Leonardo De Vinci. Just don’t over do it. Remember to keep the items in moderation and really curate a collection, otherwise it becomes a Cracker Barrel.