Midwest Themed Home Style Guide

Tara Dickinson
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The first images conjured when envisioning the Midwest are ones of rolling plains and fields of grains that cover most of the region. If you look at what the Midwest states are famous for, just about each one tops the list with agriculture. The Midwest, as defined by the federal government, comprises the 12 states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.


  • Illinois- agriculture, farming, Chicago, large metropolis.
  • Indiana- vast farmlands, steel mills, Indy 500.
  • Iowa- corn crops, animal farming.
  • Kansas- sunflowers, great plains, oil.
  • Michigan- great lakes, Detroit auto industry, fishing, forestry industry.
  • Minnesota- natural landscape, great lakes, large corporations.
  • Missouri- combination of Midwestern and Southern culture, Kansas City BBQ.
  • Nebraska- farming and agricultural.
  • North Dakota- agricultural industry, produces millions of crops each year.
  • Ohio- corn production, university life, sports teams.
  • South Dakota- Mount Rushmore and the Badlands, tourism, and agriculture.
  • Wisconsin- dairy industry, Milwaukee, beer.

With much of life simply focused around farming, the home decor style is going to reflect that. Thus if we had to choose an overarching style for the regions it might be considered Country, Rustic, Americana, Shabby Chic, and variations of each one of those themes where you can have old-style Country and modern Country for example.

  • Midwest homes use neutral earth tones resembling the grain fields and sprawling landscapes where this style was born.
  • Many of these houses fall into the Prairie style, which was popularized by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright during the early 1900s.
  • The homes are simple, using continuous horizontal lines and clean, solid edges.
  • Midwestern homes feature at least three bedrooms and two bathrooms, reflecting the abundance of open space common to the region.
  • Natural building materials are preferred which can impart varying appearances.
  • Stone facades create a timeless appearance, while others incorporate the types of wood common in the area.
  • Interiors include open floor plan living space, re-creating the openness that you feel out on the prairies.
  • High ceilings are typical.
  • As are large kitchens.


Prairie Style

This look is all about horizontal lines; you’ll want to emphasize long, straight, lines throughout the house. To mirror this same style in your Midwest inspired interior decor, bring in design elements that display balance and harmony, such as:

  • Living plants
  • Natural materials
  • Vintage vases
  • Geometric patterns in tile floors

Year-Round Coziness

The kind and open attitude of Midwest people is also expressed in their home decor with warm and welcoming accouterments. The dining experience in dinner clubs of bygone eras in this region delivered old-time hospitality and ambiance, which is now offered more in a generational family-style with a bit of a snazzy overall vibe. Bringing part of that Midwest feel into your home can be easily accomplished.

  • Front porches have comfortable sitting areas for neighborly visits.
  • The decor is rustic in nature.
  • The setting is relaxed.
  • The lighting is soft.
  • Modern plaid blankets are added for texture and warmth.
  • Enhance a home’s fireplace and stonework.


Neutral earth tones and all the different shades of the browns that wood comes in are the most common and overall palette of colors used. Additional accents come in:

  • Brick red
  • Iron
  • Sage green

Wood, Wood, & Than Some More Wood

The first and last element that you find consistently in all Midwest homes is wood. Wood is a significant part of Midwest home décor. It just makes sense that home decor would take advantage of the surrounding materials.

  • Wood BUILT-INS: Nooks, storage units, bookcases, cabinets, lots of closets.
  • Wood BEAMS: Exposed wooden beams on ceilings and walls.
  • Wood DOORS: Heavy wooden doors on all entrances.
  • Wood FLOORS: All types of hardwood floors.
  • Wood FURNITURE: Solid oak wood antique furniture (with Scandinavian and German roots in the region) is the most popular.
  • Wood PANELING: Wood-paneled walls (including in basements turned into man caves or rec rooms).
  • WOODWORK: Lots of differently colored stained woodwork.

Area Rugs

To soften and anchor the large expansive open space rooms typical in Midwest homes, rich wood floors are complemented with area rugs in calming colors and patterns, usually made from wool or other tapestry-like materials.

Wall Decor

Midwesterners are humble, gracious people. Their homes are not showy or over-decorated. Simplicity is where it’s at.

  • The decor approach is conservative, thus walls are simply adorned.
  • Gallery walls are not quite as common and if they are, it’s the less is more approach.
  • You’ll find a proud display of family and friends, or maybe a favorite local artist.
  • It’s quality over quantity.
  • In the Chicago-style home, you will see vintage posters or framed famous sections of the city. This same style is reflected in all Midwest state homes where showing off state pride is appreciated.

Picture clusters with a few family photos are not overwhelming leaving much open space which overall creates a feeling of order and good taste.

Fireplace: A Focal Point

There are no two ways about it, the states in this Midwest region get cold, really cold winters. So their fireplace is not only a decorative element that makes for an excellent room focal point, but they truly are a necessity as well.

  • Don’t have a built-in fireplace, get an Amish fireplace which is a portable electric heat source that looks like a real fireplace (with a mantel as well).
  • The accessories that surround a hearth add to the overall Midwest decor ambiance, such as tool sets, decorative gates, screens, kettles, decorative fire-safe rugs, and log racks.
  • Another large part of the living room or any room decor around the fireplace is the mantle. The various ways you can make this a real stand-out feature in the room are outlined in this guide. Some general ideas as large mirrors, art pieces, different height items, and garlands.

Sports Memorabilia

Midwesterners have a deep-rooted love of sports, it’s a way of life and culture, and this is reflected in the home.

  • Sports memorabilia is part of family history and is proudly displayed as decoration. 





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