Five things you will find in (almost) every Austrian home
From handy things that you will no longer live without to some head-scratching devices (not literally), here are a few things you will almost always find in Austrian homes.
For its size, Austria is a highly diverse country, with regions having their own dialects and traditions. However, certain things make an Austrian home very typically Austrian.
Of course, you might not find all of them in every single home, but take a closer look at your Austrian friend's Wohnung. It might surprise you how many of these sometimes weird, sometimes extremely useful things you might find.
This is a staple. Austria is one of the countries where people take their shoes off once entering their homes. It might seem strange for foreigners at first, but definitely a hygienic habit to have and one that many expats adopt in time.
Taking off your shoes also means that almost all households in Austria will have a pile of "house shoes", slippers and comfortable socks that people wear once they are inside their homes. Many Austrians even have special guest house shoes for visitors.
And since you can't be expected to balance on one foot while removing or putting your shoes back on, they will always have schuhlöffel, the "shoe spoons", to help you out.
Similarly, there will always be an area of the house by the entrance where people can leave their coats and jackets, though that might be a surprise only for immigrants coming from warmer countries.
House shoes are essential in Austria and should not be confused with shoe houses.
A separate bathroom and toilet
Austrian homes will typically have a WC, with a toilet, and a Bad, where there is a washbasin and the shower or bathtub, and sometimes a washing machine. A typical (let's say what we mean: a grandma home) might even have a peculiar decor piece: themed toilet seat covers.
You might find that the walls of Austrian bathrooms can keep you busy while you're doing your business. They can hang calendars, funny paintings, and even family pictures on the WC walls.
No, those are not separate beds
Another thing that surprises many foreigners is the habit of having individual blankets in a couple's bed, making it look like separate beds pushed together. It's a convenient Germanic thing, and it helps with late-night blanket wars.
Although you can find many styles of architecture and decoration in Austrian homes, the very traditional one - one that you will find in huts and Austrian hotels too - will be heavy and good quality wood, perhaps a carpeted floor and some paper walls.
And if you open a closet, you'll be sure to find traditional garments in German-speaking countries and regions, the Trachten, including Lederhosen and Dirndls. So, no, it's not a myth that Austrians wear the clothes so much associated with the Oktoberfest - not all the time, but certainly for special occasions, including some weddings.
A bookcase full of binders
Austrians take their laws and regulations very seriously. Therefore, tax returns, invoices, and expense slips need to be saved for years, and they will have binders and binders full of all types of strange papers.
Sometimes, it might not even have to do with tax obligations. Still, you never know when you absolutely will need the guarantee for that table you bought six years ago, oder?
As most of the country still uses paper for everything (we mean everything: from getting access to important websites to sending passive-aggressive notes to a loud neighbour), you're sure to find stamps and envelopes in some of those binders and shelves as well.
Eggs and water things
An Austrian kitchen will have many particular things, not the least traditional food, lots of glasses for jams, or even many different types of bread (really, there are so many that you will quickly forget the joy of learning the word Brot).
You will find devices that you never knew you needed. Austrian tap water is one of the best in the world, and they will drink it with pride. However, you might see devices to carbonate the water, as sparkling water is preferred by many people in the country.
There will also always be a kettle - not so much for tea purposes, as Austrians are big coffee drinkers. Still, they refuse to waste energy boiling water on the stove for cooking.
And then: the egg devices. A typical breakfast could contain bread and boiled eggs, and the preparation is methodic. There might be an egg boiler, for instance. And a separate egg cup with space around it to keep the shells.
However, my personal favourite is the (*inhales deeply*) Eierschalensollbruchstellenverursacher. It's an absolutely crazy-looking device with the single purpose of helping you crack the egg with a perfectly clean cut.
We have two of them.