We love gnomes and have performed some research into what gnomes are most likely to look like when you see them.

Since Sir Charles Isham brought German terracotta gnomes home and placed them in his garden, male gnomes have traditionally had a red hat, long white beard, green jacket, brown trousers and black shoes.

How the Internet has Made Gnomes More Diverse

When they initially began appearing in culture their look was more akin to that of goblins which wasn’t very appealing to people. However, in modern times, the look of the garden gnome has not changed a huge amount from the jolly-looking, hat-wearing figures that are described further down in this article.

As technology has developed over the last decade or so, it has allowed individuals to make and then sell their own gnome designs to people around the world. This means that whatever people can imagine, they can sell.

This has led to a more diverse range of gnome designs being created which means that you can now purchase them based around a number of different themes such as zombies, sports teams and TV shows.


A gnome’s hat represents the family or faction that they belong to. It is thought that when they are a baby and child that a gnome will wear a yellow hat and when they “come of age” at the 40 years of age mark they will then choose which color hat that they will choose to wear for the rest of their days.

If a gnome loses their hat then it is a very stressful and emotional situation as they place a great deal of importance on this head wear as it represents where they belong however, against common belief, they do not derive magical powers from their hat.

Different hat colors that gnomes wear include blue, green and red with red being the most common and the one that is the most traditional and which appears to be the most frequent hat color of choice for garden gnomes.

What is a Gnome Hat Called?

The hats do not have a specific hat so they are generally referred to as a “gnome’s hat” or “pointy hat”. Maybe we should give them a name!

Check out our full guide to gnome hats here!


Most male gnomes, particularly the those that are used as garden ornaments, will have a long white beard and this is definitely part of the traditional look. Female gnomes, unlike their dwarf counterparts, are not thought to grow beards.

The beard is one of the most famous features of the male variety and one that adds to the more happy and friendly vibe that they give off compared to when they originally began to appear in forms of culture.

The beards are pretty much always white and they are this color as soon as they turn 40 which is when they “come-of-age”. The white beard is just another feature of them which is quite common to the modern look of Santa Claus.

They have a number of tasks that they have to do everyday such as maintenance of the place where they live but their beard is something else that they have to take care of on a regular basis. They grow quite quickly so often have to trim them with scissors to keep them tidy and from getting in the way of their hands.


The most common trouser color that you will see is brown, especially on a garden gnome ornament. This is because brown trousers are generally associated with working outdoors and dirt will not show up as much on them. As gnomes are associated with working outside on things such as taking care of the land around your yard and protecting it from evil, brown is a natural color for them to be wearing.

Do Gnomes Have Eyes?

They do indeed have eyes and the most common eye color that they have is blue. However, they can also have brown, green and also yellow eyes.

They do have very good eyesight from an early age but as they live so long and they perform work which requires great detail their eyes do deteriorate over the course of their lifetime. However, they do wear spectacles to combat this.

They eyes in- modern yard gnomes are friendly and happy which gives an increased overall look of friendliness in these figures. Their eyes are often smiling and makes them more attractive to look at and have around.

How Tall is Gnome?

They are generally between three and four feet tall or 1 / 1.2 metres tall.

This height gives them several advantages in the type of life that they decide to leave. Their relatively small height allows them to move around nature in an easier way than if they were of human height. For example, they can around the woods and forests quite easily as they can move under branches and fit through small gaps.

This size also makes them quick across short distance and, as they do not like to be seen by humans, enables them to quickly get out of sight. As part of their job is to protect their owner’s yard from evil, they can quickly get to the spot where danger lies when needed too.


As you can see (and will probably notice more after reading this) they have rather large noses. A big nose is seen by the gnomish community as a thing of beauty and something to be proud of. The way they see it is that the bigger it is the better! The male gnomes often compare noses to see who has the biggest.

Similarities to Santa Claus

It is quite interesting to note the similarities between the way the gnomes look to the physical features of Santa Claus as there are a few. One of them is their rather large stomach. Santa Claus is particularly well-known for this but most modern gnome figures have this as well. Another obvious common physical trait is the long, white beard. A slight difference is that whilst most males have the beard some of them do not have the moustahce element.

Another similarity is the red hat. Most gnomes, although not all, wear a red hat and Santa Claus does too. However, a difference here is that Santa Claus’ droops down to the side whilst our garden-based friends’ hats will up into the hair. They also share a similarly shaped nose. Both are a little round and rather large.

All of these features go along with the stereo typically jolly and good-natured folk that both Santa Claus and the average gnome is supposed to be.


Hopefully this article gives you some insight into the many common physical features that gnomes have and that you now feel better placed to recognize one when you see one. There are many variants of a gnome’s physical appearance and this is increasing over time as people make ornaments based on them which are inspired by modern cultural phenomena.

However, they are still fundamentally based on the design that has been common for over 150 years and which keeps them as popular as they have ever been.






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