Log Cabin Decorating

Overall Themes and Individual Elements

Log cabin decorating can be an overwhelming task but don’t let it get you down. Start small using rustic décor elements but plan big with an entire log cabin interior design laid out. 

Plan Big with Log Home Interior Design Themes

Log Cabin Decorating -- Moose Light

Start with choosing an overall décor theme. Many people like the wildlife themes for cabin decorating, like moose, bear, wolves, elk or ducks. If you go this route make sure you really love it because it becomes very easy to select log cabin decoratingelements with moose or bear and pretty soon you can be overrun with woodland animals in your cabin. Nature themes include pine cones, pine trees and maple leafs.

Other log cabin interior design themes are areas and eras such as Lake Cottage décor, Western Ranch, the Lodge look, North Woods, Southwestern and Adirondack style.

Each of these log cabin decor themes looks great and many rustic décor accents and furnishings can be found in these styles for your country lodge or log cabin.

Don’t be afraid to mix them up the way you like it. Pick and choose different rustic design elements from various sources; maybe decorate different rooms in your cabin in different rustic themes to give that rugged rustic country appeal.

Another idea for a log home interior design theme would be an eclectic mix of antiques and imported items. This really opens things up and almost anything that interests you can be incorporated into your overall log cabin decorating plan.

Start Small with Log Cabin Decorating Elements

Log Cabin Decorating -- fireplace mantle

Start with individual cabin decorations like rustic lighting fixtures. A cabin-style combination light and ceiling fan can anchor an entire room. Or plan around different dominating features, like the fireplace.

The stone hearth and log fireplace mantle can suggest cabin decorating themes, like birch-bark canoes and pine trees, bear switch plates and moose coat hooks, metal art ceiling lights, a wrought iron fireplace screen silhouette or twig furniture.

Or start with a small room – the smallest room in the house makes planning easier to visualize. Make your bathrooms stand out with rustic hardware or wrought iron towel bars. Add a substantial outdoor-themed mirror and bear or moose light switch covers. Rustic bathroom vanity lighting sets the mood.

Colors and Textures

Log Cabin Decorating - birch outlet cover

 Log cabin interior design can be overwhelmed by the monolithic look of wood everywhere you turn. With log walls, hardwood floors and log or paneling on the ceilings, the dominating visual aspect is wood. Some people like this, but others would rather have some colors thrown in to the mix to set off the beautiful golden wood tones of the logs and timbers.

Don’t be afraid to install some drywall on your interior walls. Use this as a blank canvas to add color to a room. Add a texture to the walls with plaster and give it some depth. A bright color will reflect the cabin lighting and brighten the entire place. Muted earth tones blend well with the log cabin look and provide some contrast with the rich tones of the logs.

Light Fixtures and Lighting

Log cabin light fixtures take on a new role with their ability to set a mood or enhance a rustic décor theme. Log homes are not ordinary and their light fixtures should not be either. The high cathedral ceilings of a Great Room call for large, dramatic light fixtures such as an antler chandelier, a cedar log chandelier or a birch bark canoe chandelier that focus the eye and make a statement. Use pine cone wall sconces or twig wall lamps to continue the natural rustic décor on stairs. Rustic table lamps and dining lights round out your theme. 

Wood Finishes

Logs and tongue-and-groove paneling on interior walls need to have some sort of finish applied to protect the wood and help keep it clean. Some people may choose to stain the wood but be careful you don’t overdo it or your interior may feel dark. Keep the stain on the outside of the logs where the log stain will act like a high-SPF coating for your logs to protect them from the damaging UV rays of the sun.

Use low-VOC paint on your interior drywall to reduce fumes when painting. Glossy paints are easier to clean but can reflect too much light and look shiny.

Varnish or polyurethane is an ideal finish for logs and other wood. It also comes in satin, semi-gloss and gloss, with the wear resistance increasing with the gloss, as a higher concentration of solids is mixed in. But too much gloss can make the wood look plastic, whereas the satin finish will remind you of a hand-rubbed oil finish, begging to be touched.

Unless you’re applying polyurethane to a high-wear floor there’s no need to use the gloss finish. If you really want to protect the underlying wood, apply one coat of gloss covered by a finish coat of satin. The gloss coat protects the wood with a hard layer and the satin covers this with a smooth, satiny finish.

Fireplaces

Log Cabin Decorating - Fireplace

What would a log cabin be without a fireplace? After you install a fireplace, nothing sums up the rustic coziness of log home living like a stone fireplace set against logs and timbers. While there are many factors involved in designing the perfect fireplace, the most noticeable features will be the hearth and mantle. Using artificial (or manufactured) fireplace stone for the hearth facing can reduce the weight load by a factor of 6 or 7. Learn more about a quick and inexpensive way to frame a stone fireplace.

Consider using a wood burning stove as a heat source or use an alternative fuel such as gas or even gel. A gas stove or fireplace is a convenient and safe way to heat your log home.

Choosing a mantle can be an intensely personal choice and a key feature of your log cabin decorating, but you can rarely go wrong with using a massive timber made of reclaimed wood, or a red cedar log sawn in half and resting on two log corbels, or a rough-sawn slice of a log with the bark side showing, or stone slabs set on a recess above the fireplace. This is a chance to let your imagination free, but remember that there are minimum clearances required for flammable materials.

Iron Railings for Log Cabins

An ideal combination in nearly every log cabin decorating theme is wrought iron with the logs and timbers. They complement each other with their strength and rustic simplicity. Iron railings for log cabins offer a nice contrast with the lighter wood inside the cabin and they anchor down the feeling of solidity and permanence.

Window Orientation and Log Cabin Decorating

Log Cabin Decorating - window and sunlight

An east-facing window brings in pleasant morning sunlight. West-facing windows can be hot on summer afternoons so keep them small or ensure you use deep overhangs on your cabin roofing to block the sun.

Large fixed-glass windows can be ordered with a tinted finish to help keep your interior cabin furnishings from being damaged with the UV rays of the sun.

One of the best features of log cabins is the ability to use over-sized windows. The large logs are natural load carriers and allow the walls to be opened up to the outside making every window a picture window. Use double doors leading to your porch, deck or outdoor room to bring nature closer. Allow this open, bright, close-to-nature feeling to inform your log cabin decorating ideas.

It's important to choose efficient cabin windows to maximize the energy efficiency of your log home.

Log Cabin Flooring

Your floors are one of your largest log cabin decorating elements, but their importance is often overlooked or minimized. The choices you make for your log cabin flooring will partly dictate the overall design and look of your cabin. You can make the flooring a significant décor item or you can choose to make your flooring become a background for show pieces like soft leather couches, rustic wood tables and wrought iron benches.

You can make a small room feel larger by using flooring that is lighter in color than the walls. Mix up your cabin flooring with stone or tile at the entrances that get the most wear.

Blend or contrast stone or tile with hardwood flooring and use area rugs to soften the hardwood and help define interior spaces. Spice it up with cowhide rugs and pillows.

Kitchen Cabinet and Bathroom Vanity Hardware

An easy upgrade to your log home interior design is replacing your kitchen cabinet hardware and your bathroom vanity hardware. This is easily done with just a screwdriver and you can choose from dozens of different rustic décor styles such as bear and moose drawer pulls, brass pine cone knobs and bear silhouette door knob backing plates. 

Speaking of kitchens, your cabin kitchen countertop choices will affect the overall look of your cabin. You can opt for traditional with granite countertops, enjoy the smooth feel of soapstone or go green with recycled paper or concrete countertops. 


Rustic Log Cabin Decorating Tips:

  • Choose a focal point for each room – a sweeping chandelier, a massive stone fireplace, a cozy window seat, a favorite piece of artwork or antique – and build your cabin interior design around it. Echo the fireplace stone with smaller décor pieces or shine a spotlight on your artwork.
  • Brighten your day with rustic cabin lighting. Not only will it provide illumination, but it will also add a warm and personal touch to your cabin décor.
  • If you love a warm comforter on a cold night use a rustic cabin style down comforter or try a Hudson Bay blanket over flannel bear-themed sheets.
  • Search online for log cabin decor and cabin furnishings, rustic mountain cabin accessories, wildlife art, cabin wildlife rugs, rustic cabin signs, log cabin home accents, cabin furnishings and log cabin accessories. eBay is a great place to start with a huge collection of log cabin decorating items being sold every day.
  • Incorporate smart storage ideas to make full use of the interior space you have in your log cabin. You can keep items out of sight that don’t lend themselves to your overall cabin décor.
  • An excellent book with loads of photos and plenty of log home interior design, rustic décor and log cabin decorating ideas is "The Rustic Home" by Ralph Kylloe.. Check out our Virtual Library for other suggestions, too.
  • Large spaces like Great Rooms require dramatic interior design elements. Use an antler chandelier (or two!) to lighten the large space. Install a rustic iron cabin chandelier or Southwestern theme chandelier and use that to establish your log home interior design.
  • Can’t afford to completely redesign your cabin? You can redecorate cheaply by changing individual cabin interior design elements and still make it feel like a new cabin entirely.
  • Carefully plan out your overall lighting scheme to balance overall illumination with focused spots and ambient lighting. Combat the mistaken conception that log homes are dark and oppressive by flooding your cabin with energy-efficient ambient lighting and smart use of task lighting.
  • Start a scrapbook with log cabin decorating ideas, such as:

          - sketches

          - ideas jotted down

          - examples torn from log home magazines

          - photos of friend’s rooms

          - swatches of fabric or paint chips

          - log home interior design plans

          - rough dimensions of rooms or areas that you desire

          - sample layouts and arrangements

          - lists of furniture, antiques or art that you require a place for

          - pictures of light fixtures

          - log cabin decorating articles

          - ads for rustic decor pieces

          - catalog pages showing cabinet door styles

          - sample pieces of flooring

Log cabin decorating or log home interior design can be as simple as choosing a few rustic décor elements to enhance your cabin decorating or as grand as selecting an overall theme for your log cabin interior design and ensuring that everything is designed and crafted around that theme. 

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Decorating a Log Cabin

All About Decorating a Log Cabin
Designing the Perfect Fireplace
Building a Stone Fireplace
Iron Railings for Log Cabins
Best Log Cabin Light Fixtures
Redecorate Cheaply with these Tips
Smart Storage Ideas
A Guide to the Best Fireplace Stone
Creating the Log Cabin Look
Fireplace Mantel: Heart of your Hearth
Cabin Ceiling Fans are Efficient
Log Cabin Decor: Styles and Themes

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