Often log cabin interior design can be overwhelmed by the imposing look of wood everywhere. With log walls, hardwood floors and log ceilings, the dominating visual aspect is wood. Log cabin design can be more than timber and earthy colors. Not that there’s anything wrong with that but there are other options. Here a few tips for personalizing your log home to make it truly yours.
Log Cabin Interior Design Overview
- Use Color – Expand beyond earth tones. Log cabins frequently have too much brown. Mix in white or yellow to lighten up a room. Choose blue for a calming effect. Red will raise the energy level. Purple is considered luxurious. Orange is energetic. You can bring in color with accessories like pillows, blankets and art work.
- Lighting is so very important. Table lamps, floor lamps and lighting fixtures add finishing touches. Recessed lighting and dimmers set the mood. More on lighting.
- Drywall in a cabin? Don’t be afraid to install some drywall on your interior walls. Drywall can be painted to add some color to any room. It can always be taken down later.
- Rugs are a great way to introduce texture and color.
- Kitchen seating – Consider a restaurant style booth that takes up less space than traditional seating. A booth for eight is smaller than table and chairs for 6 and can include drawers for extra storage.
- Resist Clutter. As they say, “less is more.” Too many accessories can detract from a beautiful space. If you have lots to show off, rotate pieces throughout the year.
- Don’t forget the front porch. It’s the first thing friends and family see when they arrive. Add comfy seating like Adirondack chairs or a swing to make your log home look inviting. More on porches and decks.
- Door Handles easily display your personal style. Select knobs, pulls and hardware that appeal to you.
- Mix rustic and modern in the kitchen. You can keep the charm of a cozy log home and still have stainless steel, glass front cabinets and a backsplash with tile, glass or metallic elements.
- Lighter interior wood tones can be used as an alternative to the traditional dark wood usually associated with log cabins.
Log Cabin Design Ideas
Log cabins are as intrinsic to the American landscape as the weathered peaks of the Appalachian Mountains. They use one of our country’s most abundant renewable resources to craft a home that blends into the surrounding environment. Log cabins are always a welcome sight and are a fixture of both the countryside and suburban areas.
Designing yours to fit a particular aesthetic can seem daunting, but there’s good news — a log cabin can be as blank a canvas as you make it. Thanks to the bounty of wood both inside and out, an undesigned log cabin starts with a natural set of built-in good looks. This gives it an advantage over more conventional homes.
Let’s look at some ideas for the finer details of designing your home. We’ll focus on two particular styles — rustic and modern — although you may find yourself drawn to ideas from both.
Rustic Log Home Interior Design
Log homes can take on a number of different styles, but a rustic aesthetic is a great starting point. Log cabins have an inherent rusticity to them, so playing with traditional design techniques is a great starting point. Let’s take a look at a few ways to bring a rustic feel to your log home.
1. Beams, Flooring and Trim
As you invite people to visit your log home, take note of their eye movement. They will inevitably look up and admire the beams supporting the ceiling. Because log homes wear their architectural designs on their sleeves, support structures like beams are a part of the charm. If you have hand-hewn beams, their human touch will add tremendous character to the home. You can also use beams for hanging lanterns and other decorations.
A log cabin’s flooring makes a huge impact on the warmth and brightness of a home. Choose wide-plank pine for a rustic feel. Though it can attract dents due to the softness of the wood, these marks can actually add character to the home. Polished hardwood floors may look slightly less old, but they are durable and scratch-resistant.
Trim can add a dark pop to light wood or a light pop to dark wood. Either way, it is a great way to accent the room. If your walls are a light color, choose a darker wood or stain for your trim. For white drywall, look for something like pine, cedar, maple or other wood to contrast but not darken the room too much.
2. Drywall in Rustic Log Cabins
Generally, drywalling a cabin is an effective way to make it feel less rustic. If that is the effect you’re going for, then great! But if you are trying to create a traditional look, drywall should be used sparingly. Using drywall or plaster to fill out areas between trim and beams is a fun choice, and painting the wall to look textured will maintain a rustic feel.
The wood in a log cabin will have its own natural color. This color may be to your taste or you may wish to alter it somehow. The simplest way is to stain it. Stains come in different glosses, ranging from a matte finish to a sheen that will catch the reflection of lights. Be sure to consult your builder before staining, though, as they may recommend giving the logs dry time. Putting stain on both the inside and outside of a log house can trap moisture and cause the stain to blister.
Another fun option is painting a cabin’s walls. To achieve a rustic look with painting, try using a brush and painting a semi-translucent paint onto the walls, allowing imperfections to give it character. This is a good way to brighten up a space as well.
3. Lighting and Hardware
In a rustic log home, it is fun to experiment with things like Edison bulbs, faux candles and other lighting effects to set the ambiance. Some interesting ideas include wall lights with shades in the shape of evergreens, which cast beautiful shadows around a room. Another is to fit your rooms with antique-style lamps or imitation oil lanterns.
A great choice for hardware material is black cast iron. This metal immediately conjures a feeling of rusticity, so using it for door hinges, sconces and more will take your house back in time.
In the bathroom and kitchen, you can get creative with things like horse feeder troughs and copper pipes. These rustic elements will make eye-catching sinks, tubs, shower curtain tracks and tubing.
4. Rustic Furniture
There is a wide variety of rustic furniture made specifically for log homes. In the dining room, the look and feel of a natural wood table will fit in nicely. These may have legs made of tree trunks — knots and burls and all — and tops made of live-edge wood slabs. Matching chairs will make the room complete.
In the bedroom, the same style can apply to beds and bedside tables. Framing made from natural poles and branches is just as charming as that made from reclaimed material. You can find plenty of dressers, vanities, bedside tables, chests and more made from things like reclaimed pallet wood or barn wood. There are also items such as benches made of railroad ties. These items look amazing and fit into rustic log homes effortlessly.
5. Fireplace and Chimney
A rustic log home will accommodate many types of chimney and still look traditional. If you are using a wood stove, you may opt for a simple, exposed chimney pipe inside the house. Alternatively, you can build a chimney out of brick, stacked or mortared stone, cement or other material.
Whatever you decide to put in your cabin, remember that a chimney is not optional. Building codes require it to meet safety requirements to prevent fires. If you choose to put a wooden mantle over your fireplace, for instance, make sure it is safe from the risk of fire.
In a rustic home, fireplaces and chimneys can be made with round river stones, stacked chiseled stones, slate or other types of rocks. These will all look great because they blend in with the natural feel of the home.
Modern Log Cabin Interior Design
There is something so fascinating about a log cabin clad in modern decor. It’s hard to pull your eyes away from it. There is still an irresistible element of ruggedness about it, and yet a sort of space-age sensibility has cleaned its edges and refined it. The modern interior design movement flourished in the United States after World War II and has blended seamlessly with many existing styles. Let’s see how to make it mesh with a log cabin.
1. Beams, Flooring and Trim
The name of the game with modern decor is simplicity with tasteful pops of character. When blending modernism into a log cabin, it is helpful to start by identifying parts of the cabin that can serve as these “pops.” Beams, flooring and trim are great starting points.
It is common in modern log cabins to cover the ceiling with drywall or another type of wood. One of the advantages of doing so is that it allows beams to stand out more. Try using a pine wood ceiling, with the wood oriented toward the windows, to direct the eye outside and make the intersecting beam stand out at the same time.
Modern cabins allow a great number of different flooring options as well. Whether it’s tile, hardwood, softwood, concrete or slate, there is a strange freedom in bridging the gap between old and new styles.
With trim, try to let the surrounding walls and ceilings inform your decision. If the room is drywalled and sparse, something like a rustic, live-edge trim would add the aforementioned pop. If the walls are busy, try for thin, low-profile trim that allows doors and windows to serve as a visual break.
2. Drywall in Modern Log Cabins
If there are elements of complexity within modern design, they must be balanced by an overlying simplicity. Installing drywall on walls and ceilings is a great way to reduce visual noise and allow the cabin’s other features to serve as accents. Plan out where drywall will have the greatest impact.
If a room has beautiful beams spanning the ceiling, drywalling is a great way to make them stand out more. Similarly, a room with large windows overlooking a beautiful view can benefit from drywall. It is perfect for allowing rustic trim around doors and windows to breathe more and makes an accent wall of logs stand out.
Resist the temptation to use too much drywall in modern log cabin interior design, though. A wall of logs may be busier than a wall of drywall, but the busyness can be skillfully managed. Try hanging a few small picture frames side by side on the wall, then step back and look. These little decorations are enough to make the wall seem simple by contrast.
3. Lighting and Hardware
There are plenty of modern log cabin design ideas that fit into the modern aesthetic. When choosing lighting and hardware, the main rule to adhere to is the “simplicity with tasteful pops of character” mantra. If your cabin has a lot of drywall and 90º angles, then stainless steel handles, curtain rods and light fixtures can look perfect. If the cabin still sports lots of wood, black hardware will look right at home in it.
Just remember that low-profile and slender hardware is a safe bet, but allowing some larger pieces will create a pop that complements this style well.
4. Modern Furniture
Choosing furniture for a modern home is quite easy these days with the abundance of chic products on the market. When it comes to choosing the right modern furniture for your log cabin, it will come down to colors, shapes and materials.
Many pieces of modern furniture opt for a neutral palette — that is, grays, whites and blacks — because they age well, are subtle and do not clash. Bright accent pieces are fine here too. A bright red pillow to match the curtains or a Jetsons-like chair can add a dash of personality to the room.
Similarly, decide whether you want to choose metal or wood for the furniture’s framing. This particular choice is almost arbitrary, since either is likely to look good in your log home.
5. Fireplace and Chimney
Finally, the fireplace and chimney in modern log homes need not differ too drastically from those in rustic ones. A stone fireplace and multi-story chimney will look just as “at home” in a modern home.
The difference is that a modern log home also allows for other creative chimneys. Plate metal, retro, industrial or any other type of chimney is permissible inside a modern log home as long as it complements the surrounding vibe.
Fireplaces vs. Wood Stoves in Log Home Design
A roaring fire looks at home in a log cabin. It is worth considering the pros and cons of wood stoves and fireplaces before choosing one or the other. Fireplaces are visually stunning, but offer an efficiency of around 10%, making them quite wasteful in terms of heating. Wood stoves deliver between 40% and 70% depending on their age and design, making them a much better choice for heating.
If you are going for looks, a fireplace is a fine choice. If you are going for efficiency and warmth, a wood stove is superior. If you would like both, try getting a wood stove with a glass front so you can see the fire itself.
As far as overall energy efficiency goes, these days, the logs in cabins are milled so that water doesn’t get trapped in between them. This also makes the cabin relatively airtight, which, combined with the natural insulating properties of logs, helps drive energy costs down and make for a warmer space. You can be sure that your fireplace or wood stove will contribute to a snug home.
Do We Need Chinking?
Chinking is the substance between logs that seals out air and weather while holding the logs together. In older log cabins, this was used to seal gaps in the areas where the logs did not meet. It is still in use but is not strictly necessary, since log home builders today can mill logs to interlock perfectly without allowing air through.
At Conestoga Log Cabins and Homes, logs come ready to put in place without the need for chinking.
Cabinets in a log home’s kitchen can shine in the form of natural, uncolored wood, where they exude the natural charm of the house. Likewise, they can also take on any number of stains and tones to match different kitchen styles, from colonial to contemporary and beyond. In rustic log homes, cast irons pots and pans can hang from nails on walls or on ceiling beams. In modern ones, drawers with recessed pull handles can house everything cleanly out of sight.
Granite and wooden countertops are staples in both rustic and modern log homes. The siding of kitchen islands can even be made from stone to match nearby fireplaces and accent walls.
When Will the Cabin Be Used?
If your cabin is primarily used for hunting in the fall, for skiing in the winter or for lounging in the spring and summer, that will affect what types of design choices you make.
Winter cabins should place coziness and brightness high on their list of priorities. Light wall colors can help reflect the low-angled sunlight and brighten the room. There should be lots of room for gathering around the fire and some comfortable throw rugs for playing board games when the weather keeps everyone indoors.
Warm weather cabins should focus on airiness and a feeling of connectedness with the outdoors. Stepping into a dark, poorly-lit house from warm, sunny weather can create a sense of detachment between the house and the season. Counter this with lots of lights, uncluttered furniture, sitting areas centered around an outside view and fabrics that mesh well with summer.
Visit Conestoga Log Cabins and Homes
Conestoga Log Cabins and Homes is an industry leader in building state-of-the-art log homes. We make log cabins for everyone from hunters roughing it in the woods to full-time residents in search of luxury. Our log cabins are pre-built and easily assembled with the provided instructions. Due to our love for customizing homes according to our customers’ wishes, our cabins can host any design aesthetic, from rustic to modern, and everything in between.
Take a look at the many cabins we design and deliver and contact us with any inquiries.