5 Design Tips to Give Your Home a Log Cabin-Like Feel


You don’t need to live in the deep woods or on a mountainside to capture the cabin spirit. Wilderness-inspired living has evolved beyond dark wood and crowded spaces. Vaulted ceilings, light-colored hardwoods, sun-drenched rooms, and spacious porches define modern cabin living.

“Rustic chic” has brought many practical design elements into modern living, transforming sterile spaces into cozy, relaxed rooms that subtly harken to the outdoors. Cabin-inspired designs not only look good, they also reflect the adventurous spirit of the homeowner. If you’re looking to capture a backwoods vibe in your home, consider these five design ideas.

1. Wide Plank Flooring and Siding

Reclaimed wood can serve as stunning flooring.

Reclaimed wood can serve as stunning flooring. | Lani & Jeff Hudelson

In contrast to the modern trend of sleek and narrow hardwood flooring (and laminates), wide plank flooring introduces a rustic charm that was originally at home in cabins, barns, and old time New England architecture. 10-foot-white oak planks are especially appealing with a light stain that brings out the swirls, knots, and stripes. When paired with autumn-colored rugs of dark red and faded yellow, the room will capture the hues of a September afternoon. Wide planks of cedar or oak can also be used in interior spaces, often complementing red brick or stone walls. Staggered or mixed-sized planks can add an artful touch of assorted shades of wood, from deep brown to birch white.

2. Sliding Barn Doors

Consider a sliding barn door as a cool indoor feature.

Consider a sliding barn door as a cool indoor feature. | Ken Mayer

While sliding barn doors have never entirely gone away, this stylish and practical feature has found its way back into many homes. While it’s certainly possible to modernize the look, with brass or copper hardware, black iron rollers on a slightly weathered iron track capture a country elegant style, especially when mounted on dark wood. Doors with opposing grain or weathered outside edges can make a statement. When used as an entrance to a den or reading room, a barn door can serve as a portal into a more relaxed atmosphere.

3. Wood Burning Features & Accessories

A fireplace or wood-burning stove is a must.

A fireplace or wood-burning stove is a must. | Ze’ev Barkan

A wood burning stove is the centerpiece of many cabins, providing heat and serving as a classic design element. Likewise, a stone fireplace that burns real wood can add real character to any home. Fireplaces and wood stoves can instantly transform a room and leave a subtle, smoky scent after use on a cold night. If you happen to have a gas fireplace—or even a portable, electric fireplace for ambiance—you can make that a rustic focal point, too. Try adding in a patterned fireplace screen or wrought-iron candleholders.

4. Reclaimed Wood and Metal Accents

Reclaimed Wood.

Reclaimed Wood. | Juhan Sonin

Go back in time 100 years and you’ll find most structures were built of quality wood and metals that were made to last. The beauty of reclaimed materials is that they have maintained a great deal of their sturdy, structural capacity while telling the story of the seasons they have endured in the elements. Clever decorators incorporate everything from metal wheel barrow wheels to rust-warped tools as a testament to the stoic reliability of such items in their day. Likewise, reclaimed wood will look good indoors or out as railings, tabletops, or as a simple footrest. Equip yourself to take on a range of these projects; at the very least have a multi-tool handy.

5. Weathered Frames and Molding

Finally, weathered framing and molding is a good way to draw the eye to windows and floors. From a design perspective, weathered framing eases the transition from wall to window. White, weathered molding sets nicely with a hardwood floor of any color, while dark molding can be striking when paired with lighter woods. The distressed look can be mimicked by blending golds, browns, and blue-gray in long strokes. These shades bring to mind a cloudy filled sky reflecting on a dark lake or the low sun fading in a field of tan grass.

Originally written by RootsRated for Gerber Gear | Featured image provided by Nicolás Boullosa

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