Cabin Decor Ideas

©Hearthstone, Inc. Skilled carpenters and pioneers in the New World felled trees and hewed the logs square. Their homes' logs were lined with chinking and locked together with dovetail corners.

Cabin decor is a way to turn your log cabin into a cozy, charming environment. The tips in this article will give you ideas and inspiration for your log home.

If you haven't done it since you were a kid, go outside and sit under a tree. Lean back against the strong, warm trunk. Look up at the branches that form the canopy of leaves that shade and protect you. Want to bring that feeling home? You can with a log cabin.


©Alpine Log Homes Photos A pair of massive log posts form the boundaries of a seating area around the fire. offer their simple comfort by the hearth.

Think of the words "log cabin," and you probably envision a little log house with a shake roof tucked into a grove of trees by a lake. Maybe you see a stone chimney puffing wood smoke. While we often think of a log home's exterior, the interior is what completes a cabin's charm.

All kinds of folks succumb to the allure of logs, from new-age pioneers to cutting-edge trendsetters. The styles that decorate log homes are as diverse as the people who live in them. You'll find everything from antiques to contemporary furniture making themselves equally at home.

©Alpine Log Homes Photos Cottage style, a close cousin to the summer camp look, makes this living room adds even more spice upholstery and window treatments.

Maybe you love a particular style -- Early American, Arts & Crafts, or Southwestern -- and know that a log cabin would be the perfect stage for your style to shine. Or perhaps you'd like to bring a truly classic cabin look -- that of the cowboy, rancher, or pioneer -- to your current home. Either way, this article will give you acres of ideas for making a log cabin fit your style or for bringing cabin decor home.

©Alpine Log Homes Photos An eclectic-style cabin provides the opportunity to mix and match items from many different styles.

In the next section, we'll explore the fascinating history of cabin decor styles, including Scandinavian, Appalachian, Western, and many more.

©Charles Cunniffe Architects/Steve Mundinger, Photographer Masculine lodge style pervades this impressive log home. Generous chairs, including two fashioned of moose horns, and a deep sofa offer a place to sit back and swap tales of the hunt.

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History of Cabin Decor

©Alpine Log Homes Photos In this log cabin, delicate birch bark balances the weight of the massive arched fireplace and echoes the home's furniture and loft railings.

Whatever your cabin decor taste, the log or timber frame home is at its heart a comfortable place that glories in the warmth of wood. Look up and you'll see beams and rafters, like the branches of a tree, supporting the roof. The sweet scent and quiet of the forest will embrace you as you walk through the door. Log cabin style is welcoming, honest, and unassuming.

In the Beginning

For centuries, people living in the forested regions of Europe and Scandinavia counted on trees for shelter. Their log-building and woodworking skills date back to medieval times. Although the people who fled Europe for the New World left much behind, they did bring along their skills at log crafting.


Residents of countries that had fewer trees, like England, built timbered homes. Instead of creating walls of solid wood, they used their sparse trees more sparingly for the walls' structure and completed the walls with infill made of a plasterlike material. Those who sailed from the British Isles and landed in New England built timber frame homes.

Today, we still celebrate these English, European, and Scandinavian ancestors with homes in Early American and Appalachian styles. For many people, Early American Windsor chairs and pewter candlesticks will never go out of style.

Far from the cluttered country look that engulfed the United States in the 1980s, the aesthetic of Early American is spare and dependent on pieces that typify fine woodworking. Colonists would have brought some of these cherished pieces with them on their journeys to the New World.

The shape of the house itself underlines Early American style. These homes have simple forms that include the symmetrical Colonial home, the classic Cape Cod house, and the saltbox. Inside an Early American home, a framed portrait may look down on a four-poster bed topped by a woven coverlet. The home's formal room may feature a gilded Federal-style mirror to reflect the light of a fire crackling in an open hearth.

The colors of these rooms can be cool, like Colonial blue, or warm, like oxblood red. And while the New England settlers preferred timber framing to logs for their homes, squared, Appalachian-style logs with wide bands of chinking look just right with this style.

South of New England in Appa­lachia, settlers built homes of squared logs. They also built furniture and wove textiles. The Appalachian-style log cabin embodies American country. Here you'll find rocking chairs on shed-roofed porches, wooden beds layered with scrap quilts, and open stone hearths filled with cast-iron kettles for cooking.

The shape of the Appalachian home was also simple. Often porches were tucked under the eaves of a gable roof, and a breezeway, known as a "dogtrot," connected two smaller square log buildings and offered a shady spot.

In these Appalachian cabins, kerosene lamplight spilled out onto families who made everything for themselves, from food to rugs to pottery to music. Their hands left behind their spirit, a lure for today's collector. That can-do attitude carried the pioneers to the West, where another log style blossomed.

Hands to Work

Decades after the first Colonists settled in the Northeast, the Shakers, a religious sect that fled persecution in England, landed in New York state. As the religion gained converts, Shaker communities formed in New England, Kentucky, and Indiana.

As part of their communal life, Shakers crafted furniture, baskets, and other items for sale. Although the Shakers' buildings were not made of logs, the style they created is well-suited for a home made of clean-lined logs or timber framing.

To remove clutter from living spaces, the ­Shakers perfected the craft of cabinetry. Wooden pegs on walls provided a perch for the assorted items that even simple life requires, like chairs, hats, and tools. The Shakers stripped away unnecessary ornamentation in their quest to create items that fulfilled specific purposes. Their furniture, while not overly carved or turned, gains its beauty from simple form, color, and the beauty of wood grain.

Because the Shakers believed in celibacy, their numbers have diminished to just a handful today, increasing the scarcity and value of their work. Reproductions enable all who enjoy clean lines and simple beauty to bring the Shaker look home. Ladder-back chairs and rockers, trestle tables, and tall chests of drawers exude Shaker style. Bandboxes and woven baskets are the perfect accessories. The Shakers also used color -- typically red, blue, and chrome yellow -- in their meetinghouses, homes, and furnishings.

More Is More

In stark contrast to Shaker style, Americans at the end of the 1800s loved opulence. The mass-produced furnishings and accessories manufactured during the Industrial Revolution fed their hunger. Ornate furniture topped with layers of silk and velvet and accessorized with bric-a-brac became the fashion. Oriental rugs decorated the floors, and heavy drapery dripping with fringe festooned tall windows.

By the end of the century in settled regions of the United States, log homes were out of fashion. New methods of framing homes with sawn, dimensional lumber and the invention of mass-produced nails meant that most people built wood-framed homes trimmed with decorative woodwork.

In fact, some people living in log homes at the time sheathed their outdated log walls in clapboard and paneling. Still, the Victorian look can successfully be brought to a log cabin, especially one with squared logs that offer a smooth canvas for hanging the multitude of paintings, mirrors, and knickknacks that are the hallmarks of this style.

For their abundant luxury, Victorian-style dining rooms and bedrooms are always in fashion, no matter what the architectural backdrop. Chandeliers that illuminate a dining table draped in heavy damask or lace and set with china, silver, and crystal elevate meals to special events. In the bedroom, the femininity of Victorian style makes for sweet dreams.

Back to the Hand

Not everyone loved Victorian style, however. Some found the ornate, garish, and machine-made goods shoddy. These people longed for a return to the Middle Ages, when fine artisans learned their crafts through a guild system. Thus, in the early 1900s, the Arts & Crafts movement was born.

Gustav Stickley, a furniture maker from New York state, personified the movement. To set the stage for his honest, handcrafted furniture, Stickley advocated a "sturdy and friendly type of architecture." In 1908, Stickley built a log farmhouse on 600 acres in rural New Jersey and dubbed it Craftsman Farms.

Inside a typical Arts & Crafts-style home, dark wood prevailed. Carved wainscoting stretched from the floor to eye level, and diamond panes or rectilinear designs ornamented windows and doors. Near the center of the home, an inglenook surrounded the fireplace, which may have been accented by handmade tiles. Richly grained wood floors were topped with rugs patterned after William Morris's textiles.

The furnishings produced at the time differed sharply from their Victorian predecessors. The linear style of Stickley's chairs and settees shrugged off the baroque ornamentation the Victorians loved. Like the Shakers, the craftspeople of this age relied on the wood's own beauty and the skill of their hands to make furniture both beautiful and comfortable.

Everything for the home was to be handmade. Light fixtures were made of copper and topped with mica shades. Pottery was thrown by hand. Woven curtains, table runners, and bed linens wore simple embellishments of stylized leaves and flowers. The colors were muted and natural.

Authentic and reproduction Arts & Crafts furniture and accessories look right at home with logs. Like log crafting, they echo the work of the hand, and their colors are the colors of the forest, suiting them perfectly for log and timber rooms.

Wealth in the Wilderness

At the height of the Victorian age, before the Arts & Crafts movement blossomed, the barons of the Industrial Revolution discovered the outdoors. Tales of abundant fish and game and the curing power of fresh air lured America's wealthiest families to the Adirondack forests of northern New York. There they bought up acres of land and planned for compounds of self-sufficient getaways.

Many of the compounds began as sites for permanent tents, but they quickly outgrew their rough origins. The goal was to make the wilderness luxurious, while maintaining a patina of rusticity. Small log buildings soon clustered around a main lodge.

Mother Nature served as interior designer: Birch bark lined walls and ceilings, twigs set in mosaic patterns trimmed windows and doors, crooked branches became stair railings, and stone piled up into foundations and chimneys. The lodges built in this style became known as the Great Camps.

Despite their remote locations, the owners of the Great Camps prided themselves on offering their guests every amenity, from electricity and indoor plumbing to bowling alleys and chapels. The furnishings of the camps reflected the period when they were built. Early log camps were furnished in ornate Victorian style.

As the century turned, however, Great Camp style veered toward Arts & Crafts, with Stickley-style rockers pulled up to stone fireplaces. No matter what the style, the evidence of the artisan's hand was everywhere. Beds were fashioned from hand-peeled and waxed branches, and handwoven baskets formed lampshades. Local craftspeople forged ironwork for the camps' light fixtures, hardware, and fireplace screens.

Spreading the Wealth

For decades, the Great Camps spread their influence across the United States. Their impact, and visions of Old World hunting lodges, has evolved into the lodge style that many of today's log cabin owners bring to their homes. Logs used in this style can be round or flat, or timber framing can be used. Whatever shape the wood takes and the bigger the logs or timbers, the better a backdrop for this truly masculine style of decor.

No lodge-style home is complete without a massive fireplace, preferably built of stone. Wood accents in the home's furnishings, floor, and trim may be dark and heavy. Picture a billiard room or library designed for gentlemen smoking cigars and talking politics.

The colors of this style are dark and muted tones of the natural colors that decorated the Great Camps: moss green, deep reds, and nutmeg browns. The deep colors also offer a range of textures, from leather to brocade to velvet. Antler chandeliers light these rooms with style. Of course, with a nod to the hunting tradition on which the style is based, animal mounts and trophies are a must.

Westward Expansion

Log cabins sheltered the pioneers as they settled the frontier. A man could build a log cabin with his own two hands. Inside, his wife would make the place a home with quilts, rag rugs, and maybe one or two good pieces of furniture that made the trip from back East.

Some pioneers abandoned their log cabins as soon as they had the wherewithal to build a frame house. Others, like the ranchers of the West, built their log homes for the generations.

Care was taken with log ranch houses to peel the logs and perhaps shape them to interlock with each other. If round logs were stacked up, the gaps between them were filled with chinking of horsehair and mud or plaster. A wide porch gave the ranchers room to wash up before they came inside.

Today, ranch-style log cabins endure as American icons. With a stone fireplace or an iron woodstove at its center, the cabin on the ranch is casual and utilitarian. Navajo rugs or cowhides might gussy up the wide-planked wood floors. The furnishings are oversized and comfortable, with a rocking chair stationed at the hearth and leather armchairs and sofas nearby for relaxing after a day of riding the range.

Log beds covered with woolen Native American blankets provide rest for the weary. Above it all hang chandeliers made of entwined antlers or forged iron. Saddles, boots, lariats, and spurs hung on the wall remind modern-day ranchers of their roots -- a lifestyle captured in Remington's bronze sculptures, which also look right at home in the log cabin ranch.

On the Light Side

Just as the wealthy Eastern establishment flocked to the Adirondacks at the turn of the century, a few decades later they began looking for outdoor adventure farther afield. To cater to these elite with visions of cattle drives and buffalo hunts, the dude ranch gained rapid popularity in the early 1900s.

Many dude ranches were spruced up for their city slicker patrons. The person who created what is termed Cowboy High Style was Thomas Molesworth, a furniture maker from Cody, Wyoming, who accepted several commissions to furnish Western ranches and hotels. His furnishings depict the Western lifestyle in romanticized glory. He peeled and polished fir and lodgepole pine branches to frame his furniture and upholstered the pieces in brightly colored leather or Chimayo weavings.

Wood burls and brass tacks were used as accents, and silhouettes of lone cowboys or Indian braves often decorated seat backs and headboards. Molesworth also fashioned special furnishings like bars and writing desks at which the dudes could pen postcards to send home.

Lighting for the dude ranch buildings came from iron or wagon wheel fixtures. The ranch's textiles followed tradition with brightly striped Hudson's Bay blankets and Navajo rugs. The accessories used to complete the setting included spurs, saddles, boots, and bows and arrows, while art on the walls depicted the fabled life of the cowboy singing under the stars and driving cattle across the great open spaces.

The furnishings, which followed the Arts & Crafts tradition, made the dude ranches comfortable for their posh guests, while still providing a somewhat primitive, rustic feel. Today, authentic Molesworth furnishings are highly coveted, and several Western companies craft reproductions for those who'd like to bring Cowboy High Style home.

The Cowboys and Indians theme can even be carried to its kitschy extreme with framed Western movie posters and pony-skin bar stools with cowboy boots for legs. Whether it's campy or sincere, your collection of Western memorabilia will fit right in to a log cabin of any style.

South and West

The desert Southwest offered its inhabitants few trees. There, precious timbers were used to create roof and ceiling structures to support the heavy roofs of adobe homes. Today, logs can be imported to these desert regions, and rounded, light-colored logs make a beautiful setting for decor inspired by the Southwest.

Southwestern style is a mixture of Spanish and Native American influences. Traditionally, small windows, thick adobe walls, and tiled floors helped keep homes cool in the desert heat. Today, terra cotta tiles and adobe accents make a wonderful, earthy complement to the warm wood tones of logs.

Southwestern-style furnishings may be carved Spanish Colonial wood tables and case pieces that remind us of centuries-old missions. The cruciform is repeated in carvings, recalling the influence of the missionaries. Some of these pieces wear a coat of paint in the colors of the sand, sunset, and sky.

On the floor or walls, brightly colored woven rugs and serapes add dashes of color. Beehive-style fireplaces take the chill off desert nights, and handmade pottery reflects the talent of native-born peoples. Mexican silver adds sparkle, while adobe is sculpted into soft, rounded archways.

Summer Places

Log cabins and summer vacations go together. In recreation areas across the country, from the woods of New England and the Northeast to the lakes of the Midwest, families built log cabins as escapes from their urban and suburban homes. The log style of these cottages and cabins varies from round to square, but it typically forms small, utilitarian buildings.

The basics of cottage style are comfort and practicality. Inside you'll find wood floors, some­times painted a cottage gray. Walk through a screen door, and you step out onto a porch -- a must for enjoying summer twilights. In the kitchen, you'll find painted cabinetry or just open shelves stacked with Grandma's everyday dishes.

The furnishings of cottage style are unpretentious and include slipcovered armchairs, well-loved wicker, or a set of simple painted chairs gathered around a large pine table. Lighting comes from humble fixtures of tin or metal, and vintage table lamps cast a soft light on this nostalgic style. Chenille spreads and scrap quilts top off the beds, while faded chintz florals and awning-striped cushions add even more comfort.

Signs of the outdoors are at home here, too. Wildflowers in a Fiestaware vase or watercolors of lakeside views remind the owners of nature's beauty just outside the door.

Take cottage style, subtract its feminine wiles, and you have the look of the summer camp. These manly retreats, built to house hunters, fishermen, and summer campers, are more rustic than their cottage counterparts. Here, rounded log walls give a rustic background for simple, utilitarian furnishings. Tools of the trade -- guidebooks, maps, fishing poles and lures, rifles and mounts -- work as accessories.

Light may come from kerosene lamps or an antler chandelier, and a black iron woodstove dries wet clothes and crackles as fish stories are swapped. The kitchen is the place to clean fish and make strong coffee. It may be outfitted with vintage utensils like graniteware kettles and cast-iron skillets for frying up the day's catch.

The Contemporary Cabin

While many log cabin styles glory in the patina of age, modern and contemporary decorating schemes fit right in to log cabins, too. Lovers of the clean, sparse lines of contemporary looks may choose a light-colored log or timber frame to enhance the style. Wide windows with no divisions carry out the modern look and open the cabin to the outdoors. The furnishings may be inspired by Scandinavian blond wood and chrome classics.

The contemporary home takes on an open floor plan. Sleek touches add their edge, from metal spiral staircases and railings to glass block. A fireplace is still the center of the home, but instead of being rustic and ornate, it's stripped to its essence of firebox and hearth.

Lighting can also add contemporary flair. Recessed lights, track lighting, and tapered torchères add drama to the space as they spotlight log trusses and ceiling beams. In the kitchen, stainless-steel appliances reinforce contemporary style. The primary colors of a Mondrian painting or a wash of neutrals all carry the look, and accessories are carefully edited.

All Together Now

Of course the log cabin's easy attitude accepts a mixture of styles. If your taste tends toward the eclectic, you'll find logs accommodating. No-fuss country style combined with Shaker simplicity and contemporary precision leads to homes that follow no set rules; instead, they cater to their owners' wide-ranging interests. The casual eclectic style works in any wood home, regardless of the style of timbers or log work.

In the next section, go "back to the land," and learn how to decorate your cabin to reflect a changing frontier landscape.

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Back to the Land

©Sandra Elizabeth Clinger A trunk is pulled up to the foot of one of the metal-framed beds, which are topped with snowy white coverlets to stay in line with the cabin's simple decor.

Although a pioneer's life was hard, it was played out against the beautiful and always changing landscape of the frontier itself. This homeowner set out to fill the cabin decor with pieces of the period to create a space free from modern distractions -- a place to dwell on the peacefulness of a life spent close to the land.

The cabin was built around 1915, and its furnishings are a reflection of that era. A cookstove provided both heat and meals, while an icebox helped preserve food.


©Sandra Elizabeth Clinger The wood cookstove remains at the center of the cabin to offer both heat and home cookin'. A hide rug helps take the chill off the floor.

The furnishings are straightforward and simple: a pair of straight chairs, a rocker, metal bedsteads, and a sofa for quiet times. When darkness falls, kerosene lanterns are lighted, and life continues inside the cabin much as it has for almost a century.

©Sandra Elizabeth Clinger A gate leg table opens to make room for two or more to eat, then folds down to make more space in the room.

Elements of Great Camp cabin decor include log furniture, animal trophies, and Adirondack chairs. Continue to the next section for more on this classic log cabin style.

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The Great Camps

©Photo courtesy of Rocky Mountain Log Homes A historic ranch in Montana creates the perfect spot for a new log cabin that follows in the lodge tradition. Oversize furnishings make room for all to enjoy the large, open gathering room.

Great Camp cabin decor traces its roots to the late 1800s. What was a New York socialite of the era to do when summer in the city was so hot and stifling? Gamely, she packed her steamer trunks and spent July at an oceanfront mansion in Newport. Then in August, she boarded a train bound for the Adiron­dacks, where evergreens fringe the shores of shimmering lakes.

In the Adirondack forests, families like the Vanderbilts and the Rockefellers entertained at the "Great Camps," sprawling com­pounds of log buildings with rustic exteriors and modern conve­niences.


Most Great Camps were built of unpeeled logs and trimmed with split branches and bark. Inside, guests made themselves comfortable in log beds built by local craftspeople and around dining tables set with meals prepared by servants. The great outdoors was the main attraction, and the decor reminded guests of their surroundings.

©Whispering Pines This clock showcases a timeless admiration for the beauty of nature. Pinecones, twigs, and bark set in a simple form create a memorable piece.

Great Camp style, with its twig furnishings, mounted animal tro­phies, and Adirondack chairs, is now a log cabin classic. The lodge look owes its start to both the Great Camps and the baronial hunting lodges of the Old World. Heavy European furnishings and dark colors surrounded by massive log walls complete the lodge-style look.

Incorporate rustic furnishings into your cabin's decor for a beautiful, back-to-nature look. We'll tell you more in the next section of this article.

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Designed by Nature

©Rustic Furniture A pattern of chip carvings dots the twigs on this gypsy chest. The piece's aged wood legs complement the piece's hickory top.

While today's manufacturers rely on machines and lathes to create fancy ornaments and turns on their mass-produced cabin decor furniture, the rustic furniture makers of the Adirondack north woods used ingenuity and the abundance of the forest.

From large case pieces to chairs to small boxes, the furniture and accessories created in rustic style all spotlight the beauty of nature.


©Antler Artistry Four shed antlers balance on a moose horn, which serves as the base for this floor lamp. Even the lamp's finial is a section of antler.

Craftspeople gathered twigs, bark, reeds, roots, and branches to use in their creations, and their patterns were gleaned from looks that were popular at the time, such as Victorian and Arts & Crafts styles.

©Whispering Pines Bright red chairs would add zest to any cabin's breakfast nook or great room. This table and chair set gives a nod to the classic shade of red favored by the owners of the Great Camps.

And although the heyday of the Adirondack Great Camps has passed, their influence is still seen in rustic furniture design. Like many of the pieces shown here, new furnishings and accessories are being made that honor the rustic tradition and its unique beauty.

©Hancock and Moore A tufted lounger with the look of a classic leather armchair would add straightforward masculinity to any lodge-style cabin.

In the next section, get great decorating advice for adding a Wild West touch to your cabin.

©Sleeping Bear Twig Furniture This simple arched mirror reveals the beauty of bark, featuring both the reddish hues from the inner layers of birch bark and the outer layer's peachy shade of white.

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The Wild West

©Russell and Rusty Viers, Livingston, Montana Red leather and brass tacks spark interest in this sideboard, complete with wood inlay and branchy drawer pulls.

The Wild West is a popular theme for cabin decor. After all, we love to hear the story of how the West was won. Movies, TV shows, and Western novels tell tall tales of cowboy heroes and their faithful sidekicks over and over again. And when he's not sleeping under the stars, we just know the cowboy goes home to a log cabin.

Bringing Western style to a log cabin means seeing beauty in everyday objects -- a hand-tooled saddle, woven blankets, and the simple forms of Native American pottery. No fluff and nonsense here, Missy; just plain and simple folks doing their jobs and living their lives.


Western style is honest, practical, and sturdy -- perfect for log cabins. Because the style is hardworking, the furnishings are rugged, like leather upholstered chairs and sturdy plank tables, and the colors are natural.

Of course, a love of Cowboys and Indians can be taken to the extreme. The Technicolor Western style of Hollywood matinees and Route 66 souvenir stands can bring whimsy and fun to any plainspoken Western-style home. For additional tips on creating a whimsical Western theme in your cabin, read on.

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East Coast Cowboy

©Photo courtesy of Rocky Mountain Log Homes Log cabin style should be inviting. A welcoming archway and a bench to sit on while you pull off your boots make folks feel right at home.

When a home welcomes you with a "Howdy!" plaque hung over the entry, you know its owners like a bit of whimsy in their home's cabin decor.

This log home, located in the Southeast, adds a generous helping of humor to its unique blend of Western and Southwestern decor. Bright colors, folksy artwork, and a willingness to mix styles make this home both lively and comfortable.


©Photo courtesy of Rocky Mountain Log Homes Ready for a cowboy's Saturday evening bath, this shiny red tub is the focal point for the master bath area. Contemporary glass block lends privacy to the shower area.

Vibrant color pops up in the kitchen's painted cabinetry, on woven Navajo rugs, in denim upholstery, and even in the master bath's showstopping red tub. The logs that back up the style are rounded and finished in a light honey tone that's complemented by the rich wood flooring. The informal, open floor plan, with a loft overlooking the kitchen and great room below, underscores the home's warm welcome.

©Photo courtesy of Rocky Mountain Log Homes Mexican saltillo tiles line the kitchen's backsplash, while colorful stained glass pendant lights shine on the casual breakfast bar.

With the right furnishings, accessories, and finishes you can decorate your cabin in a simple, unfettered style. We'll show you how in the next section.

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Simply Western

©Russell and Rusty Viers, Livingston, Montana A Native American cabinet depicts the rough and tumble of life on the Western frontier. Carved Indian heads accent the Southwestern-style piece.

Southwestern-, ranch-, and Western-style homes are structurally simple. No fancy architecture is required to create a cabin decor for these looks.

Natural and authentic materials used in simple ways will make your cabin's Western style ring true.


©Natalie Fay Linn Native American Baskets Made at the turn of the 20th century, this Native American coiled basket depicts a striking graphic pattern in black and white.

However, the right furnishings, accessories, and finishes are essential in order to nail the Simply Western look.

©Russell and Rusty Viers, Livingston, Montana A heavily burled Molesworth-style armchair and matching ottoman are upholstered in leather and Chimayo weavings.

You can't go wrong with oversize furnishings upholstered in natural-colored leather. Navajo rugs on the floor underline the style, and collections that interest you -- from Native American pottery to cowboy boots -- will give your cabin that Western twang.

©Santos Furniture An octagonal game table set on a giant wood burl offers plenty of elbow room for poker games. Carved keyhole chairs complete the set.

Don't overlook your home's light fixtures. From antler chandeliers to kitschy chuck-wagon table lamps, searching for the perfect lighting will lead you to wonderful and whimsical sources.

©Dancing Light Lamp by Cloudbird A Native American basket shape blooms in iron in this table lamp. The lampshade is painted by hand and accented with a pattern of leather lacings.

Think we've exhausted all the ways to decorate a cabin? We haven't. Read on for more fabulous cabin decor designs.

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North Woods Getaway

©Alpine Log Homes Photos Touches of red make this intimate living room even more cozy. The window trim is painted evergreen, a classic north woods cottage color.

For quaint cabin decor, try a North Woods cottage theme. Time moves in slow motion at a summer cottage. Many a long afternoon is spent just walking a dirt road and picking wildflowers for a simple bouquet.

The evening twilight stretches out with enough space for rowdy games of dominoes or quiet time reading a favorite novel. Dinners become drawn-out feasts of fresh vegetables and cookouts flavored with fresh air. In the morning, you wake to the sunshine -- not an alarm clock.


©Alpine Log Homes Photos The log walls are on display in the kitchen, instead of being covered up by cabinets hung on the walls. Open shelves are supported by curved branches.

In this log cabin home, quaint divided-pane windows open wide to breezes off the lake. Cheery red cabinets in the kitchen make putting together picnics even more fun. And French doors in the bedroom open to bring the sounds of the forest and the lake's gentle lapping inside.

©Alpine Log Homes Photos A white cotton bedspread lends a crisp touch to the bedroom's mix of floral patterns. Just outside the French doors, a private balcony looks out over the lake.

Next, learn how to recreate a memorable summer camp experience with the right cabin furniture and accessories.

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Sweet Dreams, Campers

©Photo courtesy of Rocky Mountain Log Homes After a long day on the slopes, this pair of unique bunk beds offers comfort. A whole slumber party can curl up in this bunk room, tucked beneath a log home's rafters.

It just wouldn't be summer camp without a bunk room full of kids whispering knock-knock jokes and playing flashlight tag. Recreating summer camp cabin decor is relatively easy. The treelike bunk beds pictured here are fashioned from branches to give lucky campers the sense of sleeping out in the woods -- without the fear of wayward bears.

Each set of beds offers a simple ladder to reach the much-coveted top bunk and is topped off with warm and colorful camp blankets or denim duvets to add style and warmth.


The decor of a bunk room should be simple. All that's needed is a place to bed down and lots of storage space for gear. Wood paneling or logs make the rooms' walls indestructible -- perfect for enduring pillow fights and bouts of wrestling.

As an added touch, a few Western accessories and an assortment of Navajo rugs are scattered throughout to spark a child's fantasy of the cowboy life.

Created a "cherished memories" theme in your cabin by displaying memorable items, favorite souvenirs, and even outdoor gear. Discover this cabin decor in the next section.

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Cherished Memories

©Whispering Pines What's a summer spent at a camp without a few wildlife sightings? These bear bookends will add whimsy to any cabin bookshelf.

Those lucky enough to own a summer camp or cottage return there year after year, accumulating memories that are echoed in the cabin decor. At the cottage, the humble is seen as beautiful, the whimsical is beloved, and the items that have seen better days are cherished.

Rocks a toddler gathered on a walk through the woods are displayed like artwork. A dented enamel pitcher once used for lemonade now holds bunches of wildflowers. Children are tucked in for the night beneath snowy chenille bedspreads.

©Whispering Pines Cabin style, especially in a summer camp, is warm and inviting. These folksy felt pillows reinforce that welcoming feeling.

In the summer camp, silly signs and kitschy souvenirs find a place next to the abundance of outdoor gear, like fishing poles, canoe paddles, horseshoes, and more.

©Avalanche Ranch Light Company To light the walls of a summer camp, a school of rainbow trout swims along this sconce crafted in steel.

Comfort is key to this cabin style, which welcomes all to come as they are.

©Avalanche Ranch Light Company Bear, moose, deer, and elk circle this wildlife chandelier. The metal's rust patina glows with light softened by kraft paper lamp shades.

Log cabin meets contemporary design in the next section of this article. Keep reading for more unique cabin decorating tips.

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Today's Log Looks

©Cloudbird From its flirty curlicued base to its leafy finial, this highland ­candlestick lamp mixes style with flair and tops it off with a slim rawhide shade.

In the 1930s, plywood, a product manufactured of wood veneer, was first put to use to build a home's structure. Midcentury modernists eagerly incorporated plywood's fresh face into home and cabin decor. And while these forward-thinkers probably considered log homes hopelessly old-fashioned, their style does fit with logs.

The key is to keep things light. Whitewashed wood walls, large windows, and pale floors set the scene for contemporary design. The rounded rhythm of log walls makes an intriguing foil for the pared-down geometric shapes of contemporary furniture and accessories.

One place where modern looks especially at home is the kitchen. With today's stainless-steel appliances and variety of stone and cement countertops, the contemporary kitchen is winning fans with all kinds of tastes. In the kitchen and throughout the contemporary home, logs can add a hint of warmth to what can seem austere.

Metals, particularly those with matte finishes, also go well with logs. In stair railings, faucets, and light fixtures, metal cools the logs' warmth and adds contemporary flair. The wide-open spaces of today's log homes, especially their vaulted ceilings, create expanses for hanging modern artwork or installing banks of windows.

Next, read about a log cabin that balances awesome high ceilings with comfort and livability. The next section has the decor details.

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Taking Logs to New Heights

Quietly elegant armchairs and leather sofas civilize the massive logs used for the home's structure.
©Strout Architects

Eclectic style encompasses the grand as well as the cozy, as displayed in this log cabin decor. The key to the home's unique style is that it balances awe-inspiring architecture with warmth and livability.

Handcrafted logs add the necessary warmth, while the interior decor brings color and comfort. The vaulted great room comprises the living room, dining area, and kitchen, but each room has its own elegant identity that complements its neighbors.

For example, the bar in the kitchen is mirrored by a low wall that defines the dining area. Wood flooring and the log posts and beams tie the whole room together. The kitchen's stone walls are repeated in the master bedroom, where round log beams give way to ornate timber-framed trusses.

©Strout Architects An armoire painted with a mountain landscape fits right into this larger-than-life bedroom.

If you love classic styling, you'll love the cabin decor in the next section. Find out how to create enduring style in your wooded retreat.

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A Woodsy Retreat

©Alpine Log Homes Photos Antique accessories, including an assort­ment of table lamps, add to this living room's country charm. The arched fireplace and stuffed deer mount are classic north woods elements.

When the great outdoors is the main attraction, all you need from a log cabin is running water, a stove, and a place to sleep. Of course, time spent at the cabin is that much more enjoyable if the cabin decor is comfortable and pretty. This home fulfills all those needs and more.

Classic log cabin styling contributes a stone fireplace, round log ceiling trusses, window seats, and a sleeping loft. Careful attention to comfort provides a getaway with generous seating, warm wood floors, and layers of pillows and throws.

©Alpine Log Homes Photos A pole ladder leads to the sleeping loft over the kitchen. The long bench in front of the bar is the perfect perch for informal meals.

The cabin's good looks come from the owner's willingness to mix styles: Native American designs can be found in artwork and on pillows and throws, country plaids upholster the seating around the fire, and masculine stripes and paisleys cover the bedroom in layers of comfort.

©Alpine Log Homes Photos A sunny, well-cushioned window seat becomes a personal retreat in this bedroom.

Of course, part of the home's beauty is its picture-perfect views of the shimmering stand of white birches and green leafy trees of summer.

In the next section, find out how to set your cabin decor aglow with color and texture.

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All Aglow

©Mark Pynn Architect L.L.C. This contemporary, open floor plan offers plenty of space for families to spend time together. The three-sided fireplace is a stunning focal point.

A guest house adjacent to a Western ski resort home reveals modern cabin decor in a warm, woodsy setting. The house is oriented around a three-sided stone fireplace that makes for a natural gathering spot.

Plywood and planed wood beams create the backdrop for the clean-lined contemporary furniture, some of which was designed by the home's architect. The sofas' cobalt blue is echoed in the pool table and provides a jolt of color in the great room.

©Mark Pynn Architect L.L.C. The honey tones of the wood infuse this dining room with inviting warmth. A dis­tinctive glass table and slatted wood chairs echo the clean-lined symmetry of the wine cellar beyond.

In the kitchen, black countertops contrast smoothly with the shiny stainless-steel appliances. The space glows with warmth in the evening, but guests are still lured outside to the home's roof­top deck, where they can drink in a stunning view of the slopes and relax in the hot tub.

©Mark Pynn Architect L.L.C. A lowered ceiling lit by pendant lamps defines the sleek, ele­gant kitchen area. Wide, horizontal windows frame the mountain view.

Want to mix and match pieces to create your own cabin decor? Get valuable decorating advice in the next section.

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New-Age Rustic

©Daniel Mack Rustic Furnishings A single forked branch is the only ornament on this pared-down shelf unit.

Careful consideration, a bit of inspiration, and perhaps some luck will help you find wonderful elements for your contemporary log cabin. When the cabin decor is eclectic, many avenues are open to you when choosing furniture, light fixtures, and other accessories.

For example, the talented artisans that are following in the footsteps of yesterday's rustic furniture makers often build pieces with sleek, simple lines. While Victorian-style rustic furniture of the Adirondack Great Camps was layered with bric-a-brac, these pieces are stripped down, putting the beauty of the wood on display.

©Daniel Mack Rustic Furnishings Driftwood, with its silky texture and soft colors, is used to create a free-form table. The lines of the wood recall gentle waves on a lake.

Iron forged into traditional shapes or coaxed into fluid lines can create beautiful lamps, and wood, pottery, and other metals can be found in a wide variety of accessories.

©Cloudbird Leafy vines twine around the iron base of this unique desk lamp. Leather lacing and a Native American motif provide graphic impact.

If you're overwhelmed by the choices available to you, lean toward elements with an organic feel -- those that remind you of nature. Or choose pieces that echo one of the classic cabin styles: Early American, lodge, Western, or Southwestern.

©Daniel Mack Rustic Furnishings Made from peeled maple branches, this Gothic Revival chair is filled with character and life.

Whether your cabin is your full-time home or just a summertime retreat, use the decorating ideas presented in this article to inspire your cabin's decor.

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The Best of Yesterday

The Arts & Crafts movement was influenced by the style and crafting of the Middle Ages. This library table with a leather top reveals that medieval influence.

With trees as far as the eye could see, it's no wonder that pioneers, trappers, loggers, and mountain men used logs to build shelter from the elements. The cabin decor of these rustic abodes was either made by hand or brought from home -- whether home was across the ocean in Europe or back East in the first colonies.

Log cabins embrace fond memories of days past. From the solid woodworking of Early American pieces to the ornate embellishments of the Victorian era to the quarter-sawn oak pieces of Gustav Stickley -- whatever your heart desires, that style will fit in a log cabin.

Although its roots are buried in other lands, we've adopted the log cabin as an American icon. To give your historic decor a ring of truth, be sure you include items that embody the spirit of Americans and the work of their hands.

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Joint Precision

Arts & Crafts-style homes of the early 1900s often featured a hearth at their centers. This contemporary home draws from that era, boasting a soapstone masonry heater that radiates warmth from the heart of the open floor plan.

The Arts & Crafts movement, which sprang up in England and caught hold in the United States in the early 1900s, glorified the work of the craftsperson. So fitting for cabin decor, the simple lines, handwoven textiles, and handcrafted furniture formed a stark contrast to the ornamented and baroque interiors of the Victorian era.

Arts & Crafts, or Mission, style is quite at home in log cabins. Both glow with natural warmth, and both play up the inherent beauty of wood. In this home, handcrafted square logs are carefully stacked and locked together with dovetail corners.

Light fixtures with colored glass shades and geometric patterns continue the Arts & Crafts theme. Even the windows, with their rectilinear panes, echo the style. In the corner, a chest of drawers shows Japan's influence on the style.

The same attention to precise wood joinery shows in the Stickley-style furnishings found throughout the house. To carry out the look, light fixtures, window panes, stair railings, and more exhibit the simple geometric patterns that are so common to the Arts & Crafts look.

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Historical Value

This prairie-style clock, an Arts & Crafts-style classic, is reproduced in Mission oak. The clock's design dates back to 1910.

If you want a home that overflows with historic character, log cabin decor is the perfect place to start. The very walls of your home will tell of days gone by. With the backdrop set, you're ready to layer on furniture and accessories that will cement your home's vintage style.

©Plow & Hearth High-backed chairs and benches, like the brick red bench pictured here, captured and reflected the warmth of the fire in Early American and Shaker homes.

You might choose the starkly beautiful lines of Shaker furniture or the classic shape of traditional Early American Windsor chairs to set the tone.

©Plow & Hearth A Shaker-style sofa table reveals the golden warmth of wood. This piece is surprisingly elegant in its simplicity.
Gustav Stickley designed his Spindle Arm Chair in 1905. This reproduction combines delicate vertical spindles and a patterned seat cushion with the chair's strong, simple lines.

Your choice of floor covering -- from a Victorian Oriental beauty to a rug braided from fabric scraps -- will underline your cabin's mood.

©Plow & Hearth In an Early American cabin, nothing was ever wasted. Old clothes and blankets were torn into strips and braided into colorful rugs. This oval rug carries on the tradition.

Lighting, too, sparks historic style, so choose your lamps and fixtures carefully, whether it's bronze table lamps for an Arts & Crafts-style home or a pewter chandelier to reinforce an Early American look.

This book pedestal bears the mark of Roycroft, a community of craftspeople who created furniture, lighting, and home accessories in New York in the early 1900s.
Pottery, especially pieces drenched in earthy and aqueous colors, was highlighted in Arts & Crafts style. Here, aqua blue ceramic tile tops a reproduction end table.

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Mod Lodge

Multipane windows and rough wood planking on the ceiling give this great room a feeling of age. Deep sofas and chairs welcome weary hunters back to a roaring fire after a day in the woods.

The legacy of the Adirondack Great Camps appears in today's cabin decor, where fussy Victorian furnishings give way to pieces with simpler lines and larger sizes. This home also resembles its Old World ancestors -- the baronial hunting lodges.

Heavy tables and iron-strapped doors feel ancient and masculine. The beauty of wildlife is celebrated in animal and bird mounts, oil paintings, and antler chandeliers. And although the hunting lodges were built in the wilderness, they were by no means rough.

Velvety fabrics, richly patterned tapestries, plush Oriental rugs, and warm lighting soften the lodge look. Bigger often means better when it comes to lodge style, so, here, the mass of the fireplace is accentuated by setting its stone chimney against a stacked stone wall. The home maintains a cozy feel, however, thanks in part to the lowered ceilings accented with hand-hewn beams in the kitchen and dining area.

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New Becomes Old Again

An array of different looks fits under the umbrella of lodge style. In the entryway guarded by a carved Native American brave, an Arts & Crafts-style pendant light shines on a Southwestern-style bench and a collection of snowshoes.

A cherished log cabin glows with years of love and fond memories of time spent away from everyday cares. With the right cabin decor, even a new log cabin, like this one, can boast a well-loved feel.

The key is to layer architectural features, furnishings, and accessories. This home's balcony, with its pole railings, recalls grand old lodges like the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park.

A truly great room brings people together in one place for dining and living. Here, multiple seating areas allow guests to read in a plump chair by the fire or play cards at a round table.

A heavy ceiling truss looks as old as a medieval cathedral. Hickory twig furniture takes its cue from rustic, north woods style, yet the home is spacious and comfortable enough to suit today's tastes.

By day, you may rough it in the great outdoors, but at night, this master bedroom offers luxurious comfort. A romantic fireplace and layers of downy bedding ensure sweet dreams.

A key benefit of this layered decor is that it lends warmth to the home -- warmth that feels as if it has accumulated over time.

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The Summer Place

©Whispering Pines A log cabin isn't just for summer. This snowshoe lamp recalls the crisp days of winter, when being snowed in equals the ideal romantic getaway.

On the first day of summer camp, you checked into your room and found cabin decor like bunk beds, wood floors, and log walls carved with campers' initials. Some of your best childhood memories may have been created there. Camp and cottage styles remind us of summer's halcyon days -- but without the bug spray and flashlights.

If your idea of paradise is a getaway in the woods, your style might include Pendleton blankets and bearskin rugs. If your vacation idyll is near the water, your cottage might take a nautical turn, with white­washed plank paneling and a hammock on the porch. Camp and cottage styles make room for the vintage rocker and faded florals cast off from Grandma's city house as well as Grandpa's creels, fishing poles, and canoe paddles.

The furnishings and accessories in a summer place should be just one step removed from the outdoors. In fact, many of them may be used both inside and out -- the table that's carried to the porch for supper and the quilt that's spread out on the lawn to watch Fourth of July fireworks are the stuff of cottage and summer camp styles.

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Cool and Contemporary

©Alpine Log Homes Photos This home's modernistic tendencies show in its linear iron stair railings and graphic wood and stone floor treatment. Cowhide shades soften the light from an iron chandelier.

Western logs add warmth to the cabin decor of this Eastern contemporary home, which features streamlined furniture, black iron railings, and cool shades of stony gray to give the space a modern edge. Splashes of color in the rugs, upholstery, and accessories add a needed spark.

To bring contemporary style to your cabin, look for simple lines, and eliminate anything fussy or frilly. Bold geometric shapes, like this home's blocky fireplace, squared floor tiles, and rectilinear iron bed, underscore the modern look. The vaulted ceilings, painted white and accented with log beams, give a refreshing airiness.

©Alpine Log Homes Photos Tiny halogen reading lamps accessorize this sleek bedroom. A backdrop of white bead board sets the bed out away from the log wall and makes it even more striking.

Although the logs are bleached to cool their naturally warm tones, rich wood accents that radiate warmth can be found throughout the space, specifically in the dining room floor and furniture. The bedroom's cool sophistication comes from fitted bedclothes and linens in various shades of neutral.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Janice Brewster is former editor of Log Home Living and Timber Frame Homes magazines where she spent seven years traveling North America and Finland writing about log and timber frame homes and lodges. She is currently a freelance writer who has written two books, Log Cabins and Cabin Style.