The rustic cabin style has been a popular trend for home decor this season. For cabins or guest houses it’s important to keep it simple – for example avoid unnecessary appliances like a washing machine or dishwater as they usually occupy the main house. Try to to keep the square footage down to capture a cozy feel and consider architecture as one of the most important components in the design process. A notable tip is to use recycled, raw or reclaimed wood for walls, floors or surfaces to achieve a rustic look.
Get cozy this fall with glowing lanterns, natural wood elements and plenty of Americana style.
Many of us dream of stepping off the fast track of modern life and retreating into the woods for a quiet, more peaceful existence. Perhaps reading Walden in high school planted the seed. Or maybe it’s a deeper undercurrent in the American psyche — we are, after all, a country that was born from settlers. For most of us, the dream of escaping into a quiet cabin of our own may not come to pass, but there are plenty of ways to bring some of the design features of cabins to your own home or backyard retreat.
Keep it small. If you’re converting an outbuilding into a guest room or adding a cabin to your property, chances are you don’t need as many of the home appliances — a dishwasher, a washing machine, an air conditioner — as you do in the main house. Take advantage of this by keeping the square footage low and including only elements in the cabin that you truly need.
Limiting your space will cut down on unnecessary modern clutter. Slow down, pick up a book and enjoy the feeling of returning to a simpler way of life with fewer screens and electronics.
This kitchen in a lake house in New York state has been kept fairly basic. It has everything the family might need to host a dinner, including an oven, a dishwasher and a full-sized fridge, without anything superfluous. Tucking the sink and dishwasher under the stairs might be awkward in a full-time residence, but it works well in a small summer home to save space.
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Design to bring the outdoors in. The best part about a cabin is often not the building itself but rather where it’s sited — nestled in a beautiful woodland, along a riverbank or looking out to a meadow. While you may not have the luxury of choosing the site of a new build, look for design elements that bring the outdoors into the home.
This simple off-the-grid cabin on a farm in West Virginia has a wall made up entirely of recycled windows — framing the sunset or offering a lookout for shooting stars at night.
See more of this one-room cabin retreat
In this contemporary guesthouse outside of Atlanta, a pitched roof and an extra row of clerestory windows bring in natural light and a view of the surrounding tree canopies. In warm summer months, large sliding glass doors completely open the living area to the outdoors.
Celebrate traditional building techniques. Before modern machinery, cabins were crafted by hand, often by their future inhabitants. If you’re lucky enough to have an original build or are creating a new cabin using traditional techniques, look for ways to highlight craftsmanship. For example, this corner junction of a new-build home outside of Salt Lake City was made with traditional dovetail joints.
In this remodeled cabin in the northern Georgia mountains, the walls were created from the wood of an original 1820s cabin up for sale a few miles away. The traditional walls made up of logs filled in with chinking (a type of mortar typically used in 19th-century log cabins) add a sense of history to the home.
Stack wood in unexpected places. Whether or not you have a fireplace, split logs add interesting texture to rooms. Birch branches, with their pale dotted bark, look more contemporary, while warm-colored woods such as pine and oak give a more rustic feel.
For a more permanent stacked-wood installation, create an accent wall of split logs cased in metal. This exterior wall of a modern ranch home in Bigfork, Montana, is made up of kiln-dried Douglas fir, grand fir and Ponderosa pine found on the property.
See more of this modern Montana log house
Accent with traditional Western pieces in fresh ways. Look for pieces of folk art, weavings and traditional crafts that can give the home personality. Here, an antique American flag hung on a crisp white wall acts as an eye-catching piece of art but also has a story behind it.
In this Idaho home, a collection of Native American baskets mounted in the entryway showcases their craftsmanship and elaborate weaving patterns. The rich color palette of orange, brick red, off-white and charcoal sets the theme for the rest of the house.
Convert your attic into a sleeping loft. Besides storing suitcases and Christmas ornaments, attics are often some of the least-used areas of the home. But some homeowners use the low-ceiling area just below the pitched sides for a bedroom — converting an attic into a cozy sleeping loft for guests or kids’ sleepovers can be a much better use of the space.
Use the means of reaching the loft as a design element. In this cabin in Vermont, the graceful salvaged spiral staircase leading to the main bedroom stands out against the pine boards with a pickled finish.
Relax in a soaking tub. For many people, it’s rare to take the time to fill a bath, light a few candles and really enjoy the ritual of bathing. Consider installing a bath in your cabin or main house to help encourage yourself to slow down and relax.
Traditional claw-foot styles and deep tubs add a feeling of luxury to more rustic homes. Pile a stool with books and magazines within easy reach.
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Bring natural elements indoors. Fill a basket with pine cones or hang a piece of gnarled driftwood. To keep objects from looking cluttered, group them and change them with the seasons.
Use raw wood elements. You don’t want to go overboard into the realm of too many rough-hewn logs and branches. Strike the right balance between rustic and contemporary by mixing sleek Scandinavian minimalist design with the organic forms of natural branches.
Here, railings made of unfinished branches add a rustic touch to the front porch of a log cabin in the mountains of North Georgia.
Add a sliding barn-style door.Barn-style doors have become very trendy in the past few years, but they can be real problem-solvers in tight spaces and look right at home in cabins and cottages.
In this 1920s log cabin set on a lake near Ann Arbor, Michigan, the couple who lives there converted a small room off the main living space into the master bedroom. The door doesn’t take up any floor space by swinging outward, but instead slides to conceals a built-in bookshelf.
Door paint: New Born’s Eyes, Benjamin Moore
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Integrate reclaimed materials for texture and history. Using salvaged wood adds a lot of textural interest and can make a new space feel like it has some history. This new build in Big Sky, Montana, looks warm and cozy with an accent wall of reclaimed wood.
In this home in Nevada City, California, reclaimed redwood boards, sourced from TerraMai
, add a beautiful patina to the staircase. The stair treads are made from newly milled Douglas fir, which will stand up better to frequent foot traffic than salvaged wood.
Make your porch an inviting place for lingering. First and foremost: Add light. Whether you install outdoor lanterns, hang a string of cafe lights or bring out candles, illuminating the area under the eves will make the porch an inviting place for relaxing after twilight.
A collection of black painted wood chairs — both rockers and stationary — invites guests to pause on the porch of this cabin in rural Virginia and take in the view of the surrounding meadow.