With its natural materials, cozy fabrics and woodsy colour tones, winter cabin style offers warmth and comfort during the cold and snowy months. A few accessories and furnishings are plenty to help you transform your existing decor into a cozy hideaway. So hunker down for the season in style by introducing the casual cabin look in your home.
How much wood can a woodchuck chuck?
Get the balance right. Want to achieve full-on cabin style? Concentrate on a single room, like a guest room or dining area; otherwise, the whole house might look a bit like a theme park. But if accessorizing is more your style, add touches throughout your home. I’m a fan of the 70/30 rule: if you’ve got an actual rustic cabin, add 30 per cent modern elements to create contrast; if you’ve got a modern space, then add 30 per cent rustic cabin elements to your interior. Think of it as pre-holiday decorating that can hang around until spring.
Wood is where it’s at
Natural wood furniture and accessories give a rustic cottage look to the most modern spaces. A rustic dining table is the perfect place to dine cabin style or gather around with friends for games or crafts night. Add modern chairs to juxtapose the woodsy table.
Dreaming of the log cabin look? Many wallpaper and mural companies offer the look of a wood-grain wall without you having to install actual panelling. Whether you go for the look of logs, saw-hewn wood planks or stacked firewood, I advise using these cabin details in discrete places — a wall at the end of a hallway, in a mud room, or behind the headboard in a guest room.
Focus on warmth
A fireplace — whether it’s functional, fake or not in use — always becomes a focal point in a room. If you have an unusable fireplace, fill it with candles of various heights to create a soft, warm glow and visual interest. An electric fireplace is a great way to add some heat and the look of flames in a modern space or in bedrooms where the romantic firelight helps to induce a cabin fever mood. For small spaces and condos, look for electric fireplaces that are less than 16 inches deep. No room for a fireplace? Add a tray filled with multi-height pillar candles that will create a warm glow.
Wood walls, floors and rustic furnishings are a staple in the cabin decor look. I see many city dwellers using the rustic look in their modern condos to create a more casual environment in an urban space. In those instances, I suggest choosing rustic wood furnishings to get the look rather than investing in long-term design elements that might seem out of place in the future. Permanent rustic elements in a modern space usually look dated within a few years, and then you’re faced with more expense to change styles.
I love furniture upholstered in wintry wool and faux fur fabrics, but with the dead heat of the summer, they aren’t always the best investment pieces for year-round use. If incorporating this look, choose smaller accessory furnishings like a side chair, pouf or ottoman to add a touch of warmth to a room without overheating the place in summer.
Have you caught cabin style fever? Here are a few more hot tips for bringing the luxurious warmth of a country retreat to your home.
1) Layer your bed with a variety of faux fur, check and plaid blankets, duvets and throws. Stick to complementary tones and colours to keep the mood restful.
2) Entice the senses with candles, incense and diffusers in scents like musky wood or smoky embers to create the smells of a wood burning fire.
3) Don’t forget the floors. A long vintage patchwork or shearling runner adds pattern and warmth underfoot — perfect beside a bed, in a hall or between room areas in an open-concept space.
Do you have a decor dilemma or want to give feedback? You can contact Karl on Facebook or Instagram at Karl Lohnes Designer.
Karl has worked as a home decor expert and product designer for 25 years. He appears Thursdays during the 8 a.m. hour on Global News Morning Montreal.