Decor, Furnishing Tips for Living Spaces
Tried-and-true decorating and furnishing tips for successful log home living spaces
by: Log Home Living editorial staff

Design Tricks of the Trade

Like any homeowner, you want your new space to be unique and stand out from the crowd. And although log home manufacturers offer an array of tantalizing stock floorplans with a surplus of bells and whistles, some folks feel like the only way to get that one-of-a-kind feeling is to go custom.

Enter the independent designer. Whether you dream of living in a mammoth log manor or owning a cozy cabin, find out the tricks of the trade these designers employ in rooms of any size.

The Great Room

To the architects and designers of award-winning architectural firm Ellis Nunn & Associates Architecture in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, great rooms are just that: great, grand spaces. But that doesn’t mean skimping on the cozy quotient, according to the firm’s vice president, Sharon Nunn.

"We design our homes so that couches and side tables can be grouped around the fireplace, with another seating area in front of the view from the great room windows," she says. "That way, several groups can carry on conversations in the area they wish to be in—whether it’s in front of the fireplace at night or in front of the spacious windows during the day."

The Kitchen

If you’ve ever read an article or watched a show about kitchen design, you’re familiar with this essential room’s two major components: the shape (think L-shape, galley and island) and the ideal work triangle (the three legs that comprise the distance between the stove, refrigerator and sink.

But when you’re building a home—especially a log home—there are other factors, such as size, volume and organization, to consider as well. To accomplish these objectives, Langley, Washington-based architect Mira Jean Steinbrecher always returns to her design rules on scale and comfort. "A kitchen can be any size you want it to be," Mira says, "but it needs to have manageable work areas."

The Dining Room

When considering dining-room design, Mira talks with clients about how many eating spaces will really be enough. "Many people need to have a bar because that’s where they’ll feed the kids, a breakfast nook because that’s where they’ll really eat, and a dining room for holidays," she says. "If the budget is grand, that’s fine, but if it’s not, my philosophy is, ‘Let’s just find the best place to eat.’"

The Master Bedroom

Once upon a time, the master bedroom had its primary function: sleep. But today’s bedrooms have grown into elaborate master suites—complete with sitting areas, integrated bathrooms and even kitchenettes. The space is often large, but it also has to be cozy. In the master suites that Mira designs, she creates distinct spaces for sleeping, bathing, dressing and lounging. But even in a larger space that encompasses different functional areas, she likes to keep things cozy. "By differentiating these spaces, large room dimensions feel like they’re on a more human-sized scale," she says.

The Loft

Lofts are one of those design elements that just seems to complete the quintessential log home picture. "I like to design this space as a small indoor getaway, a sitting room or an open den," Brandon says. "I imagine a peaceful place to read, relax or play a little guitar."

While it’s important to heed the advice of your designer (after all, it’s his or her job to point out potential advantages and pitfalls), ultimately, the only person who can plan the right home for you is you. If a huge master bath or a cozy loft is what you’ve always envisioned, then go for it.

The Master Bathroom

When design manager Brandon Miracle of Knoxville, Tennessee-based StoneMill Log Homes drafts the ideal master bath, he focuses a great deal of attention on the size and style of fixtures that will be used and designs the space accordingly. "I lean toward a vanity with one sink and plenty of counter space, as opposed to having his-and-hers sinks," he says.

"Corner tubs are very space-efficient, but can be difficult to clean. A stand-alone shower is sometimes a better bet for the corner. For the ultimate soaking experience, I’d go with a clawfoot tub. With their gentle incline and depth, they’re very inviting."

More: Log Home Design Ideas