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Practical Lighting Tips for Log Homes | Illuminating Your Log Home

Keep your home well-lit with these lighting ideas for log homes.
by Lisa Fields

Your eyes aren’t deceiving you: The rooms in your house really are dimmer than you’d expect, thanks, in part, to the log walls. “With darker wall colors like brown, you’re losing 50 percent of your light; it’s being absorbed by the walls,” says Katie Sapp, an American Lighting Association certified lighting consultant at Peak to Creek Electrical in Telluride, Colorado.

To counteract the darkness, add a variety of fixtures to your home, recommends Rob Colgan, executive director of marketing for the National Electrical Contractors Association and chairman of the National Lighting Bureau. “You want a reasonable amount of ambient lighting, as well as task lighting based on what you’ll be doing in each particular area, such as lamps for reading or fluorescents for chopping vegetables in the kitchen.” As you’re planning your log home’s lighting scheme, consider the following:

Stay On Track | Use Track Lighting:

Track Lighting in a Log Home
Highlight different aspects of a room by installing track lighting or rail systems on walls, ceilings or exposed beams. “A little directional lighting creates interest,” Rob says, “and it really shows off the walls.”

Rail systems are more versatile than track lighting. Rails can bend around corners, and they’re available in wavy lines and geometric shapes. “Several manufacturers make them with a warm bronze finish, which looks amazing in log homes,” says Katie.

Look Up | Incorporate "Uplighting":

Uplighting in a Log Home
To increase ambient light in a room, use uplighting. “If you have a low, light-colored ceiling, bounce light off of it with standing floor lamps, such as torcheres,” suggests Rob.

To brighten cathedral ceilings, add uplights at the nine-foot level, which Rob says will keep the light from getting lost in the rafters and showcase the log trusses in the process.

Bounce Off the Walls | Add Light Fixtures to Your Walls:

Fixtures on Log Walls
Fixtures attached to walls can add soft lighting, according to Rob, who suggests wall washers that highlight art.

“They make the entire room glow,” he says. Or try wall sconces. “In a log home, especially one with cathedral ceilings, sconces bring the light down to the human level,” advises Katie. An added benefit: Side lighting flatters the face; overhead light can cast unattractive shadows.

Increase Diversity | Combine Methods for Maximum Results:

Lights in a Log Home
Don’t rely on one ceiling fixture for the whole room’s illumination; downlighting from one central location creates glare. “The trend today is moving away from overhead lighting,” says Rob. Instead, include several light sources in each room, and spread them out to create three or four layers of light. A chandelier, task lamps and some kind of accent lights should do the trick, according to Katie. Three watts per square foot should sufficiently illuminate a room.

Room-by-Room Lighting Guide

Browse: Log Home Design Ideas

Published in Log Home Design
Comment Feed

5 Responses

  1. We use ten inch 100 watt decorator bulbs which throw light in all directions, especially the ceiling, trusses, and beams; enhances the height of the rooms. I’ve just added lights to each of our 2 first floor bedroom closets, and I use desklamps, too. Not a bad electric bill: $80 per month.

    Peter WalgreenOctober 27, 2011 @ 5:20 pmReply
  2. I’ve got to tell you, LED lighting has come a long way and I would recommend using them any way you can. You can hide a LED srtip on top of any log and it gives you a really nice indirect lighting effect, plus they last about 50,000 hours.

    Joel OsborneMarch 14, 2013 @ 10:44 pmReply
  3. Voyez-vous tout ce qui est rustique est pour moi, j’adore.

  4. Another tip: Consider LED lighting. LEDs should be of interest to potential log home owners in particular because of their low operating cost (i.e., high light output per watt ratio) and very long operating life. Moreover, the availability of variations in the light quality of LEDs in terms of temperature (i.e., light “color”) has improved considerably. And LED bulbs are becoming more and more affordable. Added “kickers” are LED bulbs’ durability, lack of environmentally harmful elements (e.g., mercury) on disposal, and low operating temperature. We used LED bulbs extensively in our log home for both primary and accent lighting and are enjoying the results.

    Bill DoodyMarch 15, 2013 @ 5:59 pmReply
  5. We are having trouble using track lighting on our 20 foot ceilings and receiving proper amount of light using led bulbs. We are not using these lights for ambiance rather for lighting our 730 sq ft cabin. Any suggestions appreciated!

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