Here’s a frequently-asked interior design dilemma: When should you begin thinking about the interior design and decoration of your new log home?

Most design professionals recommend that homeowners begin envisioning their new home’s interior layout and design from the onset of the project. Some people have very clear conceptual visions and aspirations for the finished log home. For the majority of us, however, the vision has not yet evolved.

So to answer the question, a good time to begin is as soon as you begin to imagine yourself in your new home and visualize what you would like to see within its walls.  This may even mean before the floorplan is even designed.

Log homes provide an ideal backdrop for our design ideas because, unlike standard framed construction, they are a canvas filled with character growing ever richer with time. Natural earthen materials such as stone, metals, and wood harmonize to bring warmth and life. This close relationship with nature is the ideal platform from which to evolve a design theme. Blending in with nature’s palette can lead to a very simple yet elegant interior.

Share ideas with your partner and begin finding common ground as you seek out pictures that reflect your style, even if it is just one simple furnishing, textile, or appliance. Keep the picture and build from it. Log home publications hold a wealth of information and the photographs offer an unending stream of ideas for just about everyone’s tastes and style. You may be surprised when you find yourself drawn to rustic hand hewn beds, wrought iron fixtures and wild animal carvings!

Brad Letzig, design department manager for Neville Log Homes, recommends that clients bring in supporting pictures. “The most streamlined projects begin with couples that have already determined a clear theme and design scheme prior to actually sitting down with designer, architect or package provider,” he says.

Defining your personal style
How do you determine what your style is? Think about the following:

  • How does your property relate to an environmental theme? Are you in the mountains, on a lake, in the East, in the West or somewhere in between?
  • Do you want your home to reflect this natural environment? To what extent?
  • Is this a primary residence or second home? (Decorating a second home can often take on a more adventurous theme.)
  • What activities will be enjoyed in this location? Fishing, hunting or skiing?
  • Will you be blending existing furnishings with new ones? Do antiques or family heirlooms need special places?
  • As you find pictures of your ideal interiors and exteriors, what is it about each that inspires you? If you’re looking at a particular furnishing, consider how light may be playing a role on its appearance.
  • Upon finding a picture of your ideal room, think about how the size of the room relates to the anticipated size of your room. Will your furnishings fit the same way? What furnishings would need to be added or replaced, and how will that affect the size of the room?
  • Find one special piece of furniture to create a theme and build around it, such as a wrought iron chandelier or a special table in the great room.

By discovering what you love far in advance, time and money will be saved because earlier decisions will make it easier to coordinate all aspects of the home.

With so many innovations and choices that exist in home technology, furnishings, and appliances, sort them out and make fundamental decisions such as selecting your main appliances based upon your overall design theme.

Cabinetry, flooring, appliances, and tiles come in thematic styles. While narrowing down the choices can be painstaking, if you do it at the outset you’ll establish a pretty good plan for the amount of space your interior needs. A clear theme as well as a realistic vision makes the entire process rewarding as your home’s décor and furnishings come together to reflect your taste.

Can I do it all on my own or do I need a design professional? This is purely a personal choice and one that is often determined based on the size of the home, the extent to which you want to decorate the interior and the budget. Even though finding your own furnishings is often a time consuming and daunting task with all that is available in the marketplace, it can be a rewarding experience. For others, time is money and it pays to hire a professional to find and coordinate the interior. If you have a large home with more rooms and activity centers, such as gourmet kitchens and elaborate great rooms, a professional can be an invaluable resource in bringing your dream to life.

Can we plan for the decoration in advance, but actually do it in phases? Of course! Our homes are ongoing and often lifelong projects. Just be sure to stay the course and establish a clear and distinctive theme from the beginning. An example would be someone who adores French country, but due to a budget or access to the right furnishings, it will take some time to collect the items. Don’t compromise your dream simply to get it done; it’s worth the wait to find cherished artifacts, antiques, and unique pieces.

Everyone has a passion for something – colors, certain parts of the world, art, food, and even animals. Use your own interests as keys to unlocking your décor style.