by: Leah Kerkman

Have you ever wished you had an all-access pass to an expert designer’s best-kept secrets on how to design and decorate a small log cabin? Well, we’ve got your ticket. Here, the pros dish on the top ways to create a cozy — not cramped — cabin.

COLOR YOUR WORLD:

If you’re not using wood paneling on the ceiling, don’t paint it white or off-white. Use a mid-tone for the ceiling to keep it from feeling like a tract house. You can also texture the ceiling so it fits in with the rustic style of the cabin.

— James Martin, architectural colorist with The Color People

LIGHT BRIGHT: Make sure your rooms are properly lit since light opens up a space. Sometimes, a room is poorly lit simply because people use 60-watt bulbs in a three-way lamp. I really stress that people try to use compact fluorescent light bulbs; they’re not as harsh as they were when they first came out and you do get a bright, white light from them. And put dimmers in every room. That way, you don’t always have to have a blasting light all the time; you can adjust the light level to the task at hand.

— Lauri Ward, interior designer and author of Downsizing Your Home With Style: Living Well in a Smaller Space

MINIMIZE ME: Be very careful about the scale of elements that are used in your small home. Most products can be found in an assortment of sizes, so be selective and evaluate what is absolutely necessary to have “full size” in your small space. Professional ranges or king-size beds may not work.

— Cindy Trimble Kelly, ASID, Trimble Kelly Studios

STORAGE SOLUTIONS: One thing I like to design into loft areas and second-floor bedroom spaces is built-ins under the sloped ceiling. Whether it’s attic storage, closet space or even dresser space, under-eave storage is the way to go in small homes since it uses space that would otherwise be lost.

— John Lanner, Design Consultant at Beaver Mountain Log Homes

FAB FURNITURE: Don’t stuff large furnishings into a small space. Use slim rockers, open-backed chairs and smaller sofas. Put taller furnishings at the end of a room or against walls and keep the view at eye level unobstructed.

— Fred Kendall, design manager at Honest Abe Log Homes

POWDER ROOM PERFECTION: Avoid long and narrow areas (like hallways) and increase ceiling height. In half-baths, consider using space-saving fixtures such as pedestal sinks.

— StoneMill technical department (Brandon Miracle, David Simpson, Carrie Murphy, Josh Watson, John Ferguson)

KEEP IT REAL: If you are building a small home… you have a small home. Keep your expectations in check with your design. Don’t try to cram media rooms and game rooms into 1,200 square feet.

— Dave Joiner, AIBD, CPBD, Barna Log Homes