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Trends For Staining With Style

Stains and sealants can transform the look and feel of your home. Get the inside scoop on the hottest color trends — plus, tips for mixing and matching stain shades straight from the pros.

Written by Suzanna Logan


Stains and sealants play an integral role in a log or timber home: They keep out moisture and pests while also protecting your wood from harsh UV rays. But beyond their ability to safeguard the structural soundness of your home, these surface protectants also can dramatically transform its style — inside and out.  

Here are four trending finishes popping up on today’s log and timber homes:


Best Browns

Brown tones will always be in vogue for a log cabin, but to keep the look current, skip overly warm shades and stick with tones that are neutral.

“We are starting to see a move towards more earth-toned browns, more of a natural wood look,” says Scott Roesner of Structures Wood Care.

If light shades are up your alley, pale, blond colors are in-the-moment, thanks to the Scandinavian design movement. For those who prefer to go a little darker, look to colors you’d find in nature for inspiration. Ignore red and yellow-tinged stains, like “cherry” or “mahogany,” in favor of softer, more subtle tones, often labeled  “walnut” or “pecan.” 


Going Gray 

Grays have had their moment in the home decor spotlight in recent years, and it doesn’t look like the trend is stopping anytime soon. But the key to keeping the look in step with the times is to choose your color carefully. Grays can veer into “cold” territory quickly, so it’s best to look for a shade with warmer undertones, points out Nadia O’Hara of Perma-Chink Systems


Sold on Gold

There is something to be said for a classic, honey-toned log cabin. Shades of gold, particularly those ranging from light to medium, are still on-trend, says Barbara Murray, owner of Outlast CTA Products. The secret to making these time-tested shades feel modern? Pair them with dark-toned details, like black windows, lighting and hardware. “It creates a great exterior contrast,” Barbara says. 


Mix It Up 

While relying on a single stain color for your home is an option, it could also be a case of missed opportunity. Incorporating more than one hue on your logs and wood surfaces instantly energizes the look, bringing eye-pleasing contrast to your home’s exterior and interiors. Not sure how to achieve the best results? Look to these tried-and-true dos of stain mixing and matching. 

  • Do bring can’t-miss style to your home’s exterior by going beyond traditional neutrals. Embrace colors, like forest green, barn red and midnight blue on decks, railings, doors and trim.
  • Do use stain to bring attention to your home’s best features. Highlight architectural elements, such as shake shingles or shutters, with a contrasting shade of stain.
  • Do choose colors from the same tonal family. In other words, if a driftwood-inspired gray is your stain mainstay, you’ll want to place other cool-toned colors alongside it. Same goes for shades that veer warm. 
  • Do practice restraint. Sticking with two or three shades of stain will inject a custom feel without creating a hodgepodge effect.
  • Do keep in mind that stains often appear darker on heavily textured woods (think: circle-sawn or hand-hewn cuts) than they do on smooth surfaces due to light diffraction. If you have various wood textures in your home, you may only need one stain color to create contrast.

See Also: Log Home Stain 101

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