The Best Colors for a Log Cabin Interior

Last weekend I spent a few days at our daughters’ school director’s farm about an hour outside of Nashville. This was probably my sixth visit, and it’s always a treat to spend time at Ms. Terry’s historic home.



Ms. Terry’s home is actually two structures that are joined together – the front section of the home was built 100 years ago, while the back log section was built 150 years ago. The farm itself is pretty much off the grid and full of adventure that our city girls don’t often experience.

farm porch


There was berry-picking, four-wheeling, kayaking, tree-climbing, and goating-feeding.

blueberry picking

she decided the place to find the best berries was beneath the bushes


berry pies

homemade berry pies


tree climbing

who doesn’t love climbing trees?


feeding goats


Ms. Terry recently did some new decorating in her home, and the changes she made really illustrates how log cabin interiors can be enhanced with the right colors.

log smokehouse


And the key word here is COLORS. With wood walls, wood flooring, and plenty of wood furniture, neutrals could make for a dark and depressing interior. So first, take a look at the trim in this log house. It’s off-white, painted wood.

farm weekend

So is the beautiful mantel. If the trim, doors, and mantel were stained wood, it wouldn’t look nearly as fresh as this does.

white mantel

The blue and white striped chairs brighten the room and seem to repeat the chinking stripes in the log walls.

log cabin living room

Whites and saturated colors are definitely the way to go. Brightly painted furniture and fabrics make a log interior warm and happy.

colorful upholstery in log cabin

Ms. Terry recently had her sofa reupholstered in this happy warm yellow.

2015-06-27 10.48.59

This was a good choice, since she decided last year to paint her natural wood cabinetry a butter yellow in the adjoining kitchen. And see another beautiful white mantel around another fabulous fireplace?

yellow sofa in log cabin

The blue and white vases with cotton branches are the perfect thing to flank the kitchen fireplace mantel.

cotton branches


Ms. Terry and her son painted the cabinets with chalk paint since she wanted a durable, rustic surface with less prep work.

butter yellow cabinets


Since she wanted the advantages of “new” cabinetry, her son installed these very functional interior perks. You can see in this shot the way the cabinets used to look on the outside:

inside kitchen cabinetskitchen cabinets inserts from Lowes


So to recap, the best complements to a log cabin interior include whites and saturated versions of colors such as yellow, blue, red, and green. The wood is enough of a neutral, and the addition of tans, beiges, or grays would be nothing but dreary.

pullen farmno dreary here!


It was another wonderful, colorful trip to the farm.

pulllen farmhouse

Don’t you just wish you had your own place in the country, too? What colors would YOU use in a log cabin?

If paint color fascinates you like it does me, there is SO MUCH TO LEARN about how to use it in your home and the homes of your clients. Let me rock your world with color in my new ONLINE color course – and be sure to check out all the 5-star reviews!!!


  1. Laura Sherman

    Lovely! The whole impression is very cheerful and inviting! Couldn’t tell what material the kitchen countertops are, wood? What kind of stone counters and backsplash would you recommend for that kitchen?

    • Kristie Barnett

      It’s either laminate or tile with a wood edging. Wood would be good for the island, soapstone for the countertops! Painted beadboard for the backsplash 🙂

      • Laura Sherman

        Yes, soapstone is what I was thinking too, with a distressed wood island top. I never remember beadboard for a kitchen backsplash — very nice!

        • Kristie Barnett

          And beadboard is so inexpensive, Laura – it’s a great looking backsplash for little money 🙂

          • Susan

            But what color beadboard? I have read that beige and grey are to drap.
            I don’t like reds. My fav color is a natural blue but that won’t work with the red/ orange hues in honey oak. Please help!

  2. Jenny B.

    Beautiful! I love how you pinpointed what makes it feel so light and fresh. I wish my in-laws would do this in their log home. It is all brown, down to the his and hers recliners. It is depressing, and every time we go there, I think about how much more bright and inviting it could be. Sigh… It’s not my house to decorate, though. 😉

    • Kristie Barnett

      I hope they have a lot of lamp lighting in there! I know dark is cozy, but I would suffocate without some light painted trim and some color in my fabrics and art!

  3. Teri

    Log cabins always seem so masculine. Not this one!

    I love those blue and white chairs, and the yellow kitchen cabinets. Too bad I only have one kitchen – I would like to decorate one with lots of color, just for fun.

    • Kristie Barnett

      Yes, Teri, I have seen very few log interiors that don’t lean hard towards masculine, which is why I love this one. I saw the kitchen prior to painting, and it’s so much more interesting and “happy” now with the yellow cabinets!

  4. Cyndia

    Jenny B. – my mom had dark paneling and beige furniture until she decided to add another room to accommodate my stepdad’s disability from diabetes. When she began talking about his progressive blindness and how he needed more light, it was my cue to step in and suggest other changes that would make things lighter and brighter in the home. We painted the walls a creamy yellow, added blue and white and red, and changed out all the lighting, and added lamps and task lighting. It made an incredible difference. In fact, as people age, they actually need more lighting to see well. So that might be your segue into helping your family make some changes!

    • Kristie Barnett

      Thanks for sharing that – you are absolutely right about aging and lighting. I had a client who always wanted to go brighter than I would normally recommend with her wall colors, because her vision was dimming and she preferred much more vivid colors (and lots of lighting). I’m almost 46, and I already need more light to read than I did just a few years ago!

  5. Lindsay

    Terry has done such a wonderful job of creating a home that’s beautiful as well as comfortable and inviting to guests- I love that you’ve captured it on your blog so that I can show it to friends- I always feel like my words don’t do it justice. This is truly a place our kids will remember for the rest of their lives. 🙂

    • Kristie Barnett

      I couldn’t agree more, Lindsay – it’s a very special place and Terry is blessing so many by opening her home to all these children 🙂

  6. Phyllis E.

    That has to be the most charming AND livable log home interior I’ve ever seen–and even more so because it is an authentic log cabin, too! My husband’s dream home has always been a log cabin, but when we’ve looked at a few of the modern log homes in person and online, they tend to look dark and dreary. I’ve even stayed in a few and they seem cozy for a weekend, but I couldn’t imagine living there full time. I think the white chinking does help, too–most modern log homes don’t seem to have that. Thanks so much for sharing the secret to beautiful log home living!!! I will have to book mark this blog post in case my hubby ever finds a log home to buy!
    P. S. Your daughters are so gorgeous and adorable!

    • Kristie Barnett

      Good luck in your search, and hopefully you can use this inspirational home in making it HAPPY. Yes, I do think the white chinking is really helpful so that it’s not just a huge expanse of wood/darkness. Lots of big windows is helpful, too – natural lighting is so important. 🙂

  7. Veronica Domurat

    Beautiful smile from your daughter, just honest!

  8. Arthur Art-Faux Designs Inc

    This has turned to be a really nice post and interior design work. I really dig how comfortable it all feels, Very well done …..

  9. Sandy Strothmann

    I live in a log home. I want to do some painting to freshen it up, I love the yellow she used on her cabinets, could you tell me what shade of yellow that is and what brand ?? Thank you

  10. Debora A Clark

    What about the interior doors and trim of a log home? It’s been a year living here and
    the interior doors and trim are not done yet. I’m thinking white, red, or gray. Paint or stain.
    We live by Lake Superior and I like the light and cottage look as opposed to the “hunting-lodge”
    look. Any advice would be great. Deb

  11. Angela

    What color should I use in my log cabin second bath? I have a blue/green pendant ordered for over the sink and ordered matching accent tiles in the blue green color. Two walls are 8″ log, one wall is a shower. What color should the other wall be? I don’t want to go too loud with the walk paint color but I was considering a light blue.


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