Whether you own a cabin in the woods or a house on a lake, or just wish you did and want to channel some of those cozy, curl-up-with-hot-cocoa vibes now that the weather has grown cold, there are plenty of ways to set a more autumnal mood with your home decor.
One advantage to a rustic look is that it’s affordable and easy to pull off—equal parts vintage and second-hand items, inexpensive fabrics, and simple displays.
Here’s some help with colors, fabrics, and fun motifs to ring in the fall season right!
1. Canvas and burlap
Durability is the goal with fabrics in a woodsy home. Seek out canvas, burlap, cotton, and linen for upholstery, curtains, pillows, and more.
Basher recommends this material on lampshades, tablecloths, ottomans, and even bar stool seats. Or pick up a canvas laundry bag, magazine rack, or tote bags to use for storage and display.
2. Natural colors
When considering paint here, look to the colors of nature. Being immersed in the great outdoors is the idea, so think of earth tones seen in the woods—as well as splashes of color where flowers may be blooming, says Basher.
“True colors (reds, greens, blues) will speak well to this look, whereas pastels fall short except in small doses,” he adds.
Drew Henry of Design Dudes agrees: “I’d go for whites, grays, blacks, red and green shades, and more muted colors, and stay away from anything that’s too bright,” he notes.
3. Checks and plaid
“Many people associate cabins with camping—and this leads to thoughts of picnicking,” says Basher.
A classic red-and-white-checked design, gingham, or plaid are good places to begin in your kitchen and dining areas. Plaid bedding, window treatments, and throw pillows are other ways to express the theme.
But use some restraint with certain patterns, warn the pros.
“Too many checks and plaid looks can be overwhelming and kitschy, so stick to one or two areas,” says Basher. Judicious decor is wise with a cabin theme, rather than turning your home into a literal Y camp.
4. Games and sports
Outdoor activities are classic cabin fun, so bring these ideas inside when considering your decor. Try oars on the wall or used as stair railings or even grouped together to form a headboard. You can continue the motif with framed sailing flags or old life preservers.
“You can go several directions when it comes to themes for a cabin-inspired home, including fishing and sailing if you’re near the water or nature and hunting if you live in the country,” points out Basher.
Henry likes rope designs as cords to accent drapes or a mounted fish on the wall.
Fill the space above your fireplace with old water skis, snowshoes, ice skates, or badminton rackets, suggests Basher.
“Classic board games are another natural fit here—and don’t hide them. Just set one up on a shelf to enhance that cozy, family-gathering feeling,” he explains.
5. Trunks and suitcases
Search your attic, hit up flea markets, and scour yard sales for old steamer trunks and vintage suitcases. Both can be used as decor and storage in a cabin home.
“Look for the ones with lots of landmark stickers all over them,” offers Basher. He also recommends hidden storage like a hollow faux fur ottoman, as well as armoires and hutches to corral supplies and display treasures.
Choose furniture that’s a mix of inherited pieces, estate sale finds, homemade things, and lots of personal history, says Karen Gray-Plaisted of Design Solutions KGP. “These styles help convey a feeling of warmth and relaxation,” she says.
6. Cozy textures
“There really doesn’t need to be a lot of fuss involved in decorating this type of space,” notes Gray-Plaisted. She’s seen cabins and country homes that are very Scandinavian in feel with minimal furnishings, but lots of textures, too.
Ones to consider: chunky knit blankets, cozy throws for the couch, woven baskets, flannel sheets, and soft wool rugs.
7. Animal motifs
Unless you’re an avid hunter, there’s no need to go full-on taxidermy in a cabin home. But animal motifs definitely make sense here and could include antlers around a mirror, as a lamp base, or over a mantel.
Henry suggests graphic pillow patterns or framed silhouettes of bears, rabbits, and foxes.
“Make it fun and whimsical,” he suggests.