Rustic Lighting Ideas for Log Cabins

cabin living room with hanging lights and chandelier

The picturesque idea of a wood stove and an oil lamp may be alluring — but your cabin deserves a modern approach to the rustic lifestyle. Although the bulbs may be LEDs and the wiring modern, you can still decorate using lighting elements with a traditional feel. Use this guide to find practical ways to light your cabin and products to match your design style.

Modern rustic fixtures & lighting elements

Deciding on lighting options for a log cabin doesn’t have to be complicated. First, stick to a theme or design style. Then, measure the square footage of your rooms to find out how many lumens you’ll need. Finally, decide on what type of elements you need for each room. Options for cabin lighting include:

  • Chandeliers - Multifaceted, hanging fixtures that add elegance and prestige to any space. The array of lights on a chandelier provides a fulfilling glow above a dining table.
  • Pendant lights - A hanging lantern with versatile applications. Use them in kitchens, stairwells, or even above your bar top.
  • Lamps - The easiest lighting option to install, lamps can give you a variety of options for lighting and themes. Try bulbs with different bits of warmth in your lamps for mood lighting. 
  • Sconces - Usually a single light attached to the wall with a bracket, these provide direct light, perfect for above your prepping and work areas. You can use them effectively in a workshop, kitchen, and on the porch. 
  • Vanities - Useful for hallways, living rooms, and bathrooms, vanities are a versatile, wall-mounted array of lights. 
  • Ceiling lights - Fixed directly to (or into) the ceiling, these lights deliver overhead luminescence through decorative covers – most commonly used in bedrooms.

Themes of Cabin Lighting Elements

The theme you choose will depend on your interests and how your home is already designed and set up. A farmhouse or modern country cabin will look great with traditional rustic lighting. For those living in the woods or that want something off the beaten path, consider animal or forest-themed lighting options. Examples of forest themes are pinecone, antler, and fish-themed lighting. If you’re looking for something larger, an antler chandelier could be the centerpiece of your cabin’s living area (more info on how to choose an antler chandelier here). 

How do you light a log cabin?

Besides finding the right products, determining the right amount of lighting can be a challenge. Darker cabin walls absorb light, and non-reflective surfaces reduce lightbulb efficiency. Because of this, we’d recommend adding more lumens (the measurement of a light’s brightness) in dark-walled cabins. Alternatively, you don’t want to go overboard. A pair of floodlights blinding you every time you walk into your woodland retreat would certainly be overbearing.

Sometimes you need to save on space — a cozy and intimate cabin needs functional and aesthetic lighting. Narrow cabin hallways and tight corners can be endearing but may require clever lighting schemes, such as using low-profile vanities or sconces. If your lodge has lofty ceilings due to an A-frame design, look for light sources other than standard overhead lighting.

What can you use instead of overhead lighting?

On that note, overhead lighting works best for lower ceilings. This is because the light source is closer to eye level, making illumination a non-issue. However, log cabins can have cross-gable roofs and vaulted ceilings — making lighting difficult when using energy-efficient lights.

Instead of overhead lights, consider using wall-mounted rustic sconces, floor lamps, or low-profile vanities. Hanging options can also bring light closer to eye level. Thankfully, lighting features like a chandelier can easily be lowered to the correct height to brighten any room, no matter how high the cabin’s ceiling. 

Indoor & outdoor cabin lighting

Few things are more enchanting than catching a glimmer of a rustic porchlight while walking towards your lodge through the woods. It’s the first sign of the safety and comfort your cabin offers from the wield and the wild. Use a wall sconce or light post to mark the entrance to your haven.

Remember, indoor lighting is often rated for lower wattage and uses a variety of metals and materials. Outdoor lighting options are typically coated or made of bronze to protect against the elements. An outdoor light used inside might be too bright, and an indoor light might rust or deteriorate outside. Additionally, some outdoor options come with motion sensors and could be unwanted inside your cabin. 

Lighting for narrow entryways

Vanity lighting isn’t bathroom exclusive. Wall-mounted vanity lighting can make hallways more inviting. Ceiling lights shine downward, leaving the corners of hallways and entryways dim or dark. An all-around lighting option can brighten the entire space. If the ceilings allow for it, you can also add a bit of charm with a pendant light! 

Lighting a stairwell landing

LEDs are a good solution for dimmable stair lights. A brighter solution for a stairwell landing is a hanging fixture. A flush ceiling light might be too high to effectively light the space, or sometimes you don’t have space for wall lights. Look towards a chandelier or pendant lighting for stairwell landings.

Measuring light needed for your cabin

To find the number of lightbulbs for your living spaces, multiply the room’s square footage by the recommended lumens per square foot (see the table below). Afterward, find the lumens of the bulbs you want to use, then how many light bulbs you’ll need to meet that recommended total lumens. For reference, most energy-efficient bulbs burn at 800 lumens.

As an example, a 300-square-foot living room will need 6,000 lumens or roughly eight 800-lumen bulbs. Therefore, four cabin light fixtures with two bulbs each sufficiently light a 300-square-foot living room. Rooms with darker wall colors might need an additional 10 lumens per square foot.


Lumens Per Square Foot



Living Room




Dining Room


Kitchen (Standard)




Kitchen (Cooking / Prepping Areas)


Bright ideas for every room in your lodge

Now that you know how many lumens you need per room all that’s left is to pick out fixtures. Make plans for each room and decide on elements that share a common theme.

  • Living rooms and dens - Use various lighting options in your living room. Vanity lights pair well with chandeliers, and lamps pair with pendant lights. 
  • Kitchens - Using task lighting is best when preparing food in the kitchen. Installing sconces over kitchen counters sheds light directly on where the magic happens. Cooking by a dim firelight may be enchanting, but so is not cutting yourself in the dark. 
  • Dining rooms - Rustic pendant lighting above a log dining table gives a townhome and western feel. Combine traditional and modern by fixing a white antler chandelier over your dining space. Ceiling lights can also add charm above a bartop. 
  • Bedrooms - A simple ceiling light can cover most cabin bedrooms. Use bedside lamps to supplement your ceiling light. Adding a dimmer to the lighting fixtures in your bedroom can help create a calming space. (More ideas for cabin bedroom designs here.)
  • Bathroom lighting - Vanity fixtures are a bathroom staple and are usually placed above your mirror or beside the sink counter. Be sure to use an overhead ceiling light fixture tailored for damp areas to avoid humidity damage. Brighter lights in the bathroom can make cleaning easier, but avoid blinding light during late-night bathroom visits by installing a night light

Safety first

Check state and local codes before starting a project. Also, if you’re inexperienced, call a licensed electrician to help install your fixtures. Always keep these pointers in mind when installing lighting in your cabin:

  • Keep fragile parts in a safe place until ready to install
  • For larger fixtures, check the junction box weight limit
  • Always shut off power to the circuit before installation
  • Use a circuit voltage tester to ensure all wires are off

Looking for collections of cabin lights?

At Cabin Place, we curate collections of lighting options for cabin lovers and lodge enthusiasts. Add enduring beauty to your cabin by finding the right lights to match your decor. You can find regal antler chandeliers, traditional rustic sconces, western lighting fixtures, and elements for any lodge. Source the ideal lighting for your cabin today!