Making Your Rustic Decor Lighter

Deciding to adorn your home or cabin in a rustic theme is an exciting prospect that will allow you to express your artistic side while transforming ordinary rooms into beautiful and unique areas. Congratulations on choosing a classy, timeless motif. The next step is to begin acquiring quality, rustic items that will build a stylish, welcoming atmosphere. Because rustic decor is usually characterized by the darker, richer elements found in nature, blending in light accenting is crucial. Perhaps you've had the experience of walking into an antique store where the shelves were laden with trinkets, signs, dinnerware, etc., and you had to navigate around high-backed sofas and oak dining tables while your eyes darted in all directions, unsure where to focus. The aisles felt crammed and the store cave-like; this effect is similar to what can happen when a home has been over-decorated and saturated in dark tones. The key is learning how to strike a balance. Below are tips and tricks on how to do just that. 

Getting started- Ask yourself the following questions about the room(s) you're decorating:
  • How big is the area?
Small/narrow/windowless rooms need light and neutral wall colors to prevent creating a closed-in feeling. Large/open floor plans allow more leniency to play with rich tones.
  • How high are the ceilings?
Tall ceilings are great for showy chandeliers/hanging lights while short ceilings will mean a “less is more” approach for both lighting and wall hangings. Overcrowding makes rooms of any size appear smaller.
  • What atmosphere do you want to create?
When selecting color, you should go beyond appearance to also consider the moods they elicit. According to, here are a few popular colors and their potential effects: Orange- stimulating, active, cheerful and sociable Purple- soothing, calming, and represents abundance/prosperity Grey- neutral, calm, and quiet Brown- comfortable, grounding, and stable Red- activating, stimulating, passionate, exciting, powerful, and expanding Yellow- happy, uplifting, warm, stimulating, and expansive Green- calming, balancing, healing, relaxing, and tranquil Blue- calming, healing, soothing, and relaxing Black- sophistication, power, elegance, and modernity White- clarity, innocence, cleanliness, spirituality, purity, hope, expansiveness, and openness Pink- sedating and calming
  • What does my budget look like?
decorating doesn't have to mean spending exorbitant amounts of money. A modest budget and a gallon of paint can easily transform any room into a gorgeous woodland getaway. Buy only items you love, knowing you can add others over time. 

Working with wall color- If you have a lot of dark/nature decor (pinecone lights, rugged furniture, wood signs, etc.), you should consider offsetting your rich accents with a neutral wall shade. Some time-tested colors include variations of sand and tan, grey, light blue, taupe, beige, and, of course, creams and white. For larger rooms, you'll be able to get away with bolder shades on all walls or for accent walls. Some go-to tones for cabin themes are crimson, burnt orange, chocolate brown, and olive green. If you have log walls or paneling, focus on selecting rustic items that will add pops of color, such as a lively window treatment, wall hanging, throw blanket, etc. 

Work with what you've got- Remember to use smaller items in smaller rooms to balance out the space. That means smaller rugs, less furniture, fewer wall hangings, and lighter tones. Use window treatments that are light airy. Large rooms, on the other hand, are where you'll want to show off your oversized lodge rugs, grand furniture sets, darker accent walls, and that collection of Northwoods paintings. 

The balancing act- Consider items you want to showcase and keep the area around them clear of clutter and/or put them where your eye is naturally drawn when you walk into the room. Remember neutral paint will bring out your pictures while allowing your eye to roam to your cabin rug or wildlife chandelier.

Don't be afraid to experiment- You can easily turn a rugged cabin into a chic suite with a few smart changes. Imagine your dining room with a coat of icy-blue paint to highlight a moose antler chandelier suspended beautifully above a Barnwood table while pinecone curtains adorn the windows nearby. Perhaps you could cover those brown living room walls with beige so your cedar furnishing and lake themed throw pillows can take the spotlight. Even swapping out opaque lampshades for cream ones can sometimes make all the difference. 

Creating a rustic atmosphere isn't about overwhelming the senses in dark wood and wildlife images, it's about choosing thoughtful decor that will enhance what you already have while balancing it with complimentary light tones. Be fearless. Flex your creative muscles and watch your rustic motif come to life. For more decorating ideas and/or to find the perfect rustic decor for your home or lodge, visit us at today.