When the days are long and the weather is warm, all you want to do is throw open the windows and enjoy the beautiful days of summer. It’s also an exciting time to transform your home decor. Whether you're getting ready for a big family cook-out or rejuvenating your favorite spot to kick off your sandals and sip lemonade, we have fantastic design tips and ideas to incorporate your rustic style while creating a professional, polished appearance without the professional price. In this guide, we’ll discuss:
- Preparing your cabin for summer
- Rustic style ideas for summer
- Tips decorating a rustic summer cabin
- What to upgrade for summer
Preparing your cabin for summer
If you've just arrived at the cabin for the first time since you left it last winter (or soon will be), you know that there will be a few things to do. Dusting away cobwebs and checking things like the plumbing system will undoubtedly be first on your list — but don’t forget about your cabin furnishings. These also need to be prepared for the season ahead and it will give you a good excuse to get to some of that yearly cleaning that needs to be done at some point anyway.
Maybe the most obvious step, but important nonetheless, take off any protective covers from cabin furniture that may have been placed over them in the fall. Make sure that wooden furniture is thoroughly cleaned and polished to restore its luster and gleam. If you have wooden floors, which are very common in cabins, make sure that you sweep and polish those as well.
Any cabin furnishings that are made from fabric, such as cushiony sofas or throw pillows, should be thoroughly vacuumed. You might be able to throw some of these items into the washing machine at your cabin, especially things such as rugs, but always make sure you read the label for care instructions. Regardless, make sure that they are free of dust and ready for a summer of cabin lounging!
Leather cabin furnishings also need attention when you’re preparing the cabin for the summer. All leather furniture will also need to be wiped free of any soiled areas and then have a treatment of polish applied to them. This will make the leather last much longer and will bring some of the bounce back to its look!
Upgrade your cabin for summer
If you find when you come back from a long winter away that some of your cabin furniture is just too far gone and you don’t think it will last another year, it may be time to get rid of the old and bring in the new. We have lots of rustic log furniture and cabin decor that is easy to care for, will look terrific in any cabin, and will last for many years to come, so let’s take a look at some ideas!
Rustic summer style ideas
If your ideal paradise is a summer getaway to a cabin in the woods, your preferred style will probably include rustic cabin blankets and wool accent rugs. Make your cabin warm and cozy with hickory rocking chairs just like at your grandparents’ house. If your cabin is near the water, you might choose cabin decor with a coastal or fishing theme. As we’ll discuss later, your surroundings are a great place to look for decor inspiration and style ideas. Below, we've compiled a list of some of our favorite go-to ideas for decor themes that are sure to get you started and impress anyone visiting. These are time-tested motifs that won't go out of style and require little to no updating from year to year:
The combination of iconic red, white, and blue tones during the hot season is a timeless crowd-pleaser. Reuse red table cloths and napkins from Christmas and serve up fresh fruit and appetizers on rustic serving trays alongside woodland-themed platters. Dust off decorative vases and fill them with hand-picked daisies. Scatter flags, candles, and rugged star decor throughout the kitchen and sitting rooms (also adding touches of burlap will make you look like a decorating genius). When done right, patriotic decor isn’t limited to the Fourth of July — if you balance it with generous doses of white, it’s classy enough to be displayed year-round.
Bring out your love for the great American west with rugged browns and reds, or by hanging a used lasso on a wall hook. Use an old, leather boot to conceal a vase as hand-picked wildflowers drape over top. Put your cowboy hats out for all to see and adorn your dining room table with bandana napkins and western star salt and pepper shakers. Another creative idea is to hot glue rope or twine around an empty wine bottle for use as a candle holder. Don't forget to have fun with lucky horseshoe accents and grab an equestrian throw blanket for the couch!
For many, the word summer is synonymous with sunny images of beaches, glistening water, and outstretched docks. Luckily for us, capturing the serenity of the shoreline is effortless with a few well-placed items. Create a stunning table centerpiece by placing sand and seashells collected during your last vacation in a glass bowl with candles, and fill it with water and floating candles for a whimsical effect. Turquoise, baby blue, and seafoam tones pair amazingly with white curtains and beach-themed rugs. The key to a genuine-looking beach theme is to keep it light and airy. Don't forget to add hints of nautical decor throughout, such as an anchor lamp, seashell pillows, and ocean bedding for an upscale appearance.
When it comes to the cabin theme, you can't go wrong with nature and wildlife accenting. Line your outdoor walkways with rustic pinecone scones and bear signs to welcome guests before they enter your Northwoods getaway. Woodland clocks, canoe-shaped coat racks, plaid table runners, and moose rugs all complement wood furnishings in flawless fashion, while checkerboard designs and flannel fabrics are classic staples you can use in your lodge the whole year.
If you want a cabin style that’s a little more niche, rustic decor with a wildlife theme is a good bet if your home is primarily used for hunting. Often, when you hunt for sport, there are many trophies involved — and what better place to display them than around your hunting cabin! The decor theme of your cabin should allow for a natural transition between the trophies and the rest of the furnishings and art that are in place, which we recommend camo prints for.
If you use your cabin as a retreat from the world or as a home base for hiking, you might want to consider a serene nature theme when you are selecting your cabin decor. As a retreat, you want to create as calm of a space as possible for maximum relaxation, so images of the nature and landscapes you find outside your door may very well fit nicely as interior decoration.
For those cabins used for fishing in nearby rivers or lakes, a good bet for a decor scheme would be something focused around water or fish. There are some great pieces featuring river fishing available, as well as many decor pieces that offer colors that fit a lake or water theme. As with a hunting lodge, the decor of your fishing retreat should lend itself well to the addition of trophies to the walls.
Tips for summer decorating
The sunshine months are a time for playing with bright colors and experimenting with both rough and smooth textures. By being bold and taking chances, you can fashion a festive home environment that's as unique as you are — without breaking the bank. If you're a decorating enthusiast who'd rather mix it up than stick to a single theme, here are some general tips and ideas to enhance your rustic summer decor’s look:
Keep it light
White, yellow, gray, blue, pink, purple, and sand hues are ideal for creating a fresh, summer atmosphere. In particular, yellow and gray possess a great wow factor that amplifies when you add a pop of turquoise or pink. Seasonal throw pillows, blankets, rugs, and placemats are simple and inexpensive items you can easily swap out for a completely updated look with the changing of each season. Remember to save dark, rich tones for colder months and don't be afraid to blend cool and warm colors.
Keep it natural
The best part of summer is highlighting the beauty right outside your front door. Use flowers, shells, fruit, pinecones, berries, and anything else majestic that Mother Nature provides to enhance your lodge motif. Natural wood furnishings, while impressive year-round, are perfection during the summer. You can also rearrange your furniture for a renewed appearance that features any Barnwood items at the forefront.
Keep it simple
While updating your decor, it can be tempting to go overboard. Resist poorly made, kitschy box store items that clutter surfaces and go out of style — instead shop for well-made, tasteful items you can enjoy for decades to come. Adding an item or two each year ensures you will have a growing collection that you'll love.
Keep it fun
Lastly, now is the time to experiment! For example, put out a bright table cloth and mix and match your favorite napkins and placemats for a colorful look. Swap out lampshades and dress up patio furniture with new pillows. Refresh your guests by serving cool beverages in nature-themed drinkware or mason jars while substituting ice cubes with frozen fruit. Anything goes, so use your imagination.
Which parts of your home to update for summer
Once you’ve decided on a style or color scheme, what items should you look to start updating first? As we mentioned, going overboard can be a detriment to your cabin’s look, so a few major ideas to think about changing for the summer months first include:
You don’t have to throw out all of your old furniture or change every room in your cabin, but you will discover that there are many ways to freshen and lighten up your cabin for a wonderful summer. One way to make your mountain or lake cottage truly memorable is by incorporating handcrafted wooden furnishings. The simple charm that comes from wooden items fits well with a cozy recreational cabin and will make all of your visitors feel right at home. Simple, handcrafted furnishings work really well in any room, especially those from birch and other native trees.
Rugs & runners
The rugs and runners throughout your cabin can really set the tone of the space and should be carefully considered when going for rustic cabin decor. Offset beautiful natural wood floors with sturdy, rustic braided rugs in the halls and high-traffic areas. Give your sitting area a soft and welcoming look with a fluffy high pile or sheepskin throw rug by the fire, and welcome visitors with a whimsical doormat featuring bears or other wildlife.
One of the best parts of summertime at your mountain cabin retreat or lakefront cottage is the opportunity to relax around a campfire, share good food, and enjoy conversation with your friends and family. A great way to keep everyone hanging around the fire during a summer evening is to have some cozy rustic throws available to ward off the chill of the night air. Whether you are hanging by the fireplace reading a book or laughing and enjoying a glass of wine with your family around the campfire, there is just something comforting and welcoming about wrapping up in a light soft throw. What's even better is that since these blankets are small and lightweight, they are easy to clean and fit well over the back of a chair or a couch as part of your overall rustic lodge decor theme.
With the change in seasons comes the need for changes in bedding as well. Summer bedding for your cabin or lake retreat should match your surroundings as well as be made from lighter-weight materials than your winter bedding. If you already have a decor theme for the rest of your home or bedroom, you can find breathable, cool bedding to match your current style. If you are looking to create a more rustic or cabin-like decor style for your summer home, you should look to the outdoor environment for color and design cues.
Bedding for lake houses
For instance, if you are decorating a lake house, then colors and themes in blues or greens would work well, as would bedding featuring fishing or water. Even a bear theme might be appropriate if you are in an area with many wild bears.
Bedding for forest cabins
For a wooded or mountain retreat, you might consider earth tones and woodland or wildlife themes that match your local fauna. If you want to create one all-season theme for your bedroom, you can get a duvet cover that goes with your current decor and purchase multiple duvets to match the needs of the season. In this way, you keep your bedding fresh and temperature appropriate throughout the year.