How to decorate a mountain cabin


Quiet mornings on the porch. Curling up in front of the fireplace. The sound of wind rustling through the trees. When travelers want a place to unplug, not much can compare to the cozy warmth of a log cabin in the woods.

Want to maximize your cabin’s earning potential? Embrace your rustic surroundings and create spectacular interiors that attract more guests and command a higher rate. Our Vacasa interior designers divulge their five must-have interior design tips to elevate your cabin experience in no time.

interior of Ketchum, ID cabin home with stone fireplace, an indoor plant and area rug

5 cabin home decorating ideas

1. Decide on your cabin vibe

To start, Milena Marzulo, Vacasa Design Associate, suggests asking yourself: how do you want your cabin to feel—modern or rustic? If you prefer traditional and rustic interiors, choose deep warm tones that enhance your home’s wood accents.

For a modern mountain aesthetic, focus on clean lines and minimal extras, says Kimberly White, Vacasa’s Head of Home Quality and Standards. “Forgo the excessive print and patterns on bedding and pillows. Instead, opt for crisp, clean, and bright—all elements of a modern vibe.”

Even better, combine the two. Today, the most attractive mountain vacation homes exude as much rustic charm as sophistication. Mix and mingle elements of both for a dynamic design. Think warm woods and rich fabrics accompanied by sleek accessories and polished furniture.

interior of modern cabin home in Truckee, CA

2. Let nature do the work

Whether your vacation home has a view of the mountains, a stream, or simply surrounding trees, you should rely on Mother Nature to drive your design, Kimberly advises. Guests who book cabins want the full mountain experience both inside and out. Choose a color palette that complements, not upstages, the natural beauty of the outdoors. “Work with nature, not against it,” Kimberly says.

Beyond selecting hues, Milena also suggests incorporating natural elements and textures in your home. For instance, bring in different wood grains as a main material, then mix with other rustic touches, like rich leather details, she says.

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3. Brighten dark interiors

Rustic cabins can quickly feel dark and heavy, says Kimberly. “Be sure to provide moments of light and brightness to balance out the space.” Some tips to enliven a dim interior:

  • Anchor the room and add warmth underfoot with a light-colored area rug.
  • Place mirrors strategically to give rooms more depth and amplify light.
  • Decorate with light colors, such as white, gray, pastels, or even bright hues.
Bedroom of cabin in Ketchum, ID

4. Cue the cozy

What’s a cabin without its promise of comfort and coziness? Give your mountain vacation home its characteristic warmth by adding plush accent pillows and throw blankets, advises Milena. Consider laying down large, washable area rugs so guests don’t have to walk on cold, bare wood floors. Set a candlelit mood by replacing bulbs with warm-toned LED lights.

Open layout of large cabin with wood panels and a leather couch in Truckee, CA

5. Cut the clutter

Let your natural views and surroundings truly shine by ridding your space of unnecessary decor or folk art (a common cabin design faux pas). Nothing kills coziness faster than excess stuff. “Less is more when it comes to decorating a cabin,” Kimberly says.

Adorably designed kids room with bunk beds in Truckee, CA cabin

Want more ways to design your cabin for bigger profits? Learn how to decorate your vacation rental like a professional interior designer.

Mountain cabin decor FAQ

Log homes should only be stained, never painted. Unlike other home building materials, logs need to breathe. And stain allows it to do that while still offering protection from weather and other outdoor elements. In contrast, paint can seal in moisture that then causes the logs to rot and deteriorate. Once they reach that point, they will have to be replaced or treated—both very pricey and time consuming. Plus, paint will quickly crack, peel, and flake off of logs, giving your home an unattractive appearance.

The Danish are on to something with their secret to happiness—hygge, a coziness that brings togetherness, well-being and comfort. Fortunately, all it takes are small decor changes to bring that same warmth to your mountain cabin. Here are a few of our favorite interior design tips to cozy up your log cabin or any vacation home:

  • Toss plush throw blankets on the sofa and beds to add warmth even on the coldest nights.
  • Swap in textured throw pillows or pillow covers. Cozy fabric options include a wooly cable knit, rich velvet, or a nubby boucle.
  • Place washable area rugs over cold wood or tile flooring to keep guests’ feet warm.
  • Give your home a candlelit glow by replacing bulbs with warmed-toned LED lights.
  • Warm up window treatments with velvet drapes or heavier (but washable) fabric.

Yes—no matter the season, purchasing a mountain cabin can be a good investment. Not only can your cabin serve as your personal vacation spot to enjoy nature with family and friends, you can also earn extra income by using it as a vacation rental. Plus, your vacation home can become a nice nest egg or a future retirement home when the time comes. Before making your purchase, consider how to maximize your cabin investment.

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