Designing a lighting strategy for a log cabin is different than for a traditional house. I’m not referring to developing an even more rustic look with the use of fixtures featuring antlers and images of deer and moose. I’m focusing on the special lighting characteristics of a wood interior. The exposed log walls and wood paneled walls and ceilings of log cabins tend to absorb light rather than reflect it. Cabins with open great rooms require more auxiliary lighting for proper illumination. Using the right kind of lighting enhances the beauty and warmth of the wood interior.
There are several types of lighting to consider including:
Natural – You manage daylight through optimized placement and size of windows and skylights. In warm climates, sunlight can overheat a log cabin through windows on the south and west facing sides. Roof overhangs can provide shade as well as protect the wood. Of course, the amount of heat and daylight can also be reduced with curtains or blinds. I plan to maximize the views and natural light of the great room in my log cabin through large picture windows. I haven’t decided yet whether to extend the roof over these windows. Tubular skylights also spreads natural light while minimizing the extent of roof penetration.
Ambient - Ambient lighting provides the general diffused illumination that lights a house. It sets the overall tone and mood of a room. Ambient light sources include chandeliers, flush recessed lights and ceiling mounted pendant lamps. Recessed lighting provides a high level of light without unsightly fixtures. Our kitchen has a series of recessed ceiling lights that are virtually out of sight yet totally illuminate the room.
Accent - Accent lights are directional, they provide contrast and illuminate special features in a room such as artwork and special log cabin architectural features. Uplights, which as the name suggests direct their light upward, can highlight, for example, wooden trusses. We have a light inside a glass and mirrored dining room cabinet that directs attention to our beautiful china and glassware.
Task – Task lighting is especially important in a log cabin. Rather than providing a focus on objects, task lighting sheds light on a specific area to assist the completion of visual tasks. Under cabinet lights can be out of sight but provide extra light on a countertop or work station. A table or standing lamp can be used to provide reading light