Northwoods Decorating Ideas


Inspired by the forested and lakeside regions of the upper Midwest, Northwoods-style decorating embraces a passion for the great outdoors. Similar to lodge-style decorating, the use of natural materials, rustic or primitive furnishings and wildlife-inspired decor helps create a Northwoods feel, no matter where your home is located.

Natural Elements

  • When possible, cover walls with natural wood to convey the feeling of a rustic log home or a Northwoods cabin. Knotty pine can be sealed with a clear finish or lightly stained to deepen the tone, while cedar wood planks will fill the room with a wonderful aroma. Continue the paneling on the ceiling and under a chair rail or install exposed wood beams. Reclaimed wood adds character and interest to walls and floors. Use natural earth tones on upper walls in muted hues of green, terra-cotta, gold, brown or beige. Consider a stone accent wall using natural stone veneers. Use this material on a fireplace facade in river rock or fieldstone that resembles native stone.

Rustic Furniture

  • Northwoods-style furniture is durable and sturdy, made from lodgepole pine, white or red cedar, hickory and aspen. Rough-hewn logs and twigs fashioned into chairs, tables and beds have a primitive appearance. Bent willow or reclaimed barn-wood pieces fit in rustic settings, and Amish-made Mission-style furniture mixes with ease. Look for one-of-a-kind antique or vintage furniture pieces such as old trunks or chests to add character to the room. Leather upholstery complements the natural wood. Hickory or Adirondack-style chairs are good options for decks and porches. Add comfort to seating with handmade quilts, blankets and throws.

Native Accents

  • Antler chandeliers and lamps are at home in a Northwoods-style room. Wrought-iron sconces, pendants and fixtures featuring images of bears, deer, moose, evergreen trees or pine cones, with frosted glass, mica or rawhide shades, add the right touch. Taxidermy wall mounts of deer, moose or fish suit an outdoor sporting lifestyle. Images of wildlife are featured on bedding, area rugs and accent pillows. Bright colored plaids on accent fabrics and geometric, Native American designs on rugs, runners and blankets complement the style with lively patterns and color. Gather your own natural materials such as twisted branches, pine cones, seed pods, dried vegetation, small logs, rocks or anything that appeals to you to create natural displays.

Nurseries and Kids Rooms

  • Paint the walls in a nursery or kid’s bedroom with natural, earthy colors in shades of green and brown. Add a softer look with stuffed bear or moose heads mounted on the wall. Plush animal or faux fur rugs make a cozy place to sit and read or play on the floor. Hang country-style or rustic curtains from twig curtain rods. A log-style crib, twin bed or bunk bed provides a rugged look. Look for plaid patterns or wildlife-inspired bedding for cribs and beds featuring bears, fish or moose. Hang wooden block letters that spell out the child’s name, and include a rustic wood shelf or small bookcase with picture books about the woods and local wildlife. Twig, antler, pine cone or teepee lamps or switch-plate covers make fun accents.

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