The Ultimate Guide to Cabin Design (& How eDesign Can Help)
February 12, 2024 - Michelle Murphy
Is there anything better than your very own cabin getaway? The 11% of Canadians who currently own one don’t think so!
With all the planning that goes into a cabin design, where do you even start? From figuring out the cabin’s purpose to deciding if you’re building something new or fixing up an old place, there are a lot of considerations to be aware of.
In this guide, you’ll get key things to think about when designing your cabin, as well as insights into how innovative solutions like eDesign can make the whole process easier.
How to Find the “Why” in Your Cabin Design
When planning your cabin design, the first step is to figure out what you want the space to do for you. Is it a gathering place for family and friends, a quiet spot for focused work, or perhaps a blend of both? Your cabin’s purpose directly influences its design, location, and budget.
1. Consider Your Cabin’s Main Use
A cabin meant for hosting pals might prioritize open-concept layouts and outdoor spaces. In contrast, a personal retreat might focus more on cozy corners with views of the surrounding nature.
If you’re planning to use the cabin as a workspace, think about incorporating a dedicated area where you can focus without distractions. For leisure, consider spaces that promote relaxation, like a deck overlooking a lake or a comfortable reading nook.
2. Decide on Look & Feel
In addition to your personal style, the ambiance of your cabin should also reflect the environment. Think about how the design of your cabin can enhance this connection, whether through large windows, outdoor living spaces, or the use of natural materials.
3. Impact on Location & Budget
Your cabin’s intended use might influence its location. For example, a social hub could be closer to amenities, while a personal retreat might be more remote. A clear understanding of the cabin’s purpose also helps in allocating your design budget effectively, especially when deciding between renovating an existing structure or building something new from the ground up.
Popular Cabin Design Styles
When exploring styles for your cabin design, you’ll want to choose one that resonates with your taste, as well as the natural surroundings. Here are three popular cabin styles that offer distinct atmospheres and design elements:
Rustic cabins focus on embracing the natural and rugged beauty of the outdoors by featuring exposed beams, wood and stone materials, and a cozy, warm interior. This design is perfect for mountain or forest settings or for those looking for a traditional cabin feel that’s close to nature.
MMID Design Tip: Incorporate reclaimed wood, antique furnishings, and natural textures. Large fireplaces and comfortable, plush seating can enhance the rustic charm of this design style.
Inspired by the Alpine houses of Europe, chalet cabins are known for their steep roofs, large windows, and spacious decks or balconies. They blend luxury with comfort and often feature open floor plans and lofted spaces. Chalets naturally fit in snowy or mountainous locations and are a great option for owners who desire a mix of elegance and coziness.
MMID Design Tip: Use natural light to your advantage with large, floor-to-ceiling windows. Wood panelling and stone accents can add to the chalet ambiance, while modern amenities ensure comfort and convenience.
Coastal cabins reflect the light, breezy atmosphere of seaside living. They typically feature light-coloured palettes, natural light, and a casual, airy vibe. Those wishing for a retreat near the water will fall in love with a coastal cabin aesthetic.
MMID Design Tip: Opt for light woods, blues and whites, and open shelving. In this design, outdoor spaces like porches or decks are essential for enjoying the view and the fresh air.
Key Considerations in Cabin Design
Designing your dream cabin involves more than just aesthetics:
Location & Accessibility
Choosing the right location in your cabin or cottage design is extremely important, as the site dictates not just the view but also the challenges you might face.
- Remote or accessible: Remote locations offer tranquillity but may pose challenges in transporting materials and accessing utilities. An accessible site might not offer the same level of seclusion but can simplify logistics and reduce costs.
- Environmental factors: Consider the climate, terrain, and potential for natural disasters. These factors will influence your cabin’s design, materials, and insurance costs.
Your vision for the cabin also determines the construction path you take.
- New build vs. renovation: Building a new cabin allows complete customization but at a higher cost and complexity. Renovating an existing structure can save money and time, but you’ll be limited by the existing design and condition.
- Building packages: For those looking for a middle ground, cabin building packages offer predefined designs with some room for customization, which streamlines the construction process. Some of MMID’s faves include: Knotty Pine Cabins, Woodland Cabin Co, and Froese Cabins.
Timelines & Weather
The timing of your project is another big consideration, especially in regions with harsh weather conditions.
- Construction timeline: Building or renovating a cabin can take anywhere from a few months to over a year. Planning your reno around weather conditions is crucial to avoid delays.
- Seasonal considerations: In colder climates, the ground may freeze in winter and halt construction. Similarly, rainy seasons can delay work and damage materials.
- Material transportation: The farther and more remote your cabin site, the higher the cost and difficulty of transporting materials.
- Skilled labour: Finding skilled labour can be challenging in remote areas, so you have to factor this into your timeline and budget.
Incorporating eDesign into your Cabin Design Process
In the digital world we live in, designing your cabin doesn’t have to be a process filled with site visits and in-person meetings.
What is eDesign?
eDesign, or virtual interior design, offers a convenient, affordable, and flexible design option by blending professional expertise with the comfort of making decisions from anywhere in the world. This remote service connects you with your interior designer via the internet, allowing for the exchange of ideas, plans, and feedback through online platforms.
Why eDesign is Ideal for Cabin Design
Cabin projects, especially those in remote locations, benefit from eDesign because the challenges of distance, access, and local resources are mitigated by the virtual nature of the service. You’re able to plan your cabin design from the comfort of your current home, with the ability to communicate with your designer at any time.
Plus, as a remote service, eDesign often comes at a fraction of the cost of traditional interior design services–bonus!
Whether you’re renovating an old cabin or starting from scratch, eDesign can provide creative, personalized interior solutions that align with your vision and budget.
Ready for Your Very Own Cabin Escape?
Building your dream cabin, lakehouse, or cottage comes down to clarity in vision and smart planning. Whether you’re leaning towards a rustic, chalet, or coastal cabin, the goal is to create a space that feels uniquely yours.
The path to your dream cabin is clear. With creativity, the right tools, and a bit of guidance, you’re ready to make it a reality.