Nearly every log-home floor plan
you see nowadays labels an open central space as “great room
.” Great rooms have become so much a signature feature of log-home layouts that many people take the space for granted without necessarily understanding how to handle it. There’s more planning
involved than just filling it with furniture
. Great rooms are, after all, your home’s most public room.
They combine the living
areas that most conventional homes wall off from each other. By flowing these three spaces together, well-designed great rooms signal the informality that makes log homes so appealing. Also, the free-flowing layout spreads natural light and views to all corners.
Great rooms aren’t exclusive to log homes and began showing up in log-home plans in the 1980s, inspired by the openness of the grand lodges of the West. Eliminating walls and halls does create vastness, however, and can unsettle homeowners accustomed to formal room divisions when they start designing their log-home great room. Where does the living space stop and the eating space start? How do you keep company close to the kitchen but outside it? Defining boundaries without walls can prove challenging.
Cues can designate niches. The well-designed great room typically has five major focal points: the window
wall, the fireplace
, the loft, the ceiling and the stairs and railings. Nooks and groupings within the space can supplement these main points and enliven your great-room design
. There are many variations and finer points to consider.
Furniture is separate from design. Suffice it to say that the scale of great rooms can dwarf furniture meant for smaller, walled rooms. Size your great room to accommodate larger pieces. Avoid clutter, though; save some openness.See more 6 Stylish Lights for the Log Home
What great room doesn’t have a fireplace? They’re traditionally towering affairs with large stone, natural or manufactured, and a decorative mantel. The firebox itself is almost an afterthought, though a roaring wood fire commands attention. Fewer than half the fireplaces use inserts or some other high-efficiency appliance; the rest go all out for looks, not heat. Wood is the leading fuel, gas a distant second. Stoves, wood or gas, add a different look and scale. Fireplaces are more about the stonework working with the logs.
Some fireplaces combine with the window view, but more often they stand as their own eye-pleaser and heart-warmer. The fireplace view is the best vantage to appreciate the floor. Great rooms use every kind of floor and mix materials to define space, often with rugs to soften harder wood or stone.