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Why is log furniture and rustic decor so popular?

By Tom Heatherington

Log furniture and rustic decor in general is experiencing unprecedented popularity with the furniture buying public. Why?

Can anyone explain what makes a simple log table more appealing to many of us than a finely carved mahogany table? Is it merely a matter of style or preference? To be certain, some log or rustic furniture pieces do not blend well with every decorating theme, as few of us would place a skip-peeled log chair with a Chippendale kneehole desk, but in many settings log furniture has no equal. In fact, log furniture’s popularity has never been as significant as it is today. The 90’s and the new century have seen monumental growth in the log furniture industry.

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In the traditional sense, most furniture is made from wood (which is nothing more than logs that have been “tamed”). However, log furniture is the antithesis of most conventional furniture. Traditional furniture makers favor pristine wood planks without knots or blemishes, while log furniture builders emphasize knots, grain irregularities, diseased patches and even tree bark. Where one approach strives for perfection and symmetry, the other encourages free-style and individuality.

Oftentimes conventional furniture will feature graceful lines and delicate legs, while log designs boast thick, powerful verticals and massive cross members. Log furniture makers often rely on hand tools more than machines. The drawknife and spokeshave are essential tools used to peel logs and make tenon joints. Handsaws, chainsaws, chisels, hatchets and other crude hand tools are found in every log furniture crafter’s workshop.

Log furniture is practical and it stirs our appreciation of human genius and resourcefulness. Unlike conventional mass-produced furniture, log furniture is particularly distinctive in that no two pieces look the same. The uniqueness of the logs and slabs ensure that every piece presents a singular appearance. Log furniture is a form of natural, hand-made freeform art, and many decorators are now embracing this exclusivity.

In my opinion it is the bold and exceptional personality of log furniture that speaks to us so intimately. Log furniture has a soul that whispers to us about our past when people produced furniture from the raw materials they found in nature. Early pioneers built log furniture out of necessity, and it retains a romantic charm that inspires thoughts as daring as that Westward expansion. Compared to other furniture styles, log furniture is daring and gutsy – but warm and inviting. It can be massive, yet graceful and log furniture and rustic decor offers us a way to introduce nature into our homes.

The numerous answers to the question of “why log furniture is so popular today” are as varied as the craftsman who produce these works of art. Simplicity, elegance, boldness, history, natural beauty… there is a recognizable difference between style and character. And that’s a few of the reasons why log furniture is now so fashionable.

About The Author

Tom Heatherington is the founder and editor of the Log Furniture Directory and the Log Cabin Directory, “human edited” directories of log homes and rustic furniture and related information for the United States and Canada.

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