A log cabin can be enjoyed throughout the year for relaxation or use as a garden office. Great lighting creates a comfortable environment that’s bright and gives the feeling of warmth.
Over the last few years, the rise in the popularity of garden buildings such as log cabins has been massive. Once seen as a niche product, log cabins and summerhouses are now a popular way to expand living space at a property.
There are plenty of uses for a log cabin and many are used as a garden office throughout the year. other examples include a home gym and even a pub shed. We need household essentials such as heating and lighting to ensure the building can be used in all months of the year.
Lighting for any log cabin is a must and needs to be considered in the planning stage of the construction. While solar lights are suitable for the exterior, inside we are going to need an electricity supply if we are going to be in there for an extended period.
Lots of choices are available depending on the interior atmosphere we are looking to create. If the log cabin is for relaxing, lighting that creates a feeling of warmth is the best solution. For use as a garden office, brighter lighting is more desirable.
Considerations when choosing lighting for log cabins
Lighting a log cabin involves lots of considerations. Everything from the colour temperature of the bulb to the power source for the lighting can affect the appearance.
Automatic or switch lighting
Lights for a log cabin can be activated in serval different ways depending on their use and power source.
Solar lights activate automatically at dusk once there is not enough sunlight to provide any additional charge to the internal batteries. The lights will then run continuously until the power is drained or there is enough sunlight to begin charging again. Dusk to dawn solar lights are great for the exterior of a log cabin or placed in the garden nearby.
During the summer months, dusk to dawn solar lights can stay on throughout the night. In the winter, the lighting period is drastically reduced and may only last for a few hours.
If the lighting is used for security, be sure to find one with a PIR motion sensor. Passive infrared sensors work by detecting heat in the environment and activating the light for a short period. This prevents false detections from trees blowing in the garden but triggers for animals and humans. PIR lighting is suitable for both battery-powered and electrical systems as the light only comes on in short bursts.
Switched lighting is the most suitable solution for inside a log cabin. The lights are manually controlled when inside and the switch is placed in a position for easy access. The interior lighting will also be supplied by electricity as solar alone would not provide a long enough run time during the winter months or at night.
For any bright or interior lighting, an electricity supply will be required inside the log cabin. This allows for use throughout all months of the year and long into the night.
Connecting the cabin to an electrical supply must be completed by a qualified electrician and falls under part P of the building regulations. A trench is usually dug in the garden to hide cabling and keep it protected between the house and the cabin. Inside the cabin, a consumer unit is usually installed that will supply all of the electricity required inside.
Solar lighting alone will not provide enough performance for use in the cabin, but makes a good choice on the exterior. Solar lights should be positioned in a location with plenty of sunlight for the longest run time. Most solar lights come as a sealed unit, so there is no need for additional wiring to a power supply.
The power supply can also affect the brightness delivered by the lights. Although many will look similar, the brightness levels can vary widely. The lighting brightness is measured in lumens, with higher lumens indicating a higher level of brightness.
Guide: Best paints for log cabins
Exterior lighting is just as important as the lighting inside a log cabin. If the building is far away from the house, there may not be much surrounding lighting around. Outdoor lighting can provide a bright path when walking to and from the log cabin. It could also be used to shine onto the exterior walls, making the building stand out in the garden.
The other purpose of outdoor lighting is for security. Intruders often target garden buildings due to being left unattended and in darkness during the night. Bright lighting around the exterior provides a deterrent.
Motion-activated lighting makes a great choice for the exterior of a log cabin. The lighting can automatically activate when motion is detected, making the surroundings clearly visible.
Solar exterior lighting is great to place nearby a log cabin to provide lighting to the surrounding area. As solar lights are sealed units, there’s no wiring to install and installation is quick & easy. Solar lights can also be attached to the exterior cabin wall to avoid running wiring from an electricity supply inside.
Grantham Wall lights (Amazon)
The Grantham solar light looks great attached to the exterior wall of a log cabin. Up and down solar lighting creates plenty of output to light up the building and surrounding space. An anthracite grey paint colour creates a contemporary style that makes a log cabin look modern and stylish.
This solar light has been designed for UK winters and features a power-saving mode for extended runtimes. With the mode activated, less brightness is produced by the bulbs, reducing the power consumed. The integrated bulbs last for 10 years to provide peace of mind once the lights are installed.
Electrical outdoor lighting is best when a long run time or brighter performance is required. For example, if you want the exterior of the cabin to be lit throughout the night, electrical lights make the best option. Installation usually involves drilling a hole from the cabin’s interior power supply.
HLFVLITE Black exterior wall lights (Amazon)
The added benefit of electrical exterior lights is much greater levels of brightness. This set of lights is ideal to be positioned on each side of the front door of a log cabin. The system is powered by GU10 bulbs, allowing for a wide choice of both brightness levels and lighting colour temperatures. The exterior casing provides IP44 waterproofing to keep the light functioning through all months of the year.
The minimalistic black rectangle design looks great attached to a contemporary log cabin. Die-casting on the aluminium body creates a hard coating that’s resistant to heat and low temperatures. Bulbs are not included so will need to be purchased separately.
A ceiling light will be the main light source inside a log cabin. The light used can have a big impact on the overall atmosphere inside. To create a comfortable atmosphere, choose a light with a warm colour temperature. For a garden office, a colder colour light often provides a better experience for work and video calls.
Space and height can often be limited inside a log cabin, so we recommend choosing a slim light for the ceiling. The wiring for the ceiling light is usually fitted inside cable trunking for a tidy installation.
ZHMA Industrial Style light (Amazon)
This industrial ceiling light can add a modern and retro feel to any log cabin. The design features a metal iron cage that keeps bulbs protected and makes a great decoration. For larger cabins, multiple lights can be used to increase brightness inside. A 12-month warranty is included and there are plenty of great reviews from previous customers.
Task lighting is the additional accessory lighting used to supplement the main light source. For example a floor or desk lamp. Light strips also make a smart choice and can be used as a feature inside the cabin. Be sure to consider how much space the lighting will take up and find a place to run wires where they can be kept out of sight.
Grey Basket Cage Lamp (Amazon)
Grey lamps can blend into any environment and create a contemporary feel. This modern basket cage lamp features a light grey design and looks great on a desk. The industrial style is on-trend and matches great with additional ceiling lights. The on & off switch is easily operated from the cable, ideal for when the lamp is out of reach.
Log cabin lighting tips
The biggest light source available for a log cabin throughout the day is the natural light provided by the sun. With electricity prices rising, sunlight is free and can provide enough light to turn electrical lighting off. Adjustments to the building can be made to take advantage of the sunlight.
Bright interior paint
Log cabins usually start with a dark interior due to the colour of the timber. As dark colours absorb light, the inside can feel dark without any electrical lighting. A quick way to improve the natural lighting inside is to paint the interior with a lighter colour.
White walls and ceilings will maximise the light inside, but other colours can still make a noticeable improvement. Light colours reflect instead of absorbing the light, maximising the use of the available light.
Increased window size
Choosing a log cabin with larger windows will let in more of the available light, reducing the need to add additional interior lighting. Depending on the design of the log cabin, it may feature small windows that don’t let in much light. When purchasing a log cabin, be sure to choose a design with lots of large windows. it may be possible to add an additional window later, but this can often be challenging and difficult to install.
Guide: Fixing gaps in log cabins
Overall, plenty of options are available when it comes to lighting for a log cabin. The exterior is just as important as interior lighting to light up the building when it’s dark outside. We find solar lights make a great choice for the exterior. Choosing a light with a PIR motion sensor will increase battery life as the light is only active when motion is detected.
An electricity supply is essential for lighting the interior of a log cabin. A qualified electrician can install the electricity and also any lighting required. Tips such as painting the interior a bright colour and large windows can maximise the amount of light inside a log cabin.
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