Design & DIY

How to incorporate real wood into a room’s design

After spending the entire summer in cottage country, I’ve come to realize cottage owners everywhere love to incorporate natural wood into their space. And why not? It gives off a classic rustic feel and can really add to a room’s warm and inviting vibe. But it’s all too easy to cross the line from rural charm and head right into 70s wood panel overkill. When working wood into your design, it’s important to pick a couple of impressive focal points and really let them stand out in the space.


A solid wood floor is a great way to create an inviting and warm atmosphere in your cottage. Try a low-grade, bare wood. This is not only a cheaper option, but wide planks will also give you that real cabin feel. If the bare look isn’t your thing, a coat of paint can do wonders, whether using a vibrant colour to open up your kitchen or a dark and grounding colour for your bedroom oasis. Best of all, this type of flooring is easy to maintain, meaning a quick sweep is all you need before getting back to that oh-so-important R&R.

Accent wall and art

If you really want to make a room “pop,” a wood accent wall might be just the thing for you. Tongue and groove paneling can add richness and texture that you just don’t find with normal drywall and salvaged wood can give the room a really cool rustic effect.  If an entire wall seems a little too drastic, try using wood as a canvas for family artwork. This personal touch can quickly add some fun and colour to any space and is a great activity for the whole family to enjoy.

Casing and trim

When framing your doors and windows, pick a nice beefy wood to really make a statement. The room’s architectural details will really stand out and by tying the wood casings to your floors, you’ll create a beautiful finished look that is sure to impress!


If there’s one iconic image I have of cottage life, it’s a wooden rocking chair sitting on a porch. That’s because wooden furniture just screams country charm and is one of the quickest and easiest ways to bring natural wood accents into your cottage. You don’t have to break the bank finding unique pieces either. Take advantage of local flea markets and antique shops to find the right pieces for you, and don’t be afraid to mix and match. You’ll wind up with a one-of-a-kind mixture of furniture that’s both functional and funky.

Kitchen Countertop

A butcher-block countertop is an easy, natural, and durable choice for your kitchen. And while you might be thinking that this is a difficult material to keep safe and clean, I’m here to tell you that this is not the case. Once your countertop has been sealed with mineral oil, the surface can be cleaned daily with just warm water and mild soap. It’s that easy and you’ll have an amazing countertop that is sure to last for years to come!

In each episode of Weekend Reno, now on Cottage Life, the Channel, designer Michelle Mawby has one weekend to turn a tired cottage space into a refreshed haven. She and her team send the owners packing while they pull out all the stops to overhaul the space. The owners return as the transformation is revealed—a space the owners can truly enjoy during their cottage stays.

Learn more: Weekend Reno