How to Decorate a Cape Cod Style Home

Cape Cod style homes have a timeless appeal that exudes a cozy and traditional atmosphere. With their origins dating back to the 17th century, these homes were founded in the New England region of Massachusetts.

Their design embraces simplicity and functionality, making them a popular architectural choice for homeowners who appreciate classic charm. In this article, we will explore the key features and elements that define a Cape Cod style home, as well as provide tips on how to successfully decorate one.

The charm of Cape Cod style homes lies in their historical significance and architectural details. Originally built by early settlers of Cape Cod, these homes reflect the practicality and elegance of a bygone era. They are characterized by symmetrical exteriors with steep gable roofs, clapboard or shingle siding, and prominent chimneys. The interiors often feature simple layouts with small rooms and low ceilings.

When it comes to decorating a Cape Cod style home, it is important to embrace its coastal roots. The color palette typically consists of various shades of white, pale blues, and soft pastel hues to create a beachy ambiance. Incorporating natural elements like seashells, driftwood, and nautical accents further enhances this coastal vibe. By taking inspiration from the surrounding oceanic landscape, you can transform your home into a tranquil retreat.

Analyzing the Color Palette

Cape Cod style homes are known for their coastal charm and traditional appeal. When it comes to decorating these homes, the color palette plays a crucial role in creating the desired coastal vibe. The typical color scheme for a Cape Cod style home includes various shades of white, pale blues, and pastel hues.

Shades of White

White is a dominant color in Cape Cod style homes as it enhances the bright and airy feel of the space. Opting for crisp white walls can instantly transform a room, making it feel larger and more open. To add depth and dimension, consider using different shades of white for trimmings and accents. This subtle contrast can create visual interest while maintaining the overall cohesive look.

Pale Blues and Pastel Hues

To evoke a feeling of being by the seaside, incorporate soft blues into your design scheme. Pale blue shades like aqua or sky blue can be used on walls or through accent pieces such as pillows or curtains. You can also introduce pastel hues such as blush pink or mint green to add pops of color that complement the coastal theme.

Natural Elements

To further enhance the coastal vibe, incorporate natural elements like seashells, driftwood, and nautical accents into your decor. Place seashells in glass jars or vases as decorative items or scatter them throughout your shelves. Hang mirrors framed with weathered driftwood above tables or mantels to bring an organic touch to your space. Nautical accents like ropes or anchors can be incorporated through wall art or displayed as standalone pieces.

By analyzing and carefully selecting colors that align with the coastal vibe you want to create in your Cape Cod style home, you can bring a refreshing sense of beachy charm to every room.

Classic Furniture Choices

When decorating a Cape Cod style home, selecting the right furniture pieces is crucial to capturing the essence of this architectural style. Classic and timeless designs are key to achieving the cozy and traditional appeal that defines a Cape Cod home. By choosing simple and practical furniture with light-colored upholstery, you can enhance the airy feel of the space.

One of the defining characteristics of Cape Cod style homes is their emphasis on simplicity and functionality. The furniture chosen for these homes should reflect this aesthetic. Opt for pieces that have clean lines and a classic design, avoiding excessive ornamentation or intricate details. Traditional choices like slipcovered sofas, ladder-back chairs, and spindled dining chairs are all excellent options for creating a classic look in your Cape Cod home.

In terms of color, keeping your furniture upholstery light and neutral will contribute to the overall airy ambiance of a Cape Cod style home. White or light-colored upholstery options work well with this architectural style as they reflect natural light and create a sense of spaciousness. Additionally, light-colored furniture allows you to easily incorporate various accent colors through accessories such as pillows or throws.

Furniture PieceDescription
Slipcovered SofaA versatile seating option that can be dressed up or down with different throw pillows to match changing seasons or moods.
Ladder-Back ChairsA staple in traditional New England homes, these chairs add rustic charm to any dining area.
Spindled Dining ChairsAn elegant choice for a Cape Cod style dining room, these chairs showcase the craftsmanship that is characteristic of this architectural style.

Nautical-themed Decorations

When decorating a Cape Cod style home, incorporating nautical-themed decorations is an essential element to achieve the coastal charm that defines this architectural style. Nautical decor adds a maritime touch to the interior, bringing in elements reminiscent of the seaside and creating a cohesive theme throughout the space.

Exploring various nautical decor options

There are numerous nautical decor options available to complement a Cape Cod style home. Anchor motifs, ship wheels, and nautical charts are popular choices that instantly add a touch of seafaring adventure. Including these elements in wall art or even as decorative accents can create focal points within the room and contribute to the overall aesthetic.

Another way to integrate nautical decor is by incorporating seashells, corals, and striped patterns into the design. Displaying seashells in glass jars or bowls not only adds visual interest but also allows for a natural connection with the coastal environment. Striped patterns on fabrics such as throw pillows or curtains can further enhance the maritime ambiance.

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Bringing it all together

To successfully incorporate nautical-themed decorations into a Cape Cod style home, it is important to strike a balance between subtle references and overt themes. Opting for a few well-chosen pieces rather than overwhelming the space with an excessive amount of maritime elements will create an inviting and harmonious atmosphere.

Consider using accessories made from natural materials like rope, jute, or wicker to add texture and depth while staying true to the coastal theme. These materials can be incorporated through lamps, baskets, or even furniture pieces like chairs or side tables. By carefully selecting each piece, homeowners can ensure that their Cape Cod style home exudes charm and sophistication while maintaining a seaside-inspired character.

Utilizing Natural Light

Natural light plays a crucial role in enhancing the beauty and charm of a Cape Cod style home. The architecture of these homes often features large windows and an open floor plan, allowing ample sunlight to flood into the interior spaces. In this section, we will explore the significance of natural light in a Cape Cod style home and provide tips on maximizing its presence.

One of the key benefits of natural light is that it creates an airy and inviting atmosphere. To make the most of this feature, consider opting for window treatments that allow for maximum sunlight penetration. Replace heavy curtains with sheer or light-colored drapes that can be easily drawn back during the day.

This not only brightens up the space but also gives it a breezy coastal feel. Additionally, consider utilizing blinds or shades that can be adjusted to control the amount of light coming in.

Strategic furniture placement can also help maximize natural light. Arrange furniture in a way that does not obstruct windows or create unnecessary shadows. Opt for low-profile furniture or pieces with open designs to allow for light to flow through more easily. Positioning mirrors across from windows is another effective technique to reflect and amplify natural light throughout the space.

It’s important to note that while natural light is desirable, some areas may still require artificial lighting during evening hours or on cloudy days. However, when choosing lighting fixtures, opt for those that mimic natural daylight as closely as possible. This will help maintain the overall ambiance and cohesiveness of your Cape Cod style home.

Flooring Options

When it comes to choosing flooring for a Cape Cod style home, there are certain options that perfectly align with the overall aesthetics of this architectural style. One of the most prominent and favored choices for Cape Cod homes is hardwood flooring. Hardwood floors not only add a timeless and classic touch to the interior but also bring warmth and character to the space.

In particular, wide-plank hardwood floors are commonly seen in Cape Cod style homes. The wider planks create a sense of openness and elegance, enhancing the airy feel that is characteristic of this architectural style. Additionally, distressed finishes are often preferred as they give the floors a weathered look, further adding to the charm and coziness of the home.

While hardwood floors are highly favored in Cape Cod style homes, it’s important to incorporate rugs as well. Rugs can help define different areas within a room while adding texture and warmth. Opt for natural fiber rugs like jute or sisal to enhance the coastal vibe or choose rugs with stripes or subtle patterns to complement the overall design theme.

To summarize, suitable flooring options for a Cape Cod style home include wide-plank hardwood floors with distressed finishes. These floors bring elegance and warmth to the space while staying true to the traditional aesthetics of this architectural style. Don’t forget to incorporate rugs for added texture and definition within rooms. By carefully selecting and placing these flooring elements, you can create an inviting and authentic Cape Cod style interior.

Coastal-inspired Accessories

When it comes to decorating a Cape Cod style home, incorporating coastal-themed accessories is an essential step in creating the desired ambiance. These accessories add the finishing touches that complete the overall look and evoke a sense of seaside charm. By carefully selecting and strategically placing coastal-inspired decorations, homeowners can enhance the cozy and traditional appeal of their Cape Cod style home.

One popular way to infuse coastal elements into the interior design is through seashell-filled jars. These glass containers filled with different types of seashells not only bring a touch of nature indoors but also serve as a reminder of beachside treasures. Placed on shelves, mantels, or coffee tables, these jars instantly become eye-catching centerpieces and conversation starters.

Framed beach photographs or coastal artwork are another excellent choice for adding coastal flair to a Cape Cod style home. Opt for images that capture the beauty of sand dunes, crashing waves, or lighthouses to reinforce the connection to the sea. These framed pieces can be displayed on walls, creating focal points in living rooms, hallways, or bedrooms.

In addition to seashells and framed artwork, incorporating elements like rope, jute, and wicker into accessories further enhances the coastal theme. Consider using rope as curtain tiebacks or incorporating jute rugs for added texture and warmth in spaces such as entryways or living areas. Wicker baskets can also be used for storage while contributing to the natural aesthetic of the home.

By carefully selecting accessories inspired by coastal elements like seashells, framed beach photographs, or items made from rope and jute, homeowners can successfully decorate their Cape Cod style homes with a charming seaside vibe. These small details make a big impact in bringing together the overall design concept while staying true to the traditional aesthetics of this architectural style. With thoughtful choices and creativity, every room in a Cape Cod style home can be transformed into a cozy coastal retreat.

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Landscaping and Exterior Design

When it comes to decorating a Cape Cod style home, it is crucial to integrate the interior design with the exterior landscape. The exterior of a Cape Cod style home plays a significant role in capturing its charm and authenticity. By carefully selecting suitable plants, flowers, and shrubs that complement the architectural style, you can create a cohesive and visually pleasing overall look.

One of the key elements in landscaping a Cape Cod style home is the use of traditional and timeless plants. Opt for classic choices such as hydrangeas, roses, boxwood hedges, or lavender. These plants not only enhance the curb appeal but also evoke a sense of nostalgia and elegance. Additionally, consider planting climbers like ivy or climbing roses on trellises or arbors to add dimension to the exterior.

In addition to plants, another iconic feature of a Cape Cod style home is a white picket fence. It not only adds visual interest but also serves as a symbol of traditional American design. Embrace this classic element by installing a white picket fence around your property. This will further enhance the charm and authenticity of your Cape Cod style home.

To complete the exterior design, pay attention to other architectural details such as clapboard siding, shutter options, roof materials, and windows. These features contribute significantly to the overall aesthetics of your home’s exterior. Stick with traditional materials and color choices that align with the key characteristics of Cape Cod style architecture.

In summary, when landscaping and designing the exterior of your Cape Cod style home, focus on selecting plants that complement the architectural style while maintaining a traditional aesthetic. Incorporating classic choices like hydrangeas or roses along with other timeless elements such as a white picket fence will help create an authentic and charming look for your home’s exterior.

Recommended PlantsDesign Tips
HydrangeasSelect classic design elements like a white picket fence
RosesChoose traditional materials for siding, shutters, and roofs
Boxwood HedgesOpt for climbers like ivy or climbing roses on trellises or arbors
LavenderCreate visual interest with architectural details like windows and shutters


In conclusion, decorating a Cape Cod style home involves embracing the charm and characteristics that make this architectural style so appealing. From the color palette to furniture choices, nautical-themed decorations, and natural light utilization, each element plays a crucial role in creating the desired aesthetic.

One of the key points to keep in mind is simplicity. Cape Cod style homes are known for their understated elegance and timeless design. By selecting furniture pieces that align with the overall aesthetics, such as timeless and practical designs with light-colored upholstery, you can enhance the airy feel of the space.

Additionally, incorporating coastal-inspired accessories and elements like seashells, rope, jute, and wicker can add an authentic touch to your decor. These small details can go a long way in completing the look and capturing the coastal charm that defines a Cape Cod style home.

Lastly, while it is important to stay true to the traditional aesthetics of Cape Cod architecture, don’t be afraid to add your personal touch and customize your space. Whether it’s through framed beach photographs or your selection of landscaping elements, infusing your own style into your Cape Cod home will make it truly unique.

By adhering to these key points – simplicity, customization while staying true to tradition – you can successfully decorate a Cape Cod style home that exudes coziness, coastal charm, and timeless appeal. Whether you’re starting from scratch or looking for inspiration to revamp your current space, these guidelines will help you achieve a beautiful and inviting Cape Cod style home.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best decor for a Cape Cod house?

When it comes to decor for a Cape Cod house, it is best to aim for a relaxed and inviting atmosphere that reflects the coastal location and traditional New England charm. The overall aesthetic should be light, airy, and comfortable. Opt for natural materials like wood, wicker, and rattan furniture that exude a sense of warmth and timelessness.

Soft color palettes with shades of white, cream, beige, and light blues help create a serene ambiance reminiscent of the ocean. Nautical elements such as striped patterns, sea-inspired artwork or accessories like shells and driftwood can add a perfect touch of seaside charm. Additionally, incorporating natural textures such as sisal rugs or linen curtains can further enhance the cozy coastal feel.

How do you style a Cape Cod house?

Styling a Cape Cod house involves embracing its classic architectural elements while infusing personal style and modern touches. Start by paying attention to the exterior: maintain clean lines by opting for symmetrical windows or shutters. Inside, maximize natural sunlight through large windows to accentuate an airy atmosphere in rooms.

Keep the furniture layout open yet intimate to create cozy gathering spaces where conversations can flow easily. Incorporate traditional design elements like beadboard paneling on walls or ceilings which adds texture and dimension while maintaining a sense of tradition within the space. Mixing antiques with contemporary pieces can also lend a stylish twist to this classic look.

What are Cape Cod colors?

Cape Cod colors are typically inspired by the serene coastal surroundings found in this region of Massachusetts in the United States. These colors often include soothing shades of whites, creams, soft grays, pale blues, sandy beiges, and even hints of seafoam green or pale yellow that mirror the tones found in nature. The idea is to use these colors as a backdrop that effortlessly blends with both indoor and outdoor environments while creating an atmosphere that feels light and refreshing.

These subtle hues not only mimic the calmness of the ocean waves but also allow natural sunlight to bounce off surfaces, effectively brightening up the space. By choosing this color palette, a Cape Cod aesthetic is maintained that reflects the coastal beauty and tranquility of the region.

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