At Home Today in a Cape Cod House Style

Kevin Brown

The Cape Cod house originated in the 18th century as American settlers established homes along the New England coast. Its design features, such as steep gabled roofs and dormer windows, were influenced by English cottage architecture. The style of Cape Cod homes also reflects a nautical atmosphere, combined with simple and rustic décor. However, the contemporary interpretation of the Cape Cod house is far from primitive.

It exudes warmth, comfort, and serves as a perfect coastal retreat.

At Home Today in a Cape Cod House Style

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At Home Today in a Cape Cod House Style

Some elements of the Cape Cod house have a primitive feel, but it also has a refined and traditional style. Painted white or pastel-colored wood furniture creates a clean and welcoming atmosphere. Furniture styles from the early American period, such as ladder back dining chairs and farmhouse tables, add to the traditional charm of the Cape Cod house.

Light hardwood flooring is another characteristic of the Cape Cod house.

At Home Today in a Cape Cod House Style

In early American settling, flooring options were limited. That’s why the Cape Cod house style today generally involves light hardwood flooring. It is practical and beautiful, with a relaxed, earthy vibe.

At Home Today in a Cape Cod House Style

Beadboard or planking on the walls is common in a Cape Cod style house. This detail adds visual interest to the vertical spaces without requiring extra accessories or decor, which works well with the pared-down tendencies of Cape Cod decorating. This wall style also works well in modern versions of Cape Cod style, as a subtle and warm design element amidst minimal accessories.

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At Home Today in a Cape Cod House Style

It is unsurprising that the color palette of a Cape Cod house, situated by the ocean, is light and airy. Crisp, smooth whites resemble sunny day clouds, while soft, warm neutrals evoke sand and driftwood. Cool pastel tints of blue and green mimic the sky and water.

These colors together create a calming and rejuvenating visual retreat.

Relaxed Furnishings

At Home Today in a Cape Cod House Style

Nature-inspired furniture complements Cape Cod houses. This includes distressed or weathered furnishings for a rustic appeal. Overstuffed sofas, slip-covered armchairs, and wicker pieces also work well.

Overall, these choices create a casual, inviting atmosphere that enhances the coastal living experience.

For lighting, traditional lanterns are a great option.

At Home Today in a Cape Cod House Style

In colonial New England, lighting choices were limited to lanterns. Today, lantern-style lighting offers many more options. There are pendant-style lanterns, tabletop lanterns, wall sconce lanterns, and outdoor lantern lampposts.

With a variety of finishes, lantern lighting in a Cape Cod house is charming with its rustic, historical appeal.

At Home Today in a Cape Cod House Style

A Cape Cod house is not rustic. But the homes tend to have weathered decor that fits a windy coast. Rough-cut wooden benches, a driftwood bowl, or even sun-baked wood planking can be found in a typical Cape Cod house.

Woven baskets and other textured pieces in different shapes and sizes add depth of color and texture.

At Home Today in a Cape Cod House Style

Fabrics in a Cape Cod house often feature classic patterns and prints from early American settlement, such as stripes or tiny florals. They are typically made of natural materials like cotton, linen, wool, and burlap. Mixing vintage fabrics with new ones brings a fresh and inviting look to a Cape Cod space.

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Sheer Window Treatments

At Home Today in a Cape Cod House Style

Natural light, along with opening up space to coastal views, is crucial to Cape Cod design. When window treatments are needed, opt for simple and sheer curtains. Even in modern interpretations of the Cape Cod aesthetic, using simple and sheer curtains allows for ample natural light and unobstructed views.

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