Double dormers are a notable characteristic of many later Cape Cod-style homes.

How to Decorate a Cape Cod-Style Home

by Anya Deason

Featuring symmetry and simple cottage charm, few styles provide a more comfortable backdrop for a growing family than a Cape Cod-style home. Inspired by 17th-century English cottages and their New England counterparts, Cape Cod-style homes exude quaint homeyness. From painted paneled walls to simple fabrics, the appeal of a Cape Cod home derives partly from structured lines, which juxtapose with simple, curvilinear architectural grooves and simple curves on Colonial and painted cottage furniture. While providing your family with a non-fussy decor style, Cape cod-style also provides vivid decorating options, including a fresh color palette.


Call attention to one of your home's most prominent features: its front-door. Whether your Cape Cod-style home features sidelights or a lighted transom, consider painting the door's interior in Cape Cod Blue, a greenish-blue gray. A matching blue-gray fireplace makes a connection with a blue-gray front door that opens into a living room, and an oil painting depicting a lighthouse in a simple, greenish silver frame blends with pale, mint-green walls and curtains. Crown moulding and wainscoting in medium, cool green-gray offsets the blue-gray door, while a cottage-style coffee table in greenish blue-gray coordinates.

Cozy Cottage

Consider Colonial-style furniture for your Cape Cod-style den; it aligns with the Cape Cod Colonial Revival style, while also alluding to the popularity of Colonial furniture styles and Cape Cod homes in the 1930s. White paneled wainscoting softly contrasts with upper walls in pale yellow-ochre; skirted, yellow ochre chairs; and yellow tones in light wood flooring. Doubling as a tent for your kids to play under, a distressed, cottage-style coffee table with a green-blue base and light wood top provides a touch of cottage charm, as does a blue-gray Windsor chair and a Colonial drop-leaf console table.

Sage Advice

White paneled walls blend with simple, embroidered white curtains, providing a fresh backdrop in a Cape Cod-style kitchen, while contrasting with the sage-green base and walnut top of a cottage farmhouse table. Topped in walnut, a sage-green kitchen island base coordinates, and simple walnut frames contrast crisply with white paneled walls, as do bronze, lantern-style pendant lights. White, glass-front cabinets provide a way to showcase simple dish-ware in a variety of cool greens and blues, and a Colonial corner cupboard displays a distressed, sage milk-paint finish.

Coastal Charm

Showcase the double attic dormers of a later Cape Cod-style home with a sloping bedroom accent wall in a pale coral and and mint-green striped wallpaper, which coordinates with adjoining walls in pale mint-green and coral upholstery on built-in window seats. A white-washed bead-board bed makes a connection with white-washed wood flooring, a grouping of white, shabby chic-style frames and white, wall-mounted sand dollars. Mint-green curtains coordinate, as does a round rug with concentric circles in mint-green and coral, which echoes the striped wallpaper, while occasionally serving as a coastal island for your daughter's doll collection.

About the Author

Based in Franklin, Tenn., Anya Deason has more than 15 years of decor-related experience, assisting leading interior designers and owning a custom frame shop. While working at Lyzon Gallery in 1999, she wrote descriptions of artwork for Sotheby's online auctions. Deason holds a Bachelor of Science from Tennessee Technological University.

Photo Credits

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