How To Decorate a Cape Cod Home

One can't talk about Cape Cod homes without evoking stirrings of pride. For one thing, the Cape Cod is one of America's oldest and most popular styles, the mainstay of the post World War II housing boom. But more than that, the Cape Cod style has developed a distinct personality, influenced by its New England roots and pedigreed past. New Englanders had a deep interest in religion and in education, the latter finding expression in a string of centers of high education: Harvard (1636), Yale (1701), Brown (1764), Dartmouth (1770), Amherst (1825), MIT (1861) to mention a few. For two centuries from the Pilgrim landing in 1620, New England was a peculiar and self-conscious region which, for a while, toyed with the idea of setting up its own independent nation. If today Cape Cod owners have a special fondness for their homes, it's not difficult to see why. Neither is it hard to see why Cape owners would like to see their homes decorated just so. Here are some Cape decorating tips:

Step 1

Remember: if it doesn't have a white trim, it isn't Cape Cod. The outside trim, porch, and even the shutters must be in white. The same goes with the inside trim, the mantel, and even the doors and cabinets.

Step 2

In working with colors, you might choose only two or three, then fill in with neutrals. Choose the color for the largest areas first. Try to achieve a seamless color segue from room to room. Yield to an urge to indulge in a bold splash of color.

Step 3

Wood flooring furthers the Cape Cod feel. Choose light-colored hardwoods, especially ones with a distressed look. Accent with rugs. If budget is a problem, you might settle for laminates.

Step 4

You might consider painting or white washing your furniture white. Then accent with color in your decorative pillows, throw pillows, and rugs. You might even consider periodically changing the color combination simply by having differently color-coordinated decorative pillows, throws, curtains, and rugs.

Step 5

Your kitchen is how you make it. Simply because the Cape looks best when you have built-in cupboards, wall mounted wine rack, and mantels that look like they're 150 years old doesn't mean that you can't have an icemaker or the last word in sound systems in addition to your fridge and plasma TV. The secret? Hide them. Note, however, that the blending of the old side-by-side with the new can create a pleasing counterpoint. Sometimes all it takes is ingenuity. The stereo components, wires, and speakers might be carefully recessed into the walls, and operated by remote. The wide-screen plasma TV might be camouflaged using wall art.

Step 6

For accents you might consider visiting antique shops or raiding your grandpa's chest for anything that looks old--a ships' compass or a belaying-pin, for instance. Dust them up a bit without making them look new. Try also crown moldings and wainscoting. Wicker furnishing also look good.

This article was written by A Davis, a contributing author for - a unique metal wall art store featuring iron decor.

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