Home Style Trends: Cape Cod

The Cape Cod home style remains highly popular because it offers a combination of simplicity, modesty, space efficiency and charm.

Its roots lie in the thatched-roofed cottages of England, adapted by the early settlers of New England in the 1600s to fend off the chilly, stormy weather.
This style was revived in the 1920s and 1930s, then reintroduced post-World War II, attracting families seeking affordable simplicity. You’ll find many takes on the Cape Cod around the country, including wider, taller variations featuring an additional story and more ornate entrances framed by columns or decorative pilasters.

Cape Cod distinguishing design traits.

Many things connect one Cape Cod to another. Here are the most prevalent characteristics:

  • Typical height of one to one-and-a-half stories
  • Steeply pitched roof with end gables to shed rain and snow
  • Symmetrical design that hearkens to Colonial homes: central front door with multi-paned windows on either side
  • Large, central chimney adds to the symmetry while combining with low ceilings to conserve energy in cold winters and hot summers
  • Typically sided with traditional clapboard and quintessential weathered gray shingles that get their color from the spray of the coastal salt water

How to bring out the best in a Cape Cod.


These tasteful additions add charisma and practicality to this already charming home style:

  • Build on roof dormers to increase space, light, ventilation and curb appeal.
  • Use simple trim that stays true to the Cape Cod’s practical nature and pulls together and highlights windows and entrances.
  • Add window boxes with richly colored perennials like petunias and verbenas to create natural bursts of color.
  • Cape Cods frequently feature shutters that match the front door or are painted white or black.
  • More than one shutter profile works well with this home style. Consider board & batten, louvered panel and raised panel.

Nice House


When it comes to differentiating a Cape Cod, color is one of the most important design components. Here are some tips:

  • Pair neutral colors with bold gray accents
  • Highlight the front door, a Cape Cod’s focal point, with a “statement” color like burnt orange or ocean blue.
  • Add color through landscaping and other exterior elements like vivid planter pots and round green bushes that line the front of your home. Vibrant green bushes with pops of pinks and blues are common.
  • Take it a step further -if you want to keep with the traditional, original look of Cape Cods, use medium gray colored shingles with white trim and navy shutters. If you want to go a bit bolder, try dark red shingles or clapboard, with gray accents on the trim and door.
Americana House

House exterior


Walkways and front doors are the soft-spoken but compelling “hellos” of the Cape Cod exterior. Here’s how to use them to the ultimate advantage:

  • Cape Cods that have front porches open opportunities to visually enhance your exterior. Bring in a vintage look with a collection of pottery or adding colorful, antique patio furniture.
  • Keep lighting evenly spaced and balanced as well.

The Cape Cod style gives you a blank slate with its simplicity and plenty of opportunities to add your personal stamp. Design your own using HomePlay by Royal® a virtual design tool. Choose from a number of pre-selected home options or upload your own.