Ever since 17th-century English colonists introduced Cape Cod architecture to the United States, this classic home style has remained a favorite among homeowners — both for its ability to tolerate the intense New England winters and its unique, cozy and luxurious maritime charm. Explore the defining characteristics of Cape Cod houses and some of the best flooring types for this beautiful architectural style.
What Is a Cape Cod-Style Home?
One of the most recognizable and popular styles of American home architecture, Cape Cod design is prevalent in New England but can be found across the U.S. Known for its steeply pitched roof, central door and clean rectangular appearance, many homeowners admire its simple yet timeless appeal.
The typical Cape Cod-style house is a quaint, unembellished home with side gables and steep roofing to prevent piled-up snow. Low ceilings and a large central chimney provide internal heat during the winter months, while double-hung wooden shutter windows flank the central door.
Features of a Cape Cod-Style Home
Cape Cod-style houses can vary in size, but they all share a few common features.
1. Layout and Setup
While most traditional Cape Cod homes had one story, modern ones often feature two stories with dormer windows built into the roof, bringing additional natural light to the second story.
Cape Cod homes were originally designed with two main rooms — a primary bedroom and living room, resembling the English “hall and parlor” rooms they were based on. While the original design concept remains prevalent, Cape Cod architecture has evolved over the last few centuries.
The original blueprint is commonly doubled to allow for more space, adding wings to the sides or back of the home. Cape Cod-style homes have three main variations — three-quarters, half and full Capes. This variation depends on features like the chimney placement and window quantity, size and positioning. With open floor concepts growing more popular, modern Cape Cod interior design often involves opening the walls to create larger spaces.
2. Pastel Color Palettes
When you’re working with small rooms and low ceilings, it’s best to steer away from dark and heavy colors. That’s why Cape Cod homes tend to embrace pastel color palettes with sky blues, sage greens and butter yellows.
3. Coastal Decor
When it comes to interior decor, coastal themes are a popular trend in many modern Cape Cod homes. Aquatic blues, sandy neutrals and furnishings inspired by natural elements help capture the breezy look and feel of a Cape Cod beach house, creating a purely New England aesthetic.
4. Hardy Materials
Traditional Cape Cod homes were constructed with sturdy local materials that could withstand the harsh New England winters, including:
- Pine and oak wood post and beam framing.
- Pine and oak wood flooring.
- Brick fireplaces.
- Cedar or clapboard siding and roof left unpainted to weather with the elements.
5. Central Chimneys
Cape Cod houses are known for their stately central chimneys. However, as heating technology advanced, massive central chimneys in New England Capes began to reduce in size. Chimneys were then displaced to the side of homes built in warmer climates beyond this region, like the south.
Top Flooring Choices for Cape Cod Style HomesSchedule an appointment
Now that we’ve explored some common attributes of the Cape Cod house style, let’s go over some of the best flooring options for this type of home design.
Best Carpet for Cape Cod Style Homes
When choosing carpet, you’ll want something that complements your coastal-themed interior while providing sufficient underfoot comfort. A smooth Saxony carpet in a gray or blue shade is synonymous with a stormy sea. Aside from complementing the color scheme of your New England beach house, Saxony carpet provides a plush, luxurious feel for your modern coastal living room or bedroom.
Best Hardwood for Cape Cod Style Homes
When it comes to hardwood flooring for Cape Cod homes, lighter neutrals tend to trump dark colors to maintain a light and beachy feel. White oak or pine hardwood with wide planks and a low-gloss finish highlights the wood’s natural beauty, all while providing a bright, airy and open feel for your coastal space.
If you’re installing flooring in a high-moisture environment — or your home has high humidity from living close to the beach — we recommend engineered hardwood for added durability and water resistance.
Best Tile for Cape Cod Style Homes
Tile flooring is one of the staples of a Cape Cod-style home. Although traditional tile materials like porcelain and ceramic were popular choices years ago, technological advancements have made luxury vinyl tile (LVT) a highly functional solution for almost any space or room. LVT comes in a comprehensive color and pattern range, including design options replicating ceramic, stone and authentic woodgrains.
More importantly, LVT offers more benefits than conventional tile materials, including faster installation times and lower material costs, without sacrificing quality and performance. LVT is also softer to walk on and more slip-resistant than porcelain and ceramic tile, making it a safer option for your entire family.
Best Laminate for Cape Cod Style Homes
Laminate flooring is a multi-layer synthetic flooring created to resemble hardwood and other materials. It’s affordable, durable and simple to install and maintain. White oak or pine laminate wood flooring can offer dimension and create a relaxed look for your space.
Best Luxury Vinyl for Cape Cod Style Homes
Like laminate flooring, luxury vinyl flooring can mimic the appearance of materials like hardwood and stone. Available in plank and tile styles, luxury vinyl can imitate anything from oak, birch or pine hardwood to slate, marble, concrete or travertine tiles.
If there’s a certain natural look you wish to replicate in your Cape Cod-style home, an experienced flooring contractor can help you achieve it with quality luxury vinyl flooring.
Choose the Right Flooring for Your Cape Cod Home With 50Floor
When finding the best flooring for Cape Cod homes, turning to a highly trained flooring consultant with expert design insights is an important step. 50Floor would love to work with you to design the perfect Cape Cod-style flooring for your home.
Our personalized flooring offerings allow you to browse samples and shop flooring from inside your own home, seeing what fits with your space. Our in-home flooring consultants will assist you in selecting flooring to meet your budget, needs and lifestyle, all before proceeding with prompt and high-quality flooring installation services.
Whether hardwood, carpet, luxury vinyl or laminate, find your dream flooring for your Cape Cod home with 50Floor. Schedule an appointment for a free in-home consultation!