Cape Cod Decorating Ideas For The Kitchen

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Let the smells of boiling lobster, crisp corn on the cob and fresh caught clams fill your home in this Cape Cod styled kitchen. Modeled after spacious, functional kitchens of New England beach homes, this theme combines nautical trends with warm and inviting woods, soft paint colors and the subtle elegance of east coast style. Use the colors and themes of the ocean to guide your design in this traditional kitchen style.

Cape Cod Cupboards

Cape Cod kitchens are well stocked, and well styled. Let your cupboards make a statement by designing and painting them in this theme.

  • Cupboards are almost always painted white in the Cape Cod style, creating a clean, soft look throughout the entire kitchen.
  • Add glass inserts to some or all of the cupboards, mimicking the look of French doors. The view inside the cupboards can be used to show off beautiful plates, glasses, spices or even decorations, and adds a classic Cape Cod feel to the room.
  • Choose handles and knobs for your cupboards in smooth, subtle designs. Cape Cod style is neat, not ornate, and even the smallest details should reflect that. Brushed steel is a good option for any metal accents in this kitchen.

Cape Cod Decorating Ideas For The Kitchen white cupboards steel lanterns white marble

Cape Cod Counters

Counter tops should be spacious and light, providing ample room for preparing family meals. Light shades and subdued patterns keep this look simple and sophisticated.

  • Cape Cod kitchen counter tops are usually made of marble or granite, and come in a variety of patterns.
  • Typically, counters are white, or a light shade of grey or blue. Think light, ocean themed shades.
  • Thicker slabs of marble, granite, etc. give the counter a more prominent, special feel and add to the quality of the kitchen. Details like this add to the elegance of the Cape Cod style, without appearing overdone or extravagant.

Cape Cod Lighting

Remember the roots of Cape Cod style and think nautical for lighting fixtures. In this theme, bigger is not better.

  • Use brushed steel, a common metal for boats, on light fixtures to create a nautical feel, while still retaining a sense of sophistication. Many lighting companies offer specifically themed styles of fixtures designed to resemble those found on ships and lighthouses.
  • Avoid a single, overbearing light fixture, and opt for several smaller lights running along the ceiling above the kitchen counter or island, mirroring the look of small lights along the edge of a boat or dock.
  • Use braided ropes or metal chains as accents on light fixtures to add even more nautical style.


From the oven to the sink, keep appliances and fixtures the same material and finish to create a clean, unified look.

  • Again, stick to brushed steel for faucets and appliances in the Cape Cod kitchen.
  • Nearly all appliances are available in stainless steel, including refrigerators, ovens, microwaves and range hoods.
  • Traditional, transitional and contemporary faucet styles are the best choices for a Cape Cod kitchen.
  • Choose a sink in either stainless steel, or a white ceramic. Counter tops should be light shades of grey, blue or white, allowing a ceramic sink to blend in well against the counter.

cape cod decorating kitchen

Cape Cod Décor

Placing a few key decorations around your kitchen is the best way to finalize the Cape Cod theme. Play up the beach and boat style with paint, photos, art and small decorative items.

  • Paint the walls of your Cape Cod kitchen a shade of light blue or yellow, or leave them white. The color scheme should always remain within blue, white and neutral shades (usually provided by wood furniture and accents).
  • Place a few starfish, small replica boats or other various ocean themed decorations along the counter top to complete the nautical theme.
  • Hang paintings or photos of ships, the ocean or lighthouses along exposed walls in the kitchen.
  • Use white or tan braided rope to decorate lamps, ceiling light fixtures and frames as an added maritime accessory.
  • Select pieces with bright pops of rich, royal blue to set against the white walls, counters or cupboards.
  • Aside from these key accessories, keep the kitchen relatively free from clutter. Cape Cod style should be comfortable but chic.

cape cod decorating kitchen

Designing a Cape Cod kitchen requires a strict color scheme, but a laid back attitude. Use the colors of the ocean and the materials of the nautical life as your guide, and create the perfect New England beach theme. Brushed steel, soft colors and ample cupboard and counter space start off this room design, while small details like starfish, rope and ocean themed accessories add the final nautical touch.

For more Cape Cod design ideas, see:

Last Updated: March 14, 2013
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About Alexandra Kerr Through Ideal Home Garden, Alexandra covers topics ranging from interior design to home improvement, gardening and cuisine. Having a passion for cooking and entertaining in her own life, she hopes to communicate her love of home design and decorating with her readers. 

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