Cape Cod Painting Techniques

Painting Techniques for a Cape Cod-Style Home

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By Jason The Painter

The Cape Cod-style home is a classic, traditional type of home that has never gone out of style. They are known for their simple shape, steep roofs, and dormer windows. Using the right exterior paint is crucial to look true to the Cape Cod design.

Key Takeaways

  • The Cape Cod-style home is a classic, traditional architectural style that has endured for centuries.
  • Color and exterior paint are crucial elements in capturing the essence of the Cape Cod aesthetic.
  • Clapboard siding, angled roofs, and window shutters are common features that can be highlighted through thoughtful paint choices.
  • Mastering Cape Cod Painting Techniques can help homeowners create an inviting, charming, and timeless coastal vibe.
  • Integrating folk art painting, coastal art, marine painting, and Americana art influences can enhance the Cape Cod-inspired look.

Capturing the Essence: Cape Cod Color Palettes

Getting the right colors is key in a Cape Cod-style house. Think of the coast’s sandy shades and the ocean blues. These colors blend to give a cozy, inviting look. Let’s dive into three main colors that show the Cape Cod vibe.

Light Tan: A Sandy, Versatile Base

Light tan is perfect for the outside of your home. It’s sandy and goes well with other colors. You could paint the walls light tan and add navy blue or pine green. This adds depth.

Large areas in tan might be dull without other colors. Mix it up with different shades around windows and roofs. Or, pick a tan with hints of blue or gray for something more interesting.

Dark Ocean Blue: Embracing the Coastal Vibes

Cape Cod’s waters are a rich, dark blue. Instead of tropical clear blues, think of a deep sea blue for your house. This color is bold but matches well with other shades. It brings the ocean’s feel to your walls.

Dark blues are a favorite among painting experts for homes. They lift up a plain exterior and reflect the coast’s true look.

White: A Breezy Contrast

White is light and fresh, perfect for a Cape Cod contrast. Use it with bright, beachy colors. White can be an accent or the main house color.

An off-white with green or blue undertones adds a touch of luxury. However you use it, white makes your home’s look timeless and adaptable.

Cape Cod Painting Techniques: Embracing Tradition

To create the classic Cape Cod look, the paint methods and colors you pick are key. Homeowners seeking to mirror this coastal charm should draw from the area’s historical architecture and design.

Exterior Trim: Keeping It Classic

Traditionally, Cape Cod home trim was white, following a Puritan style. Today, while light and white trims are common, some opt for trim the same as the house’s main color. This includes pairing burgundy clapboards with matching trim for a stunning effect.

Shingles: Weathered or Vibrant?

Original cedar shingles on Capes grayed with the weather. But, letting them weather without care can shorten their life. Now, products can keep shingles looking “weathered Nantucket Gray” longer. Or, homeowners can choose solid stains for a colorful and durable option.

Clapboard and Shingle Color Schemes

For homes with clapboards, traditional colors are ochre, brown, and shades of blue and green. Newer Capes might have siding in white, beige, or blue-grey. For a modern twist, bold choices like vibrant turquoise can rejuvenate the look.

Dormers: Practical Accents

Dormers add space and character to upper floors in Cape Cods. They are usually covered in cedar shingles or clapboard, blending with the home’s style.

Front Doors: A Welcoming Focal Point

The front door should stand out from the house, guiding visitors. Often, an accent color different from the main house and trim is used on doors, shutters, or dormers. This small change adds a personal touch to the Cape Cod style.

Window Trim and Sash: Light or Dark?

Generally, window trim and sash are painted white or a light color on Cape Cod homes. Recently, dark colors like green, burgundy, and black have become popular. Dark window sashes give homes a traditional yet modern appeal.


The Cape Cod-style home is a classic that people love. It has been around for centuries. By using the right Cape Cod painting techniques and color palettes, homeowners make their house look timeless. It becomes inviting, full of charm and character.

They can choose classic marine painting colors or add a modern touch. The goal is to carefully think about every part of the design. From the exterior trim to the window sash. This way, they achieve a true seaside scenes and nautical art style of Cape Cod.

Using the Americana art and primitive painting of Cape Cod lets people turn their homes into unique spaces. These spaces show the beauty and history of Cape Cod. By picking the right colors, techniques, and accents, they make a folk art painting style oasis. This celebrates Cape Cod in a distinctive way.

The power of Cape Cod painting techniques is special. It brings the spirit of this architectural style to life. It adds history, character, and coastal charm to any home. Whether you like traditional or modern, Cape Cod design is a great guide. It helps in making a welcoming, beautiful coastal place.


What is the ideal paint color for a Cape Cod-style home?

Light tan is perfect for a Cape Cod-style home. It’s warm and goes well with navy blue or pine green. This combo gives your home that classic Cape Cod charm.

What type of blue paint works best for a Cape Cod home?

For an ideal look, choose dark sea blue for your home’s walls. It pairs well with various colors. Besides, it’s a bold yet classic choice for a Cape Cod theme.

Should the trim on a Cape Cod home be painted white?

Traditionally, trimming on Cape Cod homes is painted white. But, some now match it with the house’s color. Both ways look great, keeping the Cape Cod feel alive.

How should the cedar shingles be treated on a Cape Cod home?

Cedar shingles can either weather naturally or be preserved with special products. This keeps them looking good. Yet, some prefer a solid stain to maintain a fresh appearance.

What are the traditional colors for the clapboard siding on a Cape Cod home?

Traditionally, clapboard siding is in ochre, brown, or green. But, modern homes opt for white or light colors. This includes blue-grey or even turquoise for a bold touch.

How should the exterior window trim and sash be painted?

Typically, window trims and sashes are white or light. A trend in Boston paints them darker. Colors like bottle green and burgundy offer a classic look with a twist.

What is the best way to add personality to a Cape Cod home’s exterior?

Add an accent color to your doors, shutters, or dormer trim. This breaks the monochrome look without losing the home’s traditional vibe.

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