Front Doors for Cape Cod Style Homes

Cape Cod house

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A small, one or one and a half story home with a centered front door, small, symmetrical windows with shutters, and a steep roof is known as a Cape Cod home. Made to withstand long, intense New England winters, these homes prized function over form. Simplicity was the aim of the exterior as well as the front doors for Cape Cod style homes.

What are the Characteristics of a Cape Cod Style Home?

Close your eyes, and imagine a young child’s drawing of a house. What do you see? Chances are, it’s a square home with a flat, peaked roof. The door is in the center with a window on either side, and perhaps two more windows on a second floor, centered over the first two. It’s white or grey, with a red or black door. Congratulations, you have visualized a classic Cape Cod home.

A large old Cape Cod style home with grey siding, a blue door, and a white picket fence
There is so much history to be found in the old homes of New England; perhaps it is this connection to the past that makes so many want a Cape Cod style home.

Cape Cod Style Home Exteriors

The Cape Cod style began with the colonists who settled in New England in the seventeenth century. Homes were small, stout, and built for warmth and comfort. They were symmetrical, with a central door flanked by a multi-paned window on either side. Steep pitched roofs, central fireplaces, and window shutters were designed to keep the cold at bay.

As settlers added second stories, dormer windows were built into the roof directly above the first floor windows. Siding expanded from wood clapboards and weathered grey shingles to the occasional use of brick. Fireplaces migrated from a central location to either end of the home. And for what many of us today feel is a nostalgic touch, white picket fencing surrounding the gardens became popular.

Above all, simplicity is what makes these homes so distinct.


Cape Cod style townhomes in beige and yellow line a street with storm clouds gathering beyond
Modern Cape Cod style townhomes can be found all around the U.S., from New England to Southern California.

Traditional Cape Cod Style Front Doors

The front doors of traditional Cape Cod homes, in keeping with the overall style of the home, were very plain.

Two to six simply carved panels, perhaps topped by a single row of small square glass panes, were the extent of the ornamentation. Generally, homeowners painted their doors in basic white, black, and red.

Over time, up to eight panels became common, and transoms and sidelights eventually became more common.

Modern Cape Cod Style Front Doors

Today’s modern Cape Cod homeowner has a great deal of flexibility regarding their front door. Because of the simplistic design of the home, front doors can be styled in a variety of attractive ways. Doors can remain simple, as a nod to tradition, or switched out for more ornate styles such as colonial or cottage styles. Do avoid overly modern or heavy, ornate styles such as Mediterranean in order to not overpower the overall design. Hardware can be black, brass, or brushed silver, according to preference.

a black door and a yellow door, both good choices for front doors for Cape Cod style homes
On the left, a classic black door with clean lines and sidelights updates a traditional Cape Cod style home. On the right, those looking for a pop of color will never go wrong choosing bright yellow to accent their Cape Cod front door.

Colors of Cape Cod front doors have changed dramatically in modern times, as well. Although black, white, and red continue to be popular, greater variety in the shades of these colors are now common as well. Consider light blue, dusty grey-blue, raspberry, or deep burgundy as beautiful alternatives.

Bright colors are fantastic for Cape Cod homes, too! For the color lovers, pair white or grey siding with a door in neo-mint, sunshine yellow, or even a bright coral.

5 colors perfect for cape cod homes - deep blue, deep red, teal, yellow, and aqua
Any of these colors would look fabulous on the front door of a Cape Cod style home, from traditional blues and reds to ultra-cool aqua and bright yellow.

Key Takeaways of Front Doors for Cape Cod Style Homes

Cape Cod style homes traditionally are small, compact, and symmetrical. They typically have white or weathered wood siding, a central door, and windows on either side.

Original doors were very basic, with simple raised panels and possibly a row of small windows across the top.

Modern doors may be simple or more ornate, with glass insets, sidelights, and transoms.

Colors of Cape Cod doors currently range from traditional and classic to bright and trendy.

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cape cod style home

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