The Most Important Items for Any Kitchen

What room in your home could you absolutely not live without? With the exception of perhaps the bathroom, no room matters more to your family’s comfort at home than the kitchen. This room is often the heart of the home. And even if you don’t love cooking, your kitchen is still a room you’ll use a regular basis to grab coffee, a quick snack or a throw-together meal.

Whether you’re an expert chef or a have never stood over a stovetop, a well-stocked kitchen can make your life at home a little easier and more pleasant. We polled our team at Freshome to figure out which items we all agree are needed for a functional kitchen. Here are our kitchen must-haves.


A quality refrigerator is the cornerstone of a functioning kitchen. Image: Haven Design & Construction


There is no shortage of kitchen appliance options. But none of them are as critical as the fridge. It might not seem glamorous, but the refrigerator is a superstar in any cooking space. If you’re just moving into your first apartment, a smaller, standard fridge is a great place to start. If you’re ready to upgrade, however, shop around. Glass door refrigerators are beautiful and trendy. They’re ideal for people who want a sleek, modern look to their kitchen. Or, if you like a more traditional look, you can panel the fridge doors in material that matches your kitchen cabinets.

Alternately, smart fridges are ideal for the tech-savvy family – or those who just want to save time and money. They can do everything from help you remember to use items before they expire to serve as a message board for the house. Whichever type of fridge you choose, be willing to invest. This is a staple appliance and it’s worth getting a good one.


Another important investment, a good kitchen knife makes chopping easier and can even help you avoid injury. The good news is that quality knives will last for years and years, so you can feel confident about investing in them. If you’re looking for something to get you started, our team loves this three-piece knife set from Williams Sonoma.

kitchen coffee station

A coffee or tea station adds a fun touch to your morning routine. Image: Lisa Robazza Design

Coffee or tea station

Food isn’t the only reason to use your kitchen. Beverages can be equally important, especially if you’re looking for a quality way to start your day. Setting up a well-appointed coffee or tea station makes the ritual of enjoying a warm beverage easier and more pleasant. Stock your station with plenty of mugs you love and whatever equipment you need to whip up your beverage of choice. If you’re looking for a starter option, check out this extremely affordable coffee pot from Target. Or if you want to add a splash of color, try this vintage-style tea kettle from Williams Sonoma is aqua or red. Then, add other fun touches like stir sticks, a sugar jar and fun art.

Functional stovetop

Much like the refrigerator, a stovetop is a non-negotiable in a kitchen. Our team has a variety of preferences on the type of cooking surface; some of us prefer a gas range while others love a glass-top stove. The latter is easy to clean and adds a nice streamlined aesthetic to the kitchen while the former allows you greater control over your cooking temperature. Ultimately, either option will suffice as long as it provides you with a quality place to fry, sautee and stew.

Even if you don’t love to cook, a stovetop is still important. Our team loves meal prep services like Blue Apron because they take so much of the guesswork and headache out of prepping dinner. If you want to make cooking easier and more fun so you actually enjoy standing at your stovetop, we recommend trying one out.

kitchen breakfast nook

Kitchen seating gives the room more usefulness and creates a space your family can enjoy. Image: JKA Design

Eat-in area

Even if you’re lucky enough to have space for a formal dining room, that may not be the vibe you want for all of your meals. Creating an eat-in area in your kitchen, whether it’s a few stools pulled up to your kitchen island or a sunny breakfast nook, gives the room extra functionality and creates a space where all your family members – even those who don’t cook – can enjoy the room.

Grab and go food

While the kitchen is a place to occasionally invest hours creating masterful meals, many of us are so busy that it also needs to offer quick-service functionality. Keep your kitchen stocked with your family’s favorite grab-and-go options. You’ll find our pantries prepped with cereal and granola bars (we love KIND). A bowl of fresh fruit on the countertop makes it easy to get in our recommended daily servings. Or we’ll throw some English muffins in a Cuisinart toaster for a quick, versatile breakfast base. Whatever options work well for you, keep them handy so your kitchen can serve you even when you’re in a rush.

kitchen essentials

What items could you not live without in your kitchen? Image: Lake Country Builders

Other kitchen essentials

Obviously, we haven’t even gone into some of the other, more straightforward must-haves like silverware and dishware. Choosing your ideal sets all comes down to marrying your needs (i.e. durable dishware is key with young kids) with your tastes. Have fun with it!

What items do you think are most important for a well-stocked kitchen? What did we miss? Tell us about your kitchen essentials in the comments below.

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How To Sell Your Home During The Holidays (We Promise It Can Be Done)

Unfortunately, the real estate market has a tendency to slow down during the winter months. However, that doesn’t mean you should lose hope if you need to sell your home during the holidays. There are ways to make your home attractive enough to buyers that they’re willing to brave the cold. We’ve listed our best tips below. If you implement the right ones you could have a holiday buyer in no time.

sell during winter

Do your best to keep holiday decorations to a minimum. Image: Louise de Miranda – 30’s Magazine

Minimize holiday decorations

Yes, decorating is an essential part of the holidays. Your decorating style, however, is bound to cater to your personal tastes. When trying to sell your home, it’s important to keep personalization to a minimum. Ideally, your home will be as neutral as possible in order to appeal to a majority of buyers.

Buyers are easily distracted. Sometimes they have trouble looking past things like dated wallpaper or carpeting. Overly-personalized holiday decor will stick out like a sore thumb and buyers may have trouble putting it aside in order to see how great your home truly is.

Keep in mind, we’re not telling you to have no decorations. We’re simply suggesting that you keep things simple. Try to keep overtly-religious decorations to a minimum, as well as anything that feels a little over-the-top. For the period of time that you’re trying to sell your home, opt for a classic, minimalist approach to decorating.


Use textiles to keep your home feeling cozy. Image: Jennifer Pacca Interiors

Keep it cozy

If there’s one thing that everyone can relate to in winter, it’s wanting to escape those colder temperatures. One way to help sell your home to buyers is to make your home feel like a cozy and welcoming space.

There are a few different ways you can go about it. Here are some suggestions:

  • Keep it warm: Despite what it may do to your heating bills, there’s no better feeling than coming into a warm house after being out in the cold. If you know there’s going to be a showing on your home, turn the heat up to a reasonable level. You want buyers to be able to focus on how great your home is, rather than how chilly they feel.
  • Display plenty of textiles: Textiles like blankets and pillows are synonymous with warmth and coziness. Make sure to display plenty throughout your home. Doing so will help buyers subconsciously associate your home with cozy nights in.
  • Get scented: Everyone loves a home that smells great. Before showings, try infusing your home with warm, inviting scents like cinnamon or fresh-baked cookies. You can do this by burning a scented candle or by cooking up the real thing.

Be sure to price it to sell. Image: Introspecs LLC

Price it right

Like it or not, pricing is a huge factor in how interested potential buyers are in your home. While you’ll obviously want to get the highest possible sale price, the best way to entice buyers to brave the cold and come to see your property is to price it right. We’re not saying to give it away, but you should be open to negotiating.

As to how to go about pricing it fairly, the first thing to do is look at comparables, or comps. These are similar properties that have sold in your area recently. Your real estate agent can provide them for you. They give you an idea of a realistic price range to list your home and help you figure out your bottom line. You can do this by looking at how much you owe on the property and how much you’ll need if you’re buying a new home. Any offer at or above your bottom line is worth entertaining.

showing requests

Work hard to accommodate any showing requests. Image: Abby Hetherington Interiors

Be flexible with showings

For most of us, the holidays are one of the busiest times of the year. Every day, it seems like there’s a celebration to prepare for or an event to attend. Odds are, the buyers who are interested in seeing your house are going to be busy, too. Since they likely have a limited time to schedule showings, you should remain especially flexible in order to accommodate them.

While this may seem tough, considering that you’ll have holiday obligations of your own, it’s non-negotiable. Selling in the winter often means having a limited pool of buyers to choose from. Therefore, it’s especially crucial to work with the ones that are available. Accommodating showing times, even when they’re inconvenient to you, is part of that. After all, no one wants to submit an offer on a house without seeing it first.

With that in mind, there are a few things you can do to make showings easier. The first is to have a showing plan in place so that everyone in the family knows what their responsibilities are before walking out the door. Additionally, try to keep your home as neat and show-ready as possible. The less picking up you have to do, the easier it will be to accommodate those last-minute requests.

Do you have any other tips for selling a home during the holidays? Let us know in the comments.

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Hosting Thanksgiving: Top Picks from Our Freshome Team

We hope you like the products we recommend. Just so you are aware, Freshome may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. 

The holiday hullabaloo has begun. If you’re the one hosting Thanksgiving this year, you might be feeling a small tinge of stress about your upcoming entertaining. Of course, there’s the fairly daunting task of getting such a large-scale meal to table. But that’s not your only concern. You want every single friend and family member who walks through your door to feel simultaneously welcomed and wowed.

It sounds like a lot, but don’t sweat. We tapped our entire team of writers at Freshome to give you some ideas to make this year your most memorable Thanksgiving ever. Our team of home design experts has rounded up a manageable list of must-haves for hosting Thanksgiving. Grab these items and you’ll be well on your way to a beautiful, bountiful celebration with your loved ones.

hosting thanksgiving - candles

Set the scene for a memorable evening with candlelight. Image: HGTV


Creating the ideal Thanksgiving dinner comes down to a few things: good food, good company and good ambiance. You can create the last with a lot of effort – or you can use lighting to make your dining area feel magical. Candles are a fantastic way to create a warm setting that feels special and doesn’t require a lot of work to set up. Taper candles and tea lights are great options that leave plenty of room on your table for your centerpiece and serving dishes. Or, if you want to go for a bigger impact element, you can opt for something like this eye-catching Centerpiece Candle from West Elm.

However you choose to incorporate candles, don’t forget to light them as guests arrive. Here’s a tip from our Freshome team. Task someone who probably won’t help much in the kitchen with this chore. It’s a great way to get someone like a teen or football-loving adult involved in hosting Thanksgiving and prevents you from having to stress about a last-minute to-do.

hosting thanksgiving - platter

With a platter, you can present your food beautifully without any additional work in the kitchen. Image: Crate & Barrel

Serving platter

When it comes to Thanksgiving, the focus is on the food. With all eyes on the dishes you bring out of the kitchen, you want to present them in an attractive way. That could mean spending extra time on the presentation of the food itself, but with all the work you’re already going to be doing in the kitchen, that can be taxing. Instead, simply put the food on a large, beautiful platter. We love this Antique Brass Leaf Platter from Williams Sonoma as a way to take your table to the next level.

If you’re looking for a platter that will work in every season but can still add some fall warmth to your Thanksgiving table, our Freshome team loves wood. The Tondo Serverware collection from Crate & Barrel comes in a variety of sizes and shapes to help you beautifully present every dish.


Natural decor makes it easy to set an impressive table when hosting Thanksgiving. Image: Amanda Carol Interiors

Natural table decor

Ah, the Thanksgiving centerpiece. The crowning glory of your table at the upcoming holiday. But you already have to create enough storage in your home for other holiday decorations. We get that carving out even more storage for a bounty of Thanksgiving table decor – which you’ll realistically use one, maybe two, times each year – isn’t a priority. And it doesn’t have to be! Our writers have found a workaround.

To fill out our tables when hosting Thanksgiving, we turn to natural options. Gourds and pumpkins are classics that set a seasonal tone. Don’t be afraid to incorporate less common additions like lemons or halved figs, too. And if you’re looking for a high-impact centerpiece, turn to the classic: fresh flowers. A bouquet of blooms in seasonal hues livens up your table and delivers both a high-end and homey feel.

hosting thanksgiving - linens

A table runner – especially one with a textured edge – can establish your tablescape. Image: Cost Plus World Market

Table linens

If you want to add depth and visual interest to your Thanksgiving table without it looking cluttered, turn to table linens. At Freshome, we love table runners for the holiday. They’re a great way to add both structure and softness to your table without the stuffiness of a full-blown tablecloth. Plus, if you’ve got a beautiful table, this is the time to show off this piece of furniture!

And if you really want your table linens to pack a punch, mix textures. Smooth napkins with a rough-edged runner – like the Khadi Runner from World Market – give your table depth. The mixed textures call to your guests’ tactile senses, inviting them to sit at the table and feel all the different textures.

If you’re looking for some inspiration to help you pick the perfect table linens, we’ve got you covered. Here is a roundup of Thanksgiving table decorating ideas.

hosting thanksgiving - more

Don’t forget the plates and glasses! Image: Pottery Barn

More picks for hosting Thanksgiving

Of course, you can’t have a proper dinner party without dishes and glasses. We love mixing and matching your seasonal dinnerware with your normal sets to give your table some flair. Plus, combining your different sets makes it easier to find enough plates and bowls to serve your large gathering. If you don’t already have fall plates to pull out, these Harvest Pumpkin Salad Plates from Pottery Barn are a great addition to your cabinets.

And don’t forget to add drink receptacles. We love large wine glasses (check out these goblets from Williams Sonoma) and classic coupes (you can grab them at Target) so your guests can liberally enjoy the libations.

Do you really want to make Thanksgiving a breeze? One of our writers has a surefire tip for you. Get it catered!

Happy Thanksgiving from our family here at Freshome to yours. We hope you have a wonderful holiday season – and that we’ve made it a little bit easier on you.

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Everything You Need to Know About Using Textiles in Interior Design

Too often in interior design, textiles are seen as an afterthought. People view them as a finishing touch rather than a crucial component of the design as a whole. In reality, however, you can’t design a room without them.

That’s why we’ve dedicated this piece to textiles. Read on to learn how they contribute to a room and how to use them in the right way. We hope you gain a new appreciation for your home’s fabrics.


The term “textile” refers to anything in the room woven or made of fabric. Image: DHD Architecture and Interior Design

What are textiles?

In interior design, the term “textile” refers to any product that’s woven or made of fabric. It may sound simple, but these pieces are used in a variety of applications throughout any room. You can see them in design elements, such as:


Textiles help set the mood for the space. Image: Relativity Textiles

Why textiles matter

Textiles go a long way toward helping set the mood of a space. Imagine how different it would feel to stand in a bedroom that’s draped in silk and velvet than a living area that’s mainly made up of bamboo and cotton. When buying your textiles, you should consider the type of mood that you want to portray in each space and choose your fabrics accordingly.

Textiles also work to unify the room and help bring the space together. This is where your color palette comes into play. Once you have one in mind, you can take one or two of the colors – usually your secondary and accent shades – and use them in various textiles throughout the room.

Take the photo above as an example. Here, the faux-fur gives the room a glamorous and feminine feel. Since it’s white, it ties in with the walls, the bedding, and the furniture to help the room feel cohesive. Meanwhile, the patterned throw pillow in the center of the bed adds a pop of contrast to keep the space from feeling too boring and repetitive. Notice that the pattern on the pillow has a little dark gray in it. This ensures that the pillow still ties in with the rest of the room.


Follow these tips on using textiles in your interior design. Image: Laura U, Inc.

How to use textiles

Now that you know what textiles are and why they’re so important to your design, the next step is to learn how to use them correctly. Below is a list of tips to help get you started.

Use them as inspiration

Textiles may seem like accessories or the last design elements to purchase but they’re actually the opposite. They can serve as the inspiration for the space, providing a color palette upon which to build the room. When you’re not sure where to start with a room, turn to a rug, accent chair or even a throw pillow to give you a sense of direction.

Mix patterns, not colors

Once you have your color palette in place, stick to it. Using too many colors in a room can make it feel hectic and confusing. That said, it doesn’t mean your room has to be boring. You can still add plenty of visual interest to the space by mixing patterns. Make an effort to use multiple patterns  — and solids — that fall within the same palette.

Layer textures

Another way to add visual interest to the space is by using textiles that come in a variety of textures. Remember, in this case, texture refers to the way in which the fabric looks like it feels. Try mixing and matching different textures throughout the room or even layering them together in order to create a sense of contrast.

Let us know what textiles inspire you and how you incorporate them into your designs.

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4 Tips to Help You Create a Perfectly Cozy Breakfast Nook in Your Home

If you have enough space for it, we highly suggest incorporating a breakfast nook into your home. This space can serve as the perfect place for the family to gather, whether it’s over your morning cup of coffee or the kids’ homework after school. Keep reading to learn how to put together a breakfast nook that feels equally cozy and functional.

breakfast nook

Have your seating work with the angles of the room. Image: Moneyhill Interiors

Get creative with seating

Seating is the key feature of a breakfast nook. However, in this case, we’d encourage you to think beyond the standard table and chairs. Get a little creative with your seating. Breakfast nooks are supposed to be relaxed spaces and some shapely or otherwise out-of-the-box seating can go a long way toward driving home that feeling.

With that said, you have a few different options to consider. You could build your breakfast nook into a corner and offer rounded seating as shown in the picture above. Alternatively, you could create a full booth for a restaurant-style look or install bench seating underneath a kitchen window.


Make a statement with your lighting. Image: Twelve Chairs

Include statement lighting

Whenever you create a new functional area in your home, it’s important to include some visual clues to help denote it as separate from the rest of the space. Your breakfast nook is no exception. You’ll want to include a few design elements to help ground the nook as a space unto itself. The best way to do that is by hanging a statement lighting fixture over the table.

As for what we mean by “statement lighting,” in this case, we’re talking about anything that will catch the eye. It can either be through shape, like the one in the picture above, or size. A good rule of thumb is that, typically, your light fixture should run about 3/4 the width of your table.


Don’t forget the pillows and cushions. Image: Anne Becker Design

Keep it cozy

Picture it: You sit down at your breakfast nook every morning to enjoy a cup of coffee and ease into the day. That doesn’t sound like a space that should feel stark and cold, does it? Rather, just the opposite. We recommend that you make your breakfast nook as cozy as humanly possible. Create a space where people want to sit and lounge for a good, long while.

In terms of how to go about creating a cozy feeling in your space, it’s all about incorporating the right textiles. Here, you’ll want to opt for upholstered furniture over unupholstered seating, which tends to feel colder and less inviting. Then, pile on the accessories. A few well-placed throw pillows will go a long way here. If you live in a cooler climate, there’s no shame in including a throw blanket, as well.


Keep your breakfast nook a casual space. Image: Walker Architects

Stay casual and fun

Lastly, take the time to consider what aesthetic you’re going after in this space. Typically, breakfast nooks are more casual than formal. They’re spaces meant for a quick breakfast before work or school, an afternoon snack or an evening study session. Ideally, they should feel more fun than stuffy in order to encourage everyday use.

The two best ways to achieve this feel are through color and pattern. Take a note from the photo above and work these two design elements into your upholstery and accessories. Of course, you could also take things a step further and incorporate the wall into your design, as well. Consider adding a whimsical touch with a chalkboard wall or some patterned wallpaper.

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Small Bathroom Vanities that Take Back Your Space

We hope you like the products we recommend. Just so you are aware, Freshome may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. 

Just because your bathroom lacks space doesn’t mean it can’t be functional. You simply have to figure out clever, space-saving ways to lay it out. In most bathrooms, the sink cabinet is often too large and lacking in useful storage. Take back some of your tiny bathroom. Replace old, outdated cabinets with one of these modern small bathroom vanities.

Wall-mounted small bathroom vanities

One of the best ways to open up the flow of a tiny bathroom is by wall-mounting your bath vanity. Add baskets or boxes below the vanity for extra storage. Or, you can also leave the space open for a clean, minimalist feel. Wall-mounting a small bathroom vanity takes a little extra work – the vanity must be anchored to the wall studs – but the extra effort may be worth it for a clean, contemporary look.

Meredith 19″ Bathroom Vanity Set at Wayfair, $167, featuring an open cubby for towels or baskets.

small bathroom vanities

The Cubical 19″ Wall-Mounted Vanity is only 8.7” deep for the tightest of small bathroom spaces. At Wayfair, $330.

best small bathroom vanities -

The Kegley 18″ wide x 13″ deep Bathroom Vanity Set with Mirror at AllModern, $510 features sleek, chrome accents to add contrast to the clean white cabinet.

best small bathroom vanities

The Tenafly 19″ Wall-Mounted Bathroom Vanity Set at Wayfair, $198 is perfectly small-scale. You can also mount two (if you have the space) for his-and-hers vanities.

best small bathroom vanities

A rustic, white washed oak finish warms up the hard, minimalist lines of the Bolivia 24″ Small Bathroom Vanity Set at AllModern, $470.

Corner bathroom vanities for tiny bathrooms

Corners are often unused and forgotten spots. Why not designate a bathroom corner as the wash area?

Renovator’s Supply Corner Wall-Mount Bathroom Vanity Sink at Amazon, $290, features an ergonomic, rounded style.

Renovator’s Supply Corner Pedestal Sink at Amazon, $150, is a great small bathroom vanity for a traditional tiny bathroom.

Small bathroom vanities with storage

Adding storage to a tiny bathroom is one of the best ways to hide clutter. It also creates a visually larger, more expansive bathroom. These small bathroom vanities feature smart drawers and shelving that make use of every square inch in the cabinet.

best small bathroom vanities

The Simpli Home Burnaby 20″ Bath Vanity has a durable, textured granite top for a transitional look. Available at Amazon, $395.

best small bathroom vanities

You can use the bar-style drawer hardware of the Maite 24″ Bathroom Vanity Set at AllModern, $480, as towel bars for small hand towels.

The Eckard 24″ Vanity Set at AllModern, $310, features a popular industrial look, thanks to the black iron finish and rustic warm wood.

Go simple with the clean, crisp and white look of the Knighten 18″ Bathroom Vanity Set at Wayfair, $207.

Small pedestal sinks

If storage is not an issue, a small pedestal sink may be the perfect upgrade. These are great in a guest bathroom where a statement pedestal can make the room memorable. Check out these architecturally stunning small pedestal sinks.

small bathroom vanities

The conical Rockview 18″ Pedestal Sink at Wayfair, $1090, looks best against a boldly-painted or wallpapered wall.

small bathroom vanities

One of the most graceful and  uniquely-shaped small bathroom vanities in our roundup is the Vitreous China 11″ Pedestal Bathroom Sink at Wayfair, $268.

small bathroom vanities

When storage is not a requirement, Kohler’s Parigi 20″ Wide Pedestal Sink at Amazon, $614, has a striking design that can work with many different styles.

Mirrored small bathroom vanities

Nothing brightens and expands a small space better than mirrors. The following small bathroom vanities feature chic mirror designs. They add style and also create a bigger bathroom effect.

The 24″ Mirrored Bathroom Vanity at Pier One, $599, has a Hollywood glamour feel that can add a little bling to your tiny bathroom.

The classic black finish and graphic door design of the 21″ Bathroom Vanity Set at Pier One, $530, adds a signature touch to any small bathroom.

The Denker 24″ Single Bathroom Vanity Set with mirror at AllModern, $900, features a marble countertop and mirror on the cabinet doors.

Small glass bath vanities

Tiny bathrooms can feel closed in and restricting. A glass vanity can add a contemporary look. Plus it provides extra counter space without making the bath feel cramped.

Renovator’s Supply 16″ diameter and 5″ deep wall-mount console sink at Amazon, $175, features two modern bathroom trends: glass and the vessel-style sink.

QIERAO 23″ wide x 21″ deep Pedestal Bathroom Vanity Set features tempered glass and an integrated towel rack, at Amazon, $200.

Apron-front small vanities

The farmhouse style is one of the hottest home design styles today. Adding an apron-front sink vanity adds that updated country-chic look to your bathroom, even if it’s space-challenged.

best small bathroom vanities

Painted in a classic dove grey, the Legion Furniture 24″ Vanity at Walmart, $245 and up, looks crisp in white and grey.

The 16″ wide x 12″ deep small vanity at Amazon, $289, features a coastal slatted-door effect.

small bathroom vanities

Classic and bold in a rich blue-grey tone, the Betterton 24″ Vanity Set at AllModern, $310, adds charm and elegance in a small bath space.

When updating your bathroom vanity, don’t forget the other elements that will complete the look:

  • A stylish mirror
  • Wall sconces or a pendant light
  • A modern faucet

Check out more of the best small bathroom vanities around. You’ll find plenty of ideas on how to save space and beautify your tiny bathroom in no time.

Which style of small bathroom vanity is your favorite?

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What Classifies a House Style: What Makes a Cape Cod Home?

Cape Cod homes have been around for centuries, yet they continue to enchant us. This type of home, which is now synonymous with beachy style and weekends away, comes from very humble beginnings but still remains popular. That popularity led us to a question. What exactly is it that makes a Cape Cod-style home so unique?

We’ve laid out the answer below. Keep reading to learn more about the long history of this quaint architectural style, what it is that sets the different types of Cape Cod homes apart and some defining characteristics of the style as a whole. By the end of this post, you should be able to consider yourself a Cape Cod expert.

Cape Cod

Cape Cod homes have been around since the time of the Puritan settlers. Image: REEF Cape Cod’s Home Builder

History of the Cape Cod home

Believe it or not, this style of home dates back to the times of the earliest Puritan settlers. It came about because they brought the idea of an English cottage to America and then adapted it to accommodate New England’s harsh winter climate.

The symmetrical design, arranged around a large, open living space – or “hall” as it was once called – is English in its tradition. However, the steep roofs were meant to minimize the weight of snow settling on the roof. The characteristic low ceilings were meant to conserve heat and the cute shutters were put in place to block harsh winter winds.

The term “Cape Cod house” wasn’t given to these cottages until the 1800s. The Reverend Timothy Dwight IV, President of Yale University, named them after a visit to Cape Cod. His observations from his visit were published posthumously in “Travels in New England and New York” (1821-22)

That said, the modern Cape Cods you see today were popularized during a Colonial Revival period in the 1920s and 1930s. Boston architect Royal Barry Willis reintroduced the Cape as a contemporary housing option. He retained the same basic exterior elements but adapted the interior layout for modern living. His work saw another boom after World War II, when the Cape’s simplistic layout made it a good fit to house returning soldiers.


There are several variations on Cape Cod homes as we know them today. Image: Eagle Painting Inc

Variations on the Cape Cod home

Half Cape

Featuring a front door on one side of the home with two multi-paned glass windows on the other, this house was the starter home of its day. Settlers would often keep adding additions to it as their families grew until, eventually, it would transform into a three-quarter Cape. This type of home is sometimes also called a Single Cape.

Three-quarter Cape

This home features the front door to one side of the home with two multi-paned windows on one side and one multi-paned window on the other. It was the most popular style of Cape in the 18th and early-19th centuries.

Full Cape

Also known as a Double Cape, this style is common today but was rare among the settlers. It was reserved for the wealthiest among them. The full Cape has a central front door and two multi-paned windows placed symmetrically on either side. It also features a particularly steep roof and a massive chimney.


Simplicity defines Cape Cod homes. Image: REEF Cape Cod’s Home Builder

Defining features of a Cape Cod

Though Cape Cod homes come in a variety of styles, there are a few defining features that bring them all together. Here is a general overview of what you can expect from this type of home:


  • Symmetrical appearance with a centered front entry
  • Steep roofs with side gables and an overhang
  • Shingle siding
  • Gabled dormers
  • Double-hung windows with shutters
  • Centralized chimneys
  • Simple exterior ornamentation


  • 1 or 1.5 stories
  • Low ceilings
  • Symmetrical layout featuring a center hall
  • Large, open-concept living space
  • Bedrooms in dormers or under gables
  • Clean lines, little aesthetic detailing

Have you fallen in love with the Cape Cod-style home? Do you dream of owning one of your own someday? Tell us all about it in the comments below.

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