Coastal interior design has a certain magnetism that’s hard to ignore, and two big names in this space are the Hamptons and Cape Cod house styles. When you think “Hamptons”, think of breezy luxury, while Cape Cod gives off a vibe that’s a little more classic-coastal and snug. 

hampton bedroom

Even though their looks differ a bit from one another, both result in welcoming spaces inspired by their iconic coastal backdrops, making either a timeless choice in the world of interior design.

Want to get back to basics first? Find out how traditional and transitional interior design styles compare.

Hamptons Design

Hamptons design comes from the upscale beach spots of Long Island and blends laid-back with lavish to create beautiful retreats.

Key features of the Hamptons style include:

Light Colour Palettes 

Hamptons homes love light and refreshing colours. Whites, light blues, and beiges rule here to make every room feel effortless and breathable.

Natural Materials

Expect to see a lot of wood, linen, and cotton. These natural materials help bring that oceanic outside in and washes a freshness over every aspect of the home.

modern white wooden kitchen interior

Sophisticated, Casual Furnishings

Hamptons furniture hits the sweet spot between looking bougie and being super comfy. Plush sofas in neutral fabrics, classic wingback chairs, wicker ottomans, and rustic wood tables all contribute to the sophisticated yet casual feel. The idea is to blend style with comfort for a classy look that isn’t intimidating.

Space & Light

Hamptons homes are designed to maximize space and light. High ceilings, big windows, and open floor plans are common and create an indoor-outdoor connection that’s important to this style. 

Classy Decor

Decor in the Hamptons style keeps things sophisticated but not too flashy. Large rugs, comfy pillows, and understated but expensive art are common. Lighting, as always, plays a big role in carrying through the Hamptons vibe in the evenings when natural sunlight is no longer brightening the space up – and glossy porcelain lamps and stylish chandeliers are often used to warm up the room.

sophisticated beach house living room with a stunning ocean view. The interior should have exposed white beams against a white ceiling

Cape Cod House Design

With a timeless charm that’s distinctly American, the Cape Cod house style is a quintessential New England design. In the 17th century, these homes were built to withstand the harsh weather of the area and have since grown to represent cozy, inviting aesthetics that are a reminder of seaside living.

Characteristics of the Cape Cod house style are:

cape cod kitchen

Steep Roofs & Symmetrical Design

These elements are not just practical for snowfall but also create a neat and tidy appeal that’s instantly recognizable.

Wood Shingles

Over time, these shingles turn a soft grey, giving Cape Cod houses that classic, beachy look that feels right at home by the sea.

Natural Colour Palettes

In a Cape Cod house, you’ll find muted, natural tones that reflect the beach and ocean. Think soft blues, seafoam greens, and beiges that make you feel calm and collected.

Classic Fixtures & Decor

cape cod living room

To complete the look, Cape Cod interiors often feature beadboard walls, sturdy hardwood floors, and fireplaces. Decorative elements might include tasteful nautical touches like striped textiles.

Hamptons & Cape Cod House Comparison

When you peel back the layers, both the Hamptons and Cape Cod house styles are influenced heavily by their coastal roots, yet they show it in their own special ways.


  • Both styles are totally in love with the coast. This means lots of light, airy spaces that make you feel like the beach is just a stone’s throw away. 
  • Both like nature too. Using natural materials and textures, both styles want you to feel like you’re living outdoors, even when you’re not. 
  • White and blue stripes – everywhere.


Interior of contemporary bathroom with shower, bathtub and sink in minimal style in flat
  • The Hamptons style goes for luxury but keeps it laid-back. Picture wide-open spaces that flow right into each other to keep light and air moving freely through the house. The Cape Cod house is like that cozy, knitted sweater you love. It’s more about creating a snug, intimate vibe that’s perfect for curling up during those cooler New England months. 
  • Hamptons design has a bright and breezy palette, with lots of whites and soft touches of blue to mirror the sky and sea. The Cape Cod house style embraces warmer, richer colours alongside those classic nautical accents that give it a distinct, seafaring spirit.

Cobalt blue sofa and other antique furniture on a wooden floor in a spacious living room interior of a classic mansion.

Both Hamptons and Cape Cod house styles have their own special way of bringing the coast to your doorstep. Each offers a unique slice of coastal living but caters to different moods and moments. 

Whether you’re about the grandeur of a Hamptons-style home or the comfort of a Cape Cod house, there’s a space that’s just right for your taste and lifestyle. Let’s make your coastal dream a reality.

Feeling inspired to bring a bit of the beach into your Calgary home? Or maybe you want to renovate your lake front cabin (cottage or chalet)? Please reach out to Unshelf Design!