A guide to Shaker kitchens

Simplicity, sophistication and practicality

A look at Shaker kitchens

In our guide to Shaker kitchens, we’ll first take a brief look at the Shaker’s history and how the design, as a concept, came to be.

The roots of the Shaker style extend as far back as the 18th Century and originated from the Shakers. As a religious movement, they were named for their fervent dancing and shaking during worship. When they came to settle in America, they quickly developed an enthusiasm for carefully crafted furniture and home design. Here, they placed honesty and preservation central to their simple and humble sense of style. As such, longevity, authenticity and high functionality were at the heart of designing beautiful homes for these early settlers.

Over the years, this pared-back approach has seen the Shaker style evolve into a timeless design that remains relevant to modern kitchen design today.

Villiers Kitchen Beaded Classic Shaker

Shaker kitchens adhere to three main aesthetics; simplicity, sophistication and practicality. A standard Shaker furniture design consists of a five piece door or drawer. Using four flat panels to create the frame of the door and one recessed panel, this uncomplicated design encompasses strength, proportion and symmetry to suit both modern and character properties.

The simple squared edges of this design make the Shaker style easy to clean and maintain. Furthermore, this unobtrusive design lends itself to a great deal of versatility. Meaning that modern appliances and architectural features will always work seamlessly with the straightforward lines of the Shaker unit.

The use of high quality natural materials, wood in particular, are an important feature of the design and build process. So too are the principles and values of traditional craftsmanship. Features such as exposed butt hinges, dovetailed joints and mortise-and-tenon joints. Showcasing these techniques are integral to support strong Shaker furniture built to last.

Villiers Kitchen Storage
Arlington Kitchen Artisan Door Knobs | Classic Shaker

So how can the Shaker design integrate into our modern kitchens and adapt to suit individual styles?

Painted finish– Colour can play a large part in personalising your space. A hand painted finish will add authenticity and depth of colour. Using contrasting tones allows you to highlight key features of the kitchen and draws the eye to focal points. Painting the cabinets also has the added benefit of allowing you to refresh the colour as trends evolve or your taste changes.

Door furniture– Shaker doorknobs were originally carved out of wood and painted to match the doors. However, for an updated look, metal door knobs can compliment your colour scheme and make a feature of the cabinets.

Open shelving & glazed doors– Glass-fronted cabinets and open shelving can add character to your kitchen. Moreover, they will create a space to put treasured glassware and crockery on show. Adding interior lighting here will illuminate displays and add an extra dimension to the room.

Central Piece- In keeping with the Shakers tendency to feature a central statement piece, a kitchen island or full height larder cabinet can give your space an impressive focal point.

Worktops– While wood work surfaces are more in keeping with Shaker tradition, quartz or granite worktops can be easier to maintain. They will last longer too and have a more contemporary appeal.

With its universal appeal and endless design possibilities, it’s no wonder the Shaker remains one of the most popular kitchen styles today. At Will Mundy, we share traditional Shaker values, encompassing craftsmanship techniques to create furniture of great integrity. We are firm believers that the enduring design aesthetic and scope for personalisation make the Shaker style the perfect choice for kitchen renovations today.

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