Interiors: Shaker Style Kitchens

The Shaker kitchen is a traditional timeless design that works equally well in period properties and modern homes. Built to last, the Shaker kitchen reigns supreme in the world of kitchen design. So what makes the enduring Shaker kitchen so popular?

A potted history of the Shaker kitchen

The name ‘Shaker’ is born from the religious group, the Shakers. The Shakers were formed as a breakaway group from the Quakers in the late 18th century. They originally called themselves the United Society of Believers, but then became known as the Shakers. Although originating in Manchester in the UK, the Shaker group moved to America, first to New York and eventually they settled in New England.

The Shakers’ desire to function as a self-sufficient community led them to build and sell furniture, which they made to an exacting standard. They made furniture that looked and functioned just as good on the inside as it did on the outside. This was based upon their belief that ‘god can see everywhere.’ The Shakers made everything to serve a practical purpose and they built the furniture to last. And so Shaker furniture built a reputation for having simple, but effective carpentry at its heart. These humble and practical design philosophies are still incorporated into the Shaker-style kitchens of today.

What exactly is the Shaker kitchen style?

A typical Shaker kitchen is constructed from wood and consists of square framed cabinetry and cupboard doors with inset panels. The Shaker style has an air of symmetry, proportion and balance. The Shakers used cherry wood and maple to construct furniture. Many upscale Shaker kitchens built today are made from oak, while budget versions tend to be made from MDF.

The Shaker kitchen is a favourite in period properties because it has a distinctly heritage feel, but that’s not to say Shaker kitchens don’t look fabulous in modern homes as well.

6 reasons why the Shaker kitchen reigns supreme

With a solid history behind it, it’s no wonder the Shaker kitchen continues to be a favourite in households the world over. Here are 6 very good reasons why:

1. Functionality
The Shakers believed that all furniture in the home should have a function. All of the kitchen furniture they built had a well-thought out purpose. Bespoke Shaker kitchens offer the perfect opportunity to continue in the same vein as the Shakers and make the most of functionality.

2. Versatile
The Shaker kitchen is incredibly versatile. Bare wood cabinetry with stripped back details looks surprisingly stylish in any home. But accessorise with cornices, handles and decorative beading and the Shaker kitchen can be individualised and made to feel extremely unique. It fits in almost any home interior. Colour can be used to transform a Shaker kitchen. Muted colours support a classic theme, while bright colours can give the Shaker kitchen a more modern feel.

3. Suits all budgets
Whether you opt to work with a reputable kitchen designer for a completely bespoke Shaker kitchen, or buy an off-the-shelf Shaker kitchen from a big brand DIY store, there is a kitchen in the Shaker style to suit all budgets.

4. Easy to repaint
One of the biggest advantages of the wooden Shaker kitchen is how easy it is to give it a makeover. A new lick of paint can transform your kitchen interior and with a completely different colour can make your kitchen feel like it is brand new again. As you would expect, the Shakers were also modest in their choice of palettes, and generally left their furniture in its natural form or painted it in muted or primary colours, such as cream, pale green, pink or a soft blue/grey. Farrow and Ball offer a range of beautiful paint colours from bright to neutral that work beautifully on any Shaker kitchen.

5. Classic, simplistic design stands the test of time
Just like the little black dress in the world of fashion, the Shaker kitchen transcends trends in the world of kitchen design. This is a kitchen style that slots easily into a modern apartment or sings beautifully in in a traditional country farmhouse. It’s because the Shaker kitchen is so understatedly elegant that it truly stands the test of time. The purposeful lack of embellishment in Shaker kitchen design is a big part of its charm and appeal.

6. A kitchen made with traditional joinery techniques
Today, traditional kitchens, like the Shaker kitchen, tend to be made using a combination of modern and traditional joinery techniques. There’s something very heart-warming about choosing a kitchen style that is made with the fine craftsmanship used in the Shaker original designs. Many bespoke kitchen designers still use local craftsmen and traditional joinery techniques.

7. Durability
The Shaker kitchen has evolved with a reputation as a kitchen that is built to last. The fact that they are of solid construction, and can be repainted is one of the reasons the Shaker-style kitchen remains popular. This is a durable design and a big consideration when making the big investment required for a complete kitchen remodel. The possibilities to transform a Shaker kitchen further down the line are endless. From repainting, to adding different handles, and changing embellishments, the Shaker kitchen is easy to

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