What is a Shaker Kitchen? A Complete Guide to the Popular Style of Cabinets

When you’re planning and dreaming about your new kitchen the sheer amount of choices can be overwhelming. Whether it’s deciding what materials to use for the surfaces, the layout or colour scheme there’s a lot to think about. The style of your kitchen cabinets is one of the important things to choose and in this post we’re going to be looking at what is a shaker kitchen style to help you choose the right style for you and your tastes.


Quick Answer: What is a Shaker Style Kitchen?

Put simply, shaker is a style of kitchen cabinets that have a very simple and minimalist design. Shaker style kitchen units will have flat centre panels, little to no ornamentation or decoration and will typically be made of wood with straight edges. They place minimalist design and functionality as its focus with lots of symmetry and very little detailing or ornamentation.

Here’s a photo of a traditional style shaker kitchen.

Chamber Furniture traditional shaker style cottage kitchen with ceramic worktops
Chamber Furniture tradtional shaker kitchen with ceramic worktops and brass detailing

The History of Shaker Style Kitchens

Interestingly, the history of shaker kitchens is linked to a religious group from the 1800s called the Shakers. The Shakers were a religious sect that shunned materialism and enjoyed living simply with minimalist surroundings. This included very modest houses and furniture for their own homes – including the construction of cabinets within them.

Although some aspects of their religion have since changed, these principles set down by early Shaker communities are still practiced among today’s few remaining Shakers who live in Sabbathday Lake communities in Maine.

Despite their religious beliefs not catching on as much, the minimalist design style caught on and was adopted by others who began to understand its potential beauty but also how much functionality it could bring within a kitchen space. Its simplicity was always an appealing aspect because it required less time and money when crafting everything by hand, which was a big deal for pioneer settlers and homesteaders.

Functionality is still an important aspect today with shaker style kitchens but it’s also about the beauty of simplicity too.

Why are Shaker Kitchens so Popular?

The popularity of shaker style kitchens is still growing and many homeowners are finding the appeal in the simplistic, yet beautiful design for a number of reasons.

Versatile – Shaker cabinets can be paired with all types of kitchen fashions from rustic to modern so you can create a kitchen that matches your personal tastes without making it too busy or difficult to use. The simplistic design can be paired with just about any style with ease, you almost wonder why every other style is popular at all!

Not Too Ornate – If you hate the idea of a kitchen that’s busy or cluttered then shaker cabinets are definitely the right fit for you. While they may not be minimalist in nature, they do have all the elements of a modern design without any extra fuss or ornamentation.

Minimalist – Shaker cabinets are far from being an ornate style but it’s surprisingly elegant for such a simple, minimalist approach too. The flat centre panels and straight lines give each kitchen a clean look with almost an air of sophistication about them.

Functionality – Shaker kitchens are a classic style that will never go out of date in the design world. They have stood the test of time and still prove to be popular even today because they are so functional. You can store all your kitchen essentials in them with ease without worrying about fiddly drawers or doors, everything is kept tidy and easy to reach.

What Materials are Shaker Cabinets Made from?

Although you can find shaker style kitchens in all price ranges, they are often made from wood and the most common type is pine. The original Shakers used plain oak but today it’s often stained or painted to help them blend into the surrounding kitchen furniture a little better.

Shaker Cabinet Handles

Another defining feature of the shaker style was the cabinet and drawer handles. These were typically made from the same wood as the cabinet to embody the minimalist principles of the original designers.

A popular option is to keep with this traditional look and opt for simple wooden knobs on the cabinets and drawers. But, nowadays modern designers will push for chrome or steel handles and pair them with pulls on the drawers for a modern, simple look.

Examples of Shaker Kitchens

To show you the versatility of the shaker style here are some examples from recent projects we worked on.


Shaker FAQs

Are Shaker Cabinets Going out of Style?

Without a doubt No. Shaker cabinets are not going out of style and it looks like they never will because it’s a timeless design that people love. The minimalist yet beautiful look is still popular worldwide with people who want kitchens that are modern but don’t go overboard in decorations or design elements. If you’re looking for an easy, tasteful cabinet style for your kitchen then keep in mind shaker cabinets might be just what you’re looking for!

Can you put a Shaker Kitchen in a Modern House?

Despite being an old, classic style, Shaker cabinets lend themselves very well to modern houses due to the clean, simple minimalist designs. With some simple tweaks like modern handles, a kitchen island, built in appliances and a stylish colour scheme you can easily make shaker cabinets work in a bespoke modern kitchen.

Summing up

As you can see, the shaker style kitchen design is still going strong today. The simplistic look and feel of the cabinets are definitely part of their appeal but so too is how functional they are making them incredibly practical for a modern kitchen.

Perhaps it’s because we are used to seeing ornate designs that the beauty in a minimalist approach can be hard to appreciate at first glance. But, when you give them some time and really get to know what these cabinets have to offer, you’ll find that your search will end with this classic style.

For more information about getting a bespoke kitchen design and to talk about shaker style and the other options get in touch below.

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