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What Defines a Shaker Style Kitchen?

Shaker kitchens have become a popular choice for many homeowners wanting a DIY kitchen option, but what defines a Shaker kitchen?


Who Were the Shakers?

The Shakers were a religious sect founded in 18th century England. Avid craftsmen the Shakers produced their own homemade furniture that was used in their homes and sold to sustain their communities. Today, Shaker furniture design is revered for its simplicity and quality craftsmanship. You won't find a lot of detail on a Shaker style kitchen, purely for the fact that the Shakers considered detail and embellishment to be the work of the Devil.





Shaker furniture has predominantly clean, straight lines and incorporate a design style that is still popular today for many kitchens. What is most appealing about Shaker style kitchens is the fact that it's easy to design and assemble your own DIY Shaker style kitchen, and paint or stain the cabinets in a variety of bold, bright colours.

What is Shaker Style?

With such simplicity of style, it’s no surprise that Shaker-inspired kitchens have become such a popular choice for modern homes. The clean lines of Shaker style provide a timeless backdrop to modern appliances and practical storage. And, while features such as glass doors and crown moulding aren’t strictly in line with Shaker design, they can be beautiful integrated into any new Shaker style kitchen.

Shaker style kitchen cabinets are defined by a thin strip of panelling around doors, and possibly even drawers. Lines are clean and straight and cabinet backs generally have a beadboard finish. In 18th century England, Shaker kitchens were hardworking rather than decorative, with straightforward layouts and plain details. This approach is what gives Shaker design its timeless appeal - an understated look that is classic and that works well in both traditional and contemporary homes.

The colour palette for a Shaker kitchen features bold - and often contrasting - colours, which at the time, would have been made from natural pigments. As far as construction is concerned, Shaker kitchens used traditional woodworking techniques that have stood the test of time and are still used today by master craftsmen and woodworkers. Of course, this doesn't have to apply to a do-it-yourself kitchen design, and you have the freedom to design and assemble a kitchen cabinet design that works best for you.



The Modern Shaker Kitchen

The simple design, with clean doors and classic fittings, are excellent at concealing an array of smart storage and organization - all of which can be customised to suit your particular needs. Install drawers on runners and clever storage options designed for recycling, pullout storage and pots, pans and crockery.

Whereas traditional Shaker kitchens featured timber knobs, it's easy to introduce satin nickel, vintage brass or pewter knobs or cup handles. Worktops were originally of wood, but more modern materials such as granite or quartz are often more practical and hardwearing, and will give a Shaker kitchen a modern feel.

It’s important to include either open shelving with a few often-used objects, or glass-fronted wall units in the design, to break up a solid row of doors and let you show off beautiful glassware or china.

Worktops in an original Shaker kitchen were of wood, but today modern materials such as quartz or granite are more practical and hardwearing, and will bring a Shaker kitchen into the 21st century. Having said that, butcher block kitchen countertops are proving to be a popular choice for homeowner looking for sustainable or natural alternatives for a kitchen and look absolutely stunning when paired with Shaker cabinetry.



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