Is a shaker kitchen for you? | Kitchen Blog | Kitchen Design, Style Tips & Ideas


Of all the different styles out there, it is perhaps the Shaker kitchen style that has had the most enduring appeal over the years. One thing is for sure, it’s certainly one of the oldest – dating back over 300 years in fact! Despite its vintage, the Shaker kitchen has always managed to keep up with the times. Indeed, it’s a style that has outlived all others. Styles come and go and can quickly become tired and outdated. However, one of the main areas of appeal of the Shaker is that it’s a style and look that suits both contemporary and classic kitchen designs.

So, it seems like a good idea to delve a little deeper to explore what it is about Shaker kitchens that has made them so popular through the centuries. Furthermore, it’s always useful to look at the pros and cons of any style. From this, you will gain a clear idea of whether or not a Shaker kitchen is for you.

The Shaker Kitchen – A Quick History

Strange but true, the world’s most famous kitchen design style was actually created by a religious group in the 1770s. The Shakers have their roots in the North West of England – Manchester to be exact. The group, officially called The United Society of Believers – were a breakaway movement from the Quakers. Soon after their formation, the Shakers shipped out of the Rainy City and sailed to New York.

It was actually a belief held by Shakers – that everything in the home should be functional and have a purpose – that was the inspiration for the design of the inaugural Shaker kitchen.

Shaker Kitchen – A Classic Style

The distinctive recessed panelling of a Shaker kitchen is perhaps the hallmark of the style, along with the square profile of the frame and panels. In keeping with the Shakers’ way of life, the style was unfussy and uncluttered. Everything about a Shaker kitchen is orderly. However, there’s nothing sterile or dull about the look. In fact, it’s highly versatile. The design fits like a glove in a classic, country style kitchen. Equally, a Shaker design works beautifully in modern and contemporary  kitchen settings.

Sum up a Shaker kitchen in 3 words

In 3 words, a Shaker kitchen is three things: straightforward, functional and quality. Now, those aren’t the most exciting or exotic adjectives that could’ve been chosen, admittedly. However, it does sum up the aesthetic that the Shakers were going for in the late 1700s.

And, these humble designs had a lasting appeal in their simplicity. What’s more, although practicality and functionality was at the forefront of the thinking of those original Shaker kitchen pioneers, there was never any shirking when it came to quality. Indeed, the expert craftmanship that was evident on the wooden designs became a watchword for the Shaker style itself.


The Pros:

Timeless Design and Appeal

A Shaker kitchen design is uncluttered and it’s an understated look. When it comes the kitchen, those qualities are good ones to have. The sleek cabinet style transcends passing trends that come and go. If you are refreshing the look of the kitchen, a change of colour or a fresh lick of paint is enough to reinvigorate the entire space.

Stamp your individuality

Although the original Shakers would probably roll their eyes at the thought, these days there’s plenty of scope to stamp your own individuality and style on  a traditional Shaker design. For example, there are now a wide range of ways you can embellish the look. From bevelled and beaded edging to being creative, daring or contrasting with your choice of backsplashes and countertops, it’s easy to shake up the classic Shaker look, if you so wish.

Low maintenance

Last, and by no means least, it’s worth remember that Shaker kitchens are very low maintenance designs. Generally speaking, the likes of polishing and staining are cumbersome tasks that aren’t needed with a Shaker kitchen. All you need is a quick wipe down.

The Cons:


Although it’s low maintenance all the way, just be aware that the corners and grooves of Shaker cabinets accumulate a fair bit of dust and dirt – especially when compared to slab door designs. Having said that, all that is generally needed is a wiped down. It’s nothing too onerous.

Not modern enough for some?

There’s no accounting for taste, but there are some people who would say that slab door designs are best for the most contemporary of kitchen looks. As previously mentioned, there are plenty of ways that you can add character and embellishments to a Shaker design. All that said, it’s a look that might always be too classic to ever be too contemporary for some. If you want an ultra-modern, futuristic kitchen, a Shaker probably isn’t the way to go.

Hopefully, you’ll now have a better idea of if a Shaker kitchen is for you. If you need some more help deciding, just get in touch with the Kitchen Warehouse team.


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