What is a Shaker Kitchen?

6th October 2020

In the words of Leonardo da Vinci, “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” This timeless wisdom holds true in the realm of interior design, and it’s no wonder that the enduring appeal of pared-down, Shaker-style kitchens continues to thrive. With clean lines and balanced proportions, Shaker kitchens champion form and function, and have undoubtedly stood the test of time.

If you’re considering a minimalist redesign with a sleek and sophisticated appeal, read on to discover what makes this highly sought-after style so coveted.

What is a Shaker-style kitchen?

A Shaker kitchen is a stylish and straightforward design that combines minimalism and elegance. If you’re ever in doubt, you can easily spot a Shaker kitchen by looking at its doors, cabinets and drawers, which will have a flat centre panel and a raised rectangular frame.

At Harvey Jones, our Shaker kitchen designs showcase a classic in-frame structure, where a frame surrounds each door and drawer, resulting in a visually appealing and traditional aesthetic. This design is a testament to our time-honoured craftsmanship and premium quality.

What is the history of the Shaker kitchen?

The roots of the Shaker kitchen can be traced back to the mid-18th century and a religious sect known as the ‘Shaking Quakers’ — commonly shortened to ‘Shakers’. This utopian community believed that ornamentation was a source of pride, which led them to combine the finest wood with meticulous craftsmanship when designing furniture.

The Shaker sect reached its peak in the 19th century, and while numbers gradually declined over time, their influential style lives on, leaving a lasting impression on kitchen design. Today, this renowned style continues to embrace the fundamental principles valued by the Shaker community: simplicity and functionality.

Why have Shaker kitchens remained so popular?

While the Shakers may have faded into history, the legacy of their kitchens has endured for a number of reasons:

  1. Timeless design
    The timeless sophistication of the Shaker style has kept it in fashion right up to the present day. Modern Shaker kitchens retain the core traditions of simplicity, utility and honesty, but with understated tweaks for a more contemporary aesthetic.
  2. Quality craftsmanship
    Shaker kitchens embody exceptional craftsmanship, durability, and sustainability. With meticulous attention to detail, high-quality materials, and sturdy construction, they align seamlessly with 21st-century values of conscientious material use and waste reduction.
  3. Versatility
    Shaker kitchens seamlessly blend into various interior design styles, making them adaptable to different preferences and trends. Whether it’s a contemporary, traditional, or transitional setting, Shaker kitchens can be easily incorporated and customised to suit every taste.
  4. Design flexibility
    Shaker kitchens offer ample opportunities for customisation and personalisation. From cabinet finishes and hardware choices to colour palettes and countertop materials, homeowners can tailor the design to reflect their unique style and preferences.
  5. Long-term investment
    Due to their enduring popularity and timeless design, Shaker kitchens can enhance the value of a home. They are considered a stable long-term investment as they continue to appeal to potential buyers and maintain their allure even as design trends evolve.

How can you customise a Shaker kitchen to suit your personal style?

Thanks to its attractive, balanced proportions that can be adapted to suit every type of home, the Shaker kitchen has been our most popular design for over 30 years. Our skilled designers collaborate closely with clients to craft a space that aligns seamlessly with their preferences and requirements, enabling them to infuse their own personal touch. Here are some inspiring ideas to personalise your kitchen and embellish it with your unique character.

  1. Incorporate colour
    Embrace the versatility of Shaker kitchens with a splash of colour. Contrary to popular belief, the Shakers embraced vibrant hues, using natural dyes and paints to adorn their furniture in captivating shades of blue, green, red, and yellow. At Harvey Jones, we offer bespoke hand-painted cabinetry, allowing you to infuse your Shaker kitchen with character. Visit our gallery to explore our popular Shaker kitchen colour schemes.
  2. Embrace contrasts
    Shaker kitchens look particularly striking when you pair different materials and textures. Natural wooden worktops and aged brass handles can create a rustic, ‘perfectly imperfect’ feel, while bolder statements such as white quartz surfaces and sleek, standout appliances instantly give the room a contemporary twist. Another option is to include an island in a contrasting shade to make an impact in larger spaces, providing a stylish focal point, while also adding structure.
  3. Maximise storage
    As with any successful design, the best features are often those you don’t see. Clever storage ideas are essential in the modern kitchen, and we have a variety of options to help you keep your space neat and organised. Our Shaker Pantry Larder provides all the storage space a kitchen requires. Featuring deep drawers for pans, spice and wine racks for jars and bottles and a work surface shelf for food preparation or plug-in appliances, it is designed to make your life a little easier.
  4. Explore countertop materials
    Explore a wide variety of countertop materials, such as granite, marble, quartz, or butcher block, to find the perfect match for your personal style. You can also get creative by mixing materials, such as combining Shaker-style cabinets with a modern glass or stainless steel splashback. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different countertop options like concrete or quartz to add a unique and contemporary touch to your kitchen.
  5. Play with hardware
    In traditional Shaker cabinetry, metal handles were avoided as they were considered too ornate. Instead, craftsmen crafted wooden handles. However, in modern Shaker kitchens, you can find metal handles that maintain a humble and unpretentious appearance, staying true to the essence of Shaker principles. One of the most commonly recognized handles in Shaker kitchen style is the cup pull, also referred to as shell pulls, bin pulls, or half-moon pulls. These handles are characterised by their unique cup-shaped design, allowing your fingers to fit snugly underneath.

Browse our Shaker kitchen range

Create the perfect Shaker kitchen for your home with Harvey Jones. From bespoke cabinets to exquisite finishes, our designs blend functionality and aesthetics seamlessly. For more help designing your dream kitchen, request a brochure or visit us at one of our showrooms today.