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What is a Shaker Kitchen?

As Leonardo da Vinci once said, “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” and this is certainly true when it comes to interior design. It’s therefore no surprise that pared-down, Shaker-style kitchens remain so popular. 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 clean-yet-chic aesthetic, read on to find out what makes this highly coveted style so iconic.

What is the history of the Shaker style?

Let’s start from the beginning….. the Shaker kitchen gets its name from a religious sect in the mid-18th century called the ‘Shaking Quakers’ (quickly shortened to ‘Shakers’). Today, this famous style reflects the core principles this community believed in – simplicity and functionality.

Every piece was created using the best wood and crafted without ornamentation, which the Shakers considered to be prideful. Designed with functionality as its most important consideration, the Shaker kitchen is minimalist and versatile, with an honest ethos of thoughtful, meticulous craftsmanship.

What are the key features of a Shaker kitchen?

If you are 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. Our Shaker kitchen features a classic in-frame structure, testimony to Harvey Jones’ time-honoured craftmanship and premium quality. It goes without saying that these five-piece wooden structures will be clean and simple, with minimal decoration.

Metal handles did not traditionally feature in Shaker cabinetry, as they were considered too ornamental, so craftsmen tended to make these out of wood. However, fast forward to the modern kitchens we see today, and Shaker kitchens may include metal versions, though they will also be humble and unassuming, in line with the Shaker principles.

Is Shaker a contemporary style?

The timeless sophistication and versatility 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. Our famous Shaker kitchen is at home in every setting, cleverly balancing clean lines, curved edges, contrasting materials and confident pops of colour.

How do you design a Shaker kitchen to suit your 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 talented designers work closely with our customers to create a space that perfectly matches their needs and tastes, allowing them to put their own stamp on it. Here are a few ideas to personalise your kitchen and make it truly unique.

1. Incorporate colour

Shaker and colour are not mutually exclusive. The Shakers certainly pioneered simplicity, but this doesn’t mean they were scared to use colour. Using natural plants to make dyes and paints, they often decorated furniture in shades of blue, green, red and yellow. Incorporating colour into your own Shaker kitchen is an impactful way to add character, and our bespoke hand-painted cabinetry can be painted in any shade and freshened up as often as needed. Visit our gallery to explore our popular Shaker kitchen colour schemes.

2. Embrace contrast

Shaker kitchens look particularly striking when you pair different materials and textures. Natural wooden worktops and aged brass handles create a rustic, ‘perfectly imperfect’ feel in a traditional setting, while bolder statements such as white quartz surfaces and sleek, standout appliances instantly give the room a more 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 wok surface shelf for food preparation or plug in appliances, it is designed to make your life a little easier.

  • Top Tips
  • Experiment with colour everywhere, from your cabinets or splashbacks to a statement larder.
  • Combine an array of materials for a truly unique aesthetic.
  • Invest in clever storage solutions to maintain a clean aesthetic throughout your kitchen.

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