The word ‘Shaker’ has been a mainstay in interior design for many years. But getting a clear idea of what the term actually entails is another thing entirely. We know it’s popular, stylish, and well-crafted: but just what is a Shaker kitchen?
Origins of the ‘Shaker’ Look
Shaker kitchens have a unique and quirky history: in fact, the ‘Shakers’ were a religious offshoot of Mancunian Quakers, earning their name from the vibrating motions used in worship.
The sect eventually settled in New England where they established orderly and self-sustaining communities. Believing that making something well was akin to an act of prayer, they prioritised austerity, hard work and perfection above all. The result was a developed, independent culture of architecture, music and fine art.
Furniture was hand-crafted and unadorned; created for optimum functionality rather than aesthetic appeal, though its beauty was nonetheless undeniable.
Perfect for contemporary kitchens
Beauty and simplicity are the essential elements of the Shaker style. Tradition is important too; but this doesn’t mean that a contemporary look can’t be achieved with Shaker elements.
Indeed, the clean lines of Shaker furniture work well in classic or modern schemes. The look always brings a sense of personality: these are kitchens to be used, lived in, and enjoyed.
What to buy
- Embrace solid wood! Warm wood surfaces and a natural ‘feel’ are crucial to achieving a Shaker look.
- Panelled unit doors are an integral component of this style: our solid oak ‘Shaker’ frontals are the perfect option, offering the traditional quality demanded by the movement with a clean design free of any frills.
- A natural finish for solid oak frontals is a good choice. Lacquered oak frontals celebrate the timber’s innate beauty while being easy to maintain.
- You could also paint your doors or drawers – but choose carefully. We will paint your frontals in any colour from the Farrow & Ball range; and for true Shaker authenticity, we utilise a sophisticated handfinishing technique that produces a wonderful sheen of colour but still allows the oak’s grain pattern to sing out. We recommend a neutral palette – creams, whites, pale browns or greys – or delicate pastels such as duck-egg blue.
- Keep it simple when it comes to cornices and pelmets: no ornate mouldings or mantels here!
- Continue the look throughout the kitchen with open shelving, basket storage, peg rails and wooden dining furniture.
- Solid wood knobs are a fantastic choice, rounding off the scheme with an organic, pleasingly chunky finishing touch. There are many different varieties available: from beech to iroko, big to small, lacquered to sanded. Have a look at our own handles page for some inspiration.
Shaker spells satisfaction: end of. These kitchens may be ostensibly simple and pared down in terms of design, but they really pack a punch, creating a memorably serene and inviting atmosphere for cooking, dining, and living.