18 August 2020
A shaker style kitchen is a kitchen design concept that has been around for centuries and remains one of the most popular kitchen styles. Shaker kitchens are renowned for their craftsmanship and simplicity, with their clean-lined designs traditionally lacking any intricate embellishments. The shaker style is still celebrated to this day for its durable and honest design, high standards and unbeatable quality
Originating from back in the 18th century, a shaker style kitchen was given its name as a direct result of the religious group ‘the shakers’ who founded it. After emigrating to New England in the 18th century, the ‘shaking Quakers’, or shakers, became a largely self-sufficient community. They built things to last, and so became renowned for crafting high quality furniture with high levels of craftsmanship.
Traditionally speaking, what defines a shaker style kitchen is the five panelled solid wood door that is typically constructed using either a dovetail joint or a mortise and tenon joint with the five panels made up of:
> 1 x Centre Panel
> 2 x Row Panels
> 2 x Stiles Panels
Nowadays, the five panel door can be manufactured using a single piece of wood or MDF, meaning no requirements for joints, with an indented centre cut out to ensure the shaker style detailing is always present.
A skilful and bespoke method of joinery, a dovetail Joint is a an attractive and durable technique of woodworking whereby you join two pieces by cutting a series of ‘pins’ in the end of one piece and a series of ‘tails’ in the other which are then interlocked to provide resistance which stops them from pulling apart.
Perfect for cupboard and cabinet doors, the mortise and tenon joint - a more mainstream and less time consuming method of joinery - is where two pieces of wood are joined at a 90-degree angle. One piece of wood has a section (‘mortise’) cut out of it whereby the other has the difference extended onto it (the ‘tennon’). The two are then slotted together.
The shaker style kitchen is elegantly aesthetic, uncluttered and understated. Traditionally made from sustainable materials such as oak or birchwood and now MDF, the shakers believed in simplicity, practicality and functionality - themes in kitchen design which have certainly stood the test of time, and can be easily identified by the lack of ornamentation in the shaker style.
Despite its traditional origin, the simplicity of the design allows the concept to lend itself to the majority of kitchen designs, whether traditional, contemporary or classic.
Whichever style you choose, and as with most kitchen designs, it is always the little details within the finishing touches that will completely transform the space while defining the overall look and feel.
Illustrated in the images above, a shaker style kitchen concept can be applied, whatever your preferred kitchen design. The little details within the finishing touches can be used to really accentuate the overall look and feel.
You can bring the concept to life and inject your own personality into a traditional shaker style kitchen design by using things like:
> Clever or Contrasting Colour Combinations
> Enhanced Detailing and use of Textures
> Lighting Arrangements
> Handle Preferences
> Worktop Options
> And Flooring Choices
Naturally, and depending on your chosen shaker kitchen design there are a variety of options within each of the above, some of which work better and compliment the various styles more than others.
Let’s take a more detailed look at each of these, to help ensure you make the right design-led decisions.
When it comes to choosing the colour of your shaker style kitchen there are a range of shades and tones that lend themselves flawlessly to the timeless design.
Traditional shaker kitchens were kept unpainted, in line with the simplistic beliefs of the Shakers. However, you can ensure your traditional kitchen design retains a modern look by opting for a stylish colour choice.
Whether a traditional shaker style kitchen, contemporary or classic we would recommend choosing neutral pastel colours and in some instances, particularly in contemporary kitchen design, accenting those colours for a more characterful look.
Another option often used mainly within a contemporary setting, is to create a contrast by combining two colour choices, one neutral and one accent, to really accentuate statement features to offer a subtle yet stunning modern shaker style kitchen design. We can see in the below image that that’s been effectively done by accenting the kitchen island feature with a bold and deep colour.
Below are a range of colour choices, all of which have been carefully selected to compliment a shaker style kitchen design.
There are a range of detailing options you can choose from when selecting your shaker style cupboard door. Firstly you can choose from a grained or smooth door before you decide on the specific rail detailing to suit your preferred style. These detailing options include:
> Raised and Fielded
> And Deeper Internal Edges
All of which can be further complimented by either plain or tongue and groove end panels.
The right kitchen lighting is essential when wanting to emphasise a kitchen design. Whether a shaker kitchen or any other kitchen style, lighting will literally showcase the space in its finest light.
Shaker style kitchen lights should reflect the functional and practical ethos of the shaker tradition. So, consider simplistic but stylish lights without unnecessary decoration.
There are a range of lighting options available that fit this bill, whether spot lights, pendant lighting, wall lighting or recessed focused lighting.
Similar to all your kitchen finishing touch choices, when it comes to choosing your kitchen handles your options should be led by your chosen style.
Traditionally and in keeping with the simplistic ethos, the handles would have been made of the same wood as the rest of the cabinet. Sticking with shaker style kitchen tradition but giving it a modern twist, minimal metal handles look great on shaker cupboards.
Available in a range of finishes and colours whether matt brass, chrome silver or painted wooden handles, you can choose between pull, knob or curved handle options.
Traditionally, shaker kitchens would have used wooden worktops, but nowadays people choose a material like quartz or granite to stand out and give the kitchen a modern twist. Worktops are always a stand out aspect that will really showcase your kitchen’s personality, whatever style it’s in. When it comes to choosing your kitchen worktop you typically have six options, which you can discover in more detail on our dedicated kitchen worktops page.
As with all kitchen design choices when choosing your kitchen flooring your options include:
> And Vinyl
Any of the above can be applied within a shaker style kitchen setting however depending on your chosen style some will complement the overall design more than others. To keep with the simplicity of the original style, stay away from overly decorative tiles. Think instead clean lines, and durability.
For example, if your preference is a traditional shaker style kitchen then we would recommend opting for either a stone finish or a matt tile. In a contemporary setting, a gloss tile, light oak hardwood, laminate or vinyl would work well.
To sum up, a shaker style kitchen is defined by the simplistic emphasis on a minimal aesthetic, practicality and quality craftsmanship, a concept derived from the 18th century. The shaker style kitchen design can lend itself to the majority of kitchen styles whether traditional, contemporary or classic. What highlights your chosen style is the amount of rail detailing on the cupboard door and choice of finishing touches.
Hopefully having reached the end of the article you’ve found all the information required to confirm whether a shaker style kitchen design is a concept for you and your home. For further kitchen inspiration, why not have a look at our articles onL shaped kitchens or peninsular kitchen design tips.
At More Kitchens we’re experts in all aspects and areas of kitchen design. Furthermore we’re a true full service provider, managing the entire kitchen renovation project from start to finish with an in house team of multi-skilled installers who will bring your chosen design to life.