Shaker Style Kitchens – What Are They All About?

Shaker Style Kitchens Style

Shaker style kitchens are an easy way to achieve a stunning kitchen regardless of your design preferences. It is said that the phrase “beauty rests in utility” is the driving force behind the Shaker-style kitchen. 

The Shakers believed in simplicity over adornments in their construction pieces. As such, we are left with a style that is both beautiful in its design and that is functional for a range of kitchen styles and users. 

What Is A Shaker Style Kitchen? 

Shaker style kitchens are designed using Shaker principles. Following the principles of modesty and honesty in their work, shaker kitchens contain beautiful pieces, with clean lines, minimal ornamentation, and maximised function. Shaker furniture is made to be beautiful through simplicity, preferably from locally sourced materials (mainly timber). It’s also usually lightweight and easily moveable. 

Shaker style kitchens are a perfect choice for everyone from the novice designer to the professional. The uncomplicated design allows it to easily fit into contemporary and classic designs alike. Do not be fooled, though. The simple design can easily be adapted to be more detailed, whether it’s by adding accessories to the rest of the kitchen, bright splashes of colour or simply changing the handles on cabinets. 

Where Did The Name Come From?

The Shakers were a sect within Christianity founded in England, 1783. They were members of The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing – a Protestant sect, who branched off from the Quakers movement. 

The Shakers took a very hands-on approach to their beliefs. Equality and honesty were at the heart of their belief system and this showed in their creations. Leading a simple life, they avoided using decorations on their furniture. Instead, they kept designs simple with immaculate finishes and decorated only by using various colours. The beauty and versatility of these designs have allowed the Shaker style to still be popular today. 

Creating items with a purpose was at the core of Shaker philosophy. They believed that to do so was to perform a kind of meditative prayer and so furniture creation was a deeply spiritual practice for them. This reiterates the utility aspect of Shaker designs and also adds a touch of something special to them. A deeper level of beauty other than the aesthetic.

Shaker Style Kitchen With Lots Of Wood And Simple Designs

Elements Of Shaker Style Kitchens

So what makes a Shaker style kitchen? Well here are some of the main elements that characterise the style. 

Shaker Style Kitchen Cabinets – the Cornerstone of the Shaker Kitchen Style

Arguably, the defining characteristic of a Shaker-style kitchen is Shaker-style cabinets. Shaker kitchen cabinets feature recessed panels on the front and make use of dovetail joints for tensile strength. These perfectly demonstrate the simple yet beautiful design that Shaker-style cabinets feature and the utility they offer. They are truly made to last!

Free-standing Furniture

Free-standing furniture is another one of the key elements in traditional Shaker design. This grew out of the need to create room for dancing during Shaker religious ceremonies in the home. It also made thorough floor cleaning easier because the furniture was easy to manoeuvre. Free-standing tables, chairs and workspaces are therefore a must in these designs.  

These free-standing pieces were most often made from pine timber or timber from fruit trees like cherry or maple. The tables, chairs, and cabinets in Shaker designs all feature tapered legs, which make them easy to move around. This lightweight design is both functional and adhered to the Shakers’ belief of modesty by making use of the few materials that were readily available to them. 

Lastly, the kitchen island bench often features in classic Shaker style kitchens. It helps to create an open space and is also functional as a workspace and display space. Perfect when considering the values of the Shaker style. This is another feature which is adaptable to both the classic and modern home.  

Not so Black and White

While embellishments in the forms of wood carving, mouldings and metallic handles were generally frowned upon in the Shaker community, it was surprisingly common to find splashes of colour in many areas of Shaker style as decoration. 

While timber was often simply left natural or stained, there were a few colours that were widely accepted by the Shakers. These included blue, green, red and yellow.

Shaker Kitchens, a Traditional Choice

Should you wish to have a more classic look in your kitchen, the Shaker kitchen is for you. The simple design perfectly complements the use of natural wood, simple patterns (if used), and a variety of colour schemes. Keeping a neutral wall and wooden benchtops, everything from grey tones to dark, inky blues to bright splashes of colour can work for cabinetry and furniture alike. 

Stone flooring can make for a beautiful, classic, country look. Authentic stone flooring can be pricey, but stone tiles are a cheaper alternative to this. In addition, removing the doors from cabinets to create shelves can help to create a more open look in a country style kitchen. 

Shaker Style in The Modern Kitchen

The Shaker kitchen design can easily be adapted to suit modern styles and purposes. It is very easy to style Shaker elements in creative ways. 

Think about white or black doors with glass in place of recessed panels on kitchen cabinetry. An island with a stainless steel top. These are just some examples of elements that make for a contemporary look. Adding a colourful splashback for the sink or cooktop complements modern Shaker kitchens well.

Modern style kitchens do a great job of incorporating industrial elements into the home making it a space that is both functional and one that the family will love. The juxtaposition of homely, Shaker cabinetry and all-white walls with stainless steel accents is the perfect demonstration of this. Also, drawers and cabinets with the recessed panels can be fitted with stainless steel handles to blend the two styles. 

Shaker Style - Functional Kitchen


Not only is the style adaptable to be aesthetically pleasing for a number of preferences, but it also promotes the idea of sustainability particularly if you are using Australian-made pieces to create your space. 

By not only adopting the Shaker style but the philosophy behind it, you can support local businesses and sustainable practices. 

Shaker Style Kitchen Design For Beautiful Simplicity

Whether you’re looking for ideas to revamp your current kitchen or starting from scratch and building a whole new kitchen, the Shaker Style is for everybody. 

If you are more traditional and enjoy a classic farmhouse style or if you prefer a modern, sleek look, the adaptability of the Shaker style is ideal! For those who love simplicity, functionality, and a classic style, a Shaker kitchen is just what you’re looking for.  If you would like to incorporate this look in your kitchen, look no further than Renovation Capital. Our experienced kitchen designers can help you create the simple, shaker-style kitchen of your dreams!

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