Traditional and timeless, the well-made wooden cabinets that characterise the Shaker kitchen offer versatile, suits-all style
Houzz UK Contributor. Freelance journalist and interiors obsessive, renovating a… More
If you demand quality craftsmanship and prefer classic design over quick fashion fixes, Shaker style could be for you. After emigrating from England to America in 1774, the Shakers led simple, community-focused lives. Their carefully constructed pieces focused on utility and function without the need for embellishments. They designed minimalist furniture with balanced form and proportions, relying on creative (yet practical) characteristics, such as graduated drawer widths, turned wood knobs, peg rails and ladder-back chairs, to maintain visual appeal without being purely ornamental. Natural materials, such as wood, were key, as was a colour palette consisting only of red, blue, yellow and green.
Many modern designs have their origins in Shaker furniture, including five-piece cabinet doors – a key component in our concept of ‘traditional’ kitchens. When updated with contemporary finishes, Shaker style continues to sit happily in homes of every era, meshing effortlessly with all aspects of interior design. Here are 10 excellent examples of a contemporary take on this enduring style to inspire your creative cookspace.
Revel in rustic charm
Muted tones and a hefty helping of wood give this kitchen a warm and welcoming quality. Tongue-and-groove panelling and timber worktops reveal a rustic leaning that adds extra Arts and Crafts era, New England charm. As if we weren’t won over already!
Browse more photos of traditional-style kitchens on Houzz
Aspire to delicate details
White updates this Shaker-inspired space: soft, paisley-print wallpaper and acres of white worktop bring a feeling of calm cohesion to this elegant kitchen. Combining white cupboards with delicate accessories – including linen curtains, a carved mirror and a capiz shell pendant light – avoids any hint of sterility.
Aim for atmosphere
Shy and retiring types may wish to swerve this striking space. Statement paint in dark green (a traditional Shaker hue), dramatic marble worktops (with oh-so-enviable inset sinks), gold hardware and a gallery shelf stocked with oil paintings create a characterful, layered effect.
Read about this season’s coolest trends, including dark green paint
Try a two-tone tweak
If you enjoy traditional Shaker styling but crave extra impact, two-tone cabinets could be the answer to your kitchen conundrum.
White wall cupboards keep things feeling light and spacious, while a commanding navy island lends contemporary cool and the all-important finishing touch.
Don’t fight the fade
Grey wooden doors give this wooden Shaker-style kitchen a modern twist. By choosing a tone more akin to driftwood than varnished pine, any similarities to 1980s orange-overload cabinets are easily sidestepped.
Play with pattern
If traditional isn’t your thing, use colour and pattern to enhance simple Shaker basics for a fabulous, one-of-a-kind kitchen.
This neon pink Roman blind ups the fun factor of classic monochrome, but can easily be switched for something more sedate if you tire of it.
Keep it clean
This pale green kitchen marries traditional style and a clean, clutter-free finish. If you’re after pared-back Shaker style, steer towards flat drawer fronts (instead of recessed designs). They lend a touch of contemporary minimalism without losing the look.
Give grey a go
Grey schemes are still much-coveted and this ‘new’ neutral will give you a different feel to heritage favourites such as cream or sage, while retaining a traditional tone. A lick of lead-coloured paint is all this country kitchen needed to show off its smart Shaker styling.
Tour a stunning, dark-painted Shaker-style kitchen in London
Welcome classic white
Neutral, off-white Shaker-inspired wooden cabinets will pair with any style of accessory – important if you enjoy switching in bright bits and bobs on a frequent basis! These copper pendant lights echo the warm wood of the flooring and worktops to lend an effective metallic accent.
Get a plus-size pantry
Set storage requirements front and centre when planning a kitchen. Tall, pantry-style cupboards pack plenty in while looking the part as well. This bank of cabinets incorporates an integrated fridge-freezer for a streamlined solution to appliance orientation. The solid wood cabinets and inky blue paint look authentically Shaker, but for an easy way to add even more of this traditional style in your storage, consider adding a wooden peg rail to hang your tea-towels on – make them red, green or yellow to subtley show off your design history knowledge.
What’s your favourite style of kitchen? Let us know in the Comments below – and feel free to share a snap of your own cookspace.