Shaker kitchen doors and cabinets, as well as Shaker drawers, are a style of kitchen units that feature a flat centre panel and square edges, with minimal detailing or profiling. Shaker cabinet designs are often symmetrical and shy away from intricate carvings and ornamentation. Shaker style furniture has been around for centuries, and is one of the most popular kitchen designs used to date. Most interior designers pair shaker cupboards and drawers with many modern designs.
The history of the shaker kitchen design
Shaker style cabinets and shaker kitchen cupboard doors get their name from the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, more commonly known as Shakers. Originating from Manchester, this religious group was formed in the 18th century after breaking away from the religious group, the Quakers. Before separating from the Quakers, the religious sect were known as the Shaking Quakers due to the ecstatic movements they used during worship.
This celibate and self-sufficient community emigrated to America and spread out across New England, where they handcrafted high-quality shaker style furniture that was renowned for its craftsmanship and high standards.
Shakers took so much pride in making their furniture that it looked just as good from the front, side and back. Their designs were durable, simplistic and understated – intricate details and veneers were seen as dishonest practices, with the exception of a small carving of the Shaker’s symbol ‘the tree of life’.
Whilst Shakers avoided embellishments and finery when it came to creating their replacement kitchen doors and furniture, they would stain or paint their wood in different colours.
The evolution of a timeless shaker design
With timeless design and honest craftsmanship, it is no wonder that Shaker furniture is so popular – especially their Shaker cabinet doors, which have become a universally loved design. The panelled doors, solid wood frames, dovetail, mortise and tenon joints have all become a staple in the modern 21st Century kitchen. However, it is fair to say that the modern adaptation of Shaker furniture holds a different ethos to the simplistic one of the Shakers, as different colours and bespoke designs are used to suit an individual’s style.
The Shaker belief that all should have a purpose and be crafted as a testament to God, allowed them to have the drive to refine that crafting process with only the best materials available. The handmade precision helped refine the shaker product to create the incredible finished effect.
While modern machines can now create shaker-style cabinets and doors with ease, its original conception was considered a wasteful pastime and became a moral conflict for Quakers. Decorations were considered a form of deceit for the Shakers, which is why the minimalist and practical design became the norm, and something we still have today.
3 stunning shaker kitchens and bedrooms
Bowfell oak unfinished kitchen
This stunning Bowfell Unfinished Kitchen features natural oak shaker kitchen cabinets and an accented deep plum shaker kitchen island. The beautiful black granite worktops go seamlessly with this design, but give it a modern edge. Made from sustainable oak and other materials, this traditional shaker fitted kitchen design will make you want to stay in there for longer.
Bella ivory shaker bedroom and bathroom
A made to measure fitted bedroom and en-suite is something everyone dreams about, and this stunning Bella Fitted Ivory Shaker Bedroom is no exception. The cashmere, cappuccino and rustic berry colour scheme accents the beautiful Shaker wardrobe doors perfectly.
Avion ivory shaker kitchen
A beautiful Avion Ivory Shaker Kitchen with blue accents will be the most desirable room in the house. Light, spacious and organised, you’ll definitely love the ‘less is more’ feeling. Made from sustainable oak and other materials, this multi-wood kitchen is the thing of dreams.
What materials are used in shaker doors?
Shaker furniture was originally made with natural materials such as pine, maple and cherry wood instead of mahogany. Nowadays, more sustainable materials are used such as oak and birchwood, giving them a new lease of life.
Shaker handles are made from wood rather than brass while worktops in a traditional shaker kitchen have high-quality timber, although granite or marble is more popular in the modern busy kitchen.
In terms of whether you can paint shaker doors, painting your shaker kitchen cabinet doors is a great way to upgrade your kitchen for less. You can find all the advice you need on how to paint kitchen cupboard doors here.