Everything you need to know about Shaker kitchens – Shaker design has been around for centuries and remains one of the most popular styles available today. It complements both modern and traditional homes and is famed for its use of quality durable materials, making it many peoples’ first choice when planning a kitchen renovation.
After all, it’s thought that updating your kitchen can add up to six percent to the value of your home. But whether you’re looking to sell or simply upgrade, below we explain where Shaker kitchens have come from and highlight the key features to look out for.
Who were the Shakers?
The Shakers didn’t start out as interior design enthusiasts, but instead as a religious sect that spread across America in the 18th century.
The nickname is based on the group’s sometimes frantic movements during religious worship. Their full title is actually the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing.
Converts to this faith had a desire for communal independence and aimed to live off what they found around them. They used foraged materials and handmade tools for a variety of purposes including building furniture, which they only began to sell to wider society much later on.
The principles of Shaker furniture
Shaker furniture is guided by the group’s principles of simplicity, self-sufficiency and a rejection of ostentation.
The Shakers built items from the wood they could collect in their local area. Timbers such as pine and maple were especially common choices for their stools, cabinets and tables. These pieces would then be stained or painted in colours such as blue, red or yellow for long-lasting protection.
Any embellishments such as brass drawer pulls were seen as overly indulgent and dishonest, whereas subtle turned-wood knobs were ideal. Above all shaker furniture had to be practical, an emphasis is seen in their design of lightweight stackable chairs and graduated drawers.
A free-standing kitchen island that allows for flexible everyday use
Hard-wearing flooring that’s practical and easy to clean
Clever storage solutions to minimise clutter and make items easily accessible
Ultimately Shaker kitchens can be almost anything you want them to be, so there’s no need to feel restricted by traditions. Simple ways to update the look include integrating modern appliances and glossy worktops and adding metal handles to cabinets and drawers.
Are you feeling inspired to design a Shaker kitchen? This timeless look shows no sign of going out of fashion any time soon.