What is a Shaker Kitchen?
The task of designing every aspect of your new kitchen can be a daunting and difficult one. What at first seems like just picking a few colours and appliances can quickly turn into a long list of decisions on design features you’ve never even heard of!
While having the complete freedom to choose every element of your new kitchen sounds like the best option, in reality, it can be a complete headache.
That is why, particularly for those with little or no experience in designing kitchens, choosing a Shaker kitchen gives you the best of both worlds!
There is an overarching style to a Shaker kitchen, which dictates many of the design issues; but at the same time, there are plenty of ways you can add subtle twists and features to put your stamp on it.
If this sounds like the best option for you, this guide will walk you through the history of Shaker kitchens, what they are, their best features, and what works well in a Shaker kitchen in terms of colours, appliances, woods etc.
History of the Shaker style
First things first, where does the name “Shaker” come from? Around the middle of the 18th century, a group known as The United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing formed. Possibly aware of their not-so-snappy title, this group began to be known as simply “shakers”. Though it was more likely related to their intense displays while worshipping.
However they got the name, the key thing to note about the Shakers was their dedication to two principles which guided their entire way of life, including how they made furniture: simplicity and practicality.
Shakers believed that there was no need to add any intricate decorations or carvings to a piece of furniture. They made things to be highly functional, yet simple.
As they had to gather their resources, they also prided themselves on making things well, using as little as necessary, and in a way which stands the test of time.
These are highly commendable design principles, so it is little wonder they too have stood the test of time and have a profound influence on kitchen design to this day.
History lesson over, let’s take a look at what makes a Shaker kitchen.
What is a Shaker kitchen?
We’re going to break this section down by answering a few key questions about Shaker kitchens.
What are the key elements of a Shaker kitchen?
One of the most important parts of any kitchen is the cabinets, and in a Shaker kitchen, you guessed it, they are very simple. You will find no decorations, inlays, or carvings added to Shaker cabinets. Instead, they are a masterpiece of practical simplicity, which certainly has it’s very own aesthetic appeal. Shakers were true pioneers of the design maxim, “less is more”.
This look is continued throughout the kitchen, with window frames, worktops, doors, and furniture all taking on a very understated appearance. The overall effect of this style is that the entire room feels tied together as a whole, giving the room a subtle but very definitive character.
What are the benefits of choosing a Shaker style?
There are several reasons why a Shaker kitchen is the ideal choice:
- Character: As just alluded to, a Shaker kitchen may well be simple, but by being true to this design principle your kitchen can stand out and impress in its humble way.
- Practicality: The Shakers were a very resourceful group, and as such, they found many creative ways to fully utilise whatever space they had. From cupboards with full shelf racks on the inside of the door, to kitchen dressers with more storage space than you would ever think possible; a shaker kitchen is a space-saving kitchen.
- Ease: As Shaker kitchens don’t have any inlays or elaborate carvings, they are very easy to clean. The simple, smooth surfaces just need a quick wipe down with a cloth.
- Longevity: With their easy maintenance, utility, solid construction, and timeless style, we’re willing to bet you won’t want to change your Shaker kitchen any time soon, saving you money in the long run.
What is the best finish for a Shaker kitchen?
We’ve previously covered the pros and cons of both matt and gloss kitchen finishes, and choosing between the two can often be a tough choice. And while we’ll qualify our following statement by saying gloss Shaker kitchens can work, we feel that when it comes to Shaker kitchens, it has to be a matt finish.
This is because the whole ethos of a Shaker kitchen is simplicity and understated sophistication. Therefore, the best way to achieve this style is by utilising the muted, softer, yet the solid effect of a matt finish.
Are there any downsides to a Shaker kitchen?
Of course, there are. For one, it may not be to everyone’s taste. Many will baulk at the idea of such a simple design and prefer a more flamboyant, ornate style.
Similarly, some people may not like the idea of being constrained by the simple design of a Shaker kitchen and want the freedom to add in as many different, perhaps even contrasting features as they want to make their kitchen their own. If this sounds like you but you could use some guidance on designing your kitchen from the ground up, check out our ultimate guide to designing your kitchen.
What works well in a Shaker kitchen?
To stay true to the Shaker style, choose appliances that are sleek, elegant, and simple. Kettles, toasters, and coffee machines with a matt metal or black stainless steel finish are ideal.
The best Shaker kitchens have a colour scheme which ties the floors, walls, cabinets, and worktops together in a coherent way. For this reason, it’s best to go for neutral or earthy tones, such as white, pale grey, or soft green. Slightly bolder colours also work well, such as deep blues, but may limit your choice of worktop or flooring.
Wooden flooring and worktops work extremely well in Shaker kitchens with their naturally soft tones. The simple, regimented grain of the wood can be a way to add pattern and style subtly. To match with a darker colour scheme, dark mahogany or walnut is best. Or, for a lighter colour scheme, oak or maple are an excellent choice.
The final say
With the hectic pace of modern living, the simplicity and effortless style of a Shaker kitchen is a glorious antidote, bringing organisation, utility, and style to your kitchen and home. Want to learn more about the Shaker kitchen design? If so, contact a member of our team today for more information.