What is a Shaker Style Kitchen?

What is a Shaker Style Kitchen?

Posted by Derek

What is a Shaker Style 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 style 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 Shaker style kitchens' history, what they are, their best features, and what works well in a Shaker style kitchen in terms of colours, appliances, woods etc.


Shaker style kitchen finished in matt white



History of the Shaker Style Kitchen

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”. However, 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 that 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 that 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 style kitchen.

What is a Shaker Style 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 Style Kitchen?

One of the most important parts of any kitchen is the cabinets, and in a Shaker style kitchen, you guessed it, they are straightforward. You will find no decorations, inlays, or carvings added to Shaker kitchen 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. This style's overall effect is that the entire room feels tied together as a whole, giving the room a subtle but very definitive character. If you're looking for Shaker style kitchen ideas then head to our Shaker Style Kitchen Range for more inspiration.

What Are the Benefits of Choosing a Shaker Style Kitchen?

There are several reasons why a Shaker kitchen is the ideal choice:

  • Character: As just alluded to, a Shaker style 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 utilise whatever space they had fully. 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 straightforward to clean. The simple Shaker kitchen's smooth surfaces 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 style kitchen any time soon, saving you money in the long run.


Shaker style kitchen with range cooker


What is the Best Finish For a Shaker Style Kitchen?

We’ve previously covered both pros and cons of 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 it has to be a matt finish when it comes to Shaker kitchens.

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 Style 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 style 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 Style Kitchen?


To stay true to the Shaker style, choose sleek, elegant, and simple appliances. Kettles, toasters, and coffee machines with a matt metal or black stainless steel finish are ideal.


A coloured Shaker Kitchen with a colour scheme that ties the floors, walls, cabinets, and worktops together coherently. For this reason, it’s best to go for neutral or earthy tones, such as white, pale grey, or soft green. Slightly bolder colours, such as deep blues, also work well but may limit your worktop or flooring choice.


Wooden flooring and worktops work exceptionally well in Shaker style kitchens with their naturally soft tones. The simple, regimented grain of the wood can be a way to add pattern and style subtly. Dark mahogany or walnut is best to match a darker colour scheme. 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 style kitchen design or need help choosing the best shaker style kitchens? If so, contact a member of our team today for more information. Head to our kitchen blog for more inspiration and ideas for your next kitchen design.

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