Shaker Style is Making a Comeback

bright Shaker style kitchen with simple cabinets and large window

Shaker style design, most commonly associated with cabinets, is making a comeback in a big way. As people move away from ostentatious designs, many are appreciating the simplicity and practicality of Shaker designs.

What Is Shaker Furniture?

Shaker furniture is furniture developed by the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing, also known as Shakers. The Shakers were founded in England in the 18th century. They came to the U.S. to flee persecution.

Their furniture, known for being minimalistic, does not have inlays, carvings, or fancy pulls. Instead, it is known for being simpler and prioritizing function.

Shaker furniture is usually made of high-quality wood. It's sometimes sealed or painted different colors but generally uses neutral colors and tones.

Shaker Cabinets

Shaker cabinets are one of the most popular cabinet types today. The cabinets, which are popular in both kitchens and bathrooms, have recessed panel doors and usually have simple hardware. The cabinets have a minimalistic look.

Like the furniture, the cabinets get their name from the Shakers and date back all the way to the 18th century. Also, like the furniture, Shaker cabinets are usually high quality and made from strong, solid woods.

Due to their high quality, Shaker cabinets often have a good return on investment for homeowners looking to sell.

The downside, though, is that these cabinets can be quite pricy and do require some maintenance.

shaker cabinets with simple design and hardware

Modern Shaker Cabinet Ideas

Today, some Shaker-style cabinets are made with medium density fiberboard, which can drastically cut down on costs. If you are considering MDF Shaker cabinets, make sure they are moisture resistant.

There are also things you can do to update Shaker cabinets and make them more attention-grabbing. For starters, you can paint them fun colors.

Blue, for example, is very trendy in kitchen designs. So is a two-tone look where the lower cabinets can be an attention-grabbing color while the upper cabinets are more neutral.

You could also consider adding panels to the cabinets. This will go a long way in creating a farmhouse feel in your room.

Adding unusual hardware is another way to update the cabinets. You could consider brass or gold knobs, or something with a wavy design. Or you could lose the hardware altogether, paint the cabinets white, and have a Scandinavian-inspired kitchen.

You could also add glass to a few of the cabinets. This will work well in both a white kitchen or one with loud pops of color, which it will help mellow out. Similarly, you could do some open shelves up top. The only downside here is you will need to make sure what is being displayed is tidy.

Some people are also using Shaker cabinets to conceal appliances. Instead of being stainless steel, some homeowners are opting for a dishwasher with a Shaker cabinet front.

Letting Light In

bright kitchen with large window and curtain

One of the key elements to Shaker homes is light. That's why so many Shaker decor items are painted white. White was also thought to symbolize purity. Shaker homes also frequently have large windows and even skylights to let as much sunlight in as possible.

Shaker Home Design

If you are looking to create a Shaker-style home, use whites and neutrals as your main color scheme with a few pops of color to break things up. You should also use Shaker or other simple, well-crafted furniture throughout your home.

You should also keep your home neat with only necessary items inside and laid out in a way to let plenty of natural light.

Differences from Scandinavian Designs

While both Shaker and Scandanavian designs share some colors, practical elements, and a minimalistic look, the two styles actually differ quite a bit.

Shaker furniture, for starters, is often handmade. It can also use darker woods. The look feels more traditional.

Scandinavian furniture, made popular in part thanks to stores like IKEA, use lighter woods. It is often mass-produced and cheaper than Skaker furniture options.