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What is a Shaker Kitchen?

What is a Shaker Kitchen?

Quite often we get asked this very question. Most people have seen a Shaker kitchen before but don't necessarily know what the style is called. Others may know the name but not understand why the Shaker kitchen is so called. So what is a shaker kitchen?

The shaker kitchen style is just one part of a wider distinctive furniture style. Shaker furniture was developed by a religious sect. Specifically the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing. Who are more commonly and collectively known as 'Shakers'.
The guiding principles of this religious group are; simplicity, utility and honesty. These principles are deliberately reflected in the unfussy nature of shaker furniture. Ornamentation, such as inlays, carving and veneers is seen as prideful and deceitful. So the Shakers created asymmetrical drawer arrangements and multipurpose forms to add visual interest.
Shakers believe that all things hold purpose and are created in testament to God. This motivates them to become master-crafters. To refine and improve the crafting process, use only the best materials and to minimise wastage. In turns this creates a process of crafting which is very sophisticated, yet simple.

Black shaker kitchen with white kitchen worktop

The Signature Shaker Style Panel

The shaker style is most easily recognised by the 5-piece panel design. The signature framed panel features two rails, two stiles and a central panel. 
During construction this design reduced wasted timber. Was quick to make and created a solid structure which looks beautiful. All meeting the guiding principles of the shaker religion. The look has barely changed in hundreds of years.

The Modern Shaker Kitchen

Kitchen manufacturers mimic the original shaker style to create the modern shaker kitchen. No longer hand made with bespoke tooling. These new mass produced shaker kitchens are made by  high tech CNC cutters. However the signature style panel is still the defining feature.
Modern shaker kitchens make use of the framed panel extensively for kitchen door and drawer fronts. Typically large panels will be tongue and groove, and rarely will you see a flat sheet panel on display. The modern shaker kitchen will still be devoid of fussy adornments however. Which stays faithful to the original design principles.

How to Create Your Shaker Kitchen

Shaker kitchens are very popular for traditional country cottages, grand period residences and post war homes. This popularity comes from the fact that the style is extremely flexible. Shaker kitchens can be either traditional or contemporary.  Depending entirely upon how they are stylised and finished. 
A kitchen which makes use of natural wood finished doors, or muted pastel colours. Combined with solid wood worktops leans toward the traditional. 
Mixing bright or rich coloured kitchen doors, drawer fronts and panels. Paired with quartz worktops will create a shaker kitchen which looks more contemporary.
Traditionally a shaker kitchen would have wooden handles manufactured from the off cuts. In the modern reinvention of this style kitchen cabinet and drawer handles are metal. But simple designs still work well and compliment the 5-piece panel style. Avoid chrome or polished finished kitchen door handles - these look too modern. 
Aged metal handles work best for the traditional look, especially in brass. Our top pick are cup handles. Whilst small knob style handles in a nickel finish work well in the contemporary kitchen.
The Shaker's guiding principle of utility also meant they created a specific place for everything. Therefore open shelving units, built in plate racks, glass fronted wall units, and peg rails are all popular accessories. 
The benefit of these accessories is that they help break up the colour. Particularly useful if you opt for a single colour for all the kitchen unit doors and drawer fronts.
When shopping for lighting neither traditional nor contemporary shaker kitchens suit the ultra-modern LED strip lights. More often a classic spot light will work best in a shaker kitchen. The spot will diffuse light over the contours of the 5-piece panels much more elegantly.

Modern Shaker Style Kitchen supplid by Kitchun

Shaker Kitchens from Kitchun

If you are sold on the shaker style but are still unsure how to make it work for your home why not contact the Kitchun team? We offer a kitchen design service that can be invaluable in visualising your kitchen ideas. Our thorough design process will help you get to the design that best works for you.

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Published on Tuesday, 23rd January 2:08pm


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  • Meridien Interiors Ltd
  • Unit 62, Azura Close
    Woolsbridge Industrial Estate
    Three Legged Cross
  • Dorset
  • BH21 6SZ
  • United Kingdom
  • 01202 216688

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