Shaker Cabinets 101

Every so often, a style comes around that’s popularity becomes unshakeable – and that’s exactly what happened in the case of Shaker-style cabinets. All puns aside, the Shaker style is known for its simple symmetry and classic look.

Shaker-style cabinets are distinctly minimal, meaning there are no additional veneers, inlays, or carving like in other wood cabinetry styles. A basic yet beautiful design, the Shaker style actually has quite a rich history. It has several characteristic features that interior design enthusiasts should know, especially if you’re contemplating them for your space.

Let’s dive right into Shaker cabinets starting with the centuries-old history of Shaker furniture.

Large white kitchen with wood floors and an abundance of white Shaker cabinets.
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A brief history of the Shaker style 

The Shaker style takes its name from the religious sect known as (you guessed it!) the Shakers, which is a branch of Quakerism that began in Manchester in the United Kingdom. Around the year 1780, a community of Shakers decided to settle in the United States, where they made their mark by creating many technological innovations, sharing architectural expertise, and building exceptional furniture.

The Shakers’ commitment to leading simple lives is represented in the signature qualities of Shaker-style furniture, which commonly features unadorned lines, unrivaled craftsmanship, and materials of only the highest quality.

Many original Shaker furnishings can be found in museums and galleries, as they have stood the test of time thanks to their masterful construction. Today, we can thank the Shakers for two products in particular that have become staples of the traditional style – the ladder-back chair and the Shaker kitchen cabinet.

Key features of shaker cabinets

So what exactly sets Shaker cabinets apart from other kitchen cabinet designs? There are several key features that define Shaker cabinets, such as:

  • Classic simplicity – The main factor that all Shaker cabinets are built around is simplicity. Unadorned and unembellished, the simplicity of Shaker cabinets shows through in their recessed center panels, inset doors, and box-shaped appearance.
  • Superb craftsmanship – Just as the Shaker community focused on creating furniture with great skill and quality, Shaker cabinets are a mirror image of these original designs. Sturdy and square, Shaker-style cabinets are built to last and show off the beautiful craftsmanship that was forged by the Shakers and has been carried on through the centuries.
  • Solid composition – A final shared feature of Shaker cabinets is their solid composition, often made of high-quality, natural hardwood. This makes Shaker cabinetry an excellent choice for a variety of interior styles, offering different color choices and wood finishes.
Large white kitchen with walnut island.
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Choosing the right Shaker-style cabinet for your home

Now that you’ve learned about the backstory and distinguishing features of Shaker cabinets, it’s time to consider which type of Shaker cabinet will look best in your home.

Below, we’ve identified a few of the most common interior decor styles and paired them with the Shaker cabinet that best compliments each one:

  • For the traditionalist – You can’t get much more traditional than these timeless and elegant Devon Shaker Kitchen Cabinets in white. Paired with other wood elements like a rustic brown kitchen table, these cabinets will look classic and fit perfectly with a traditional look.
  • For the minimalist – If you really like to keep things simple, then these Artisan Shaker Kitchen Cabinets are a great choice. The cream color will create an orderly, minimal look that can be brought to life with Scandinavian-inspired hardware.
  • For the modernist – When you’re searching for a contemporary feel, cabinets like these Radnor Shaker Kitchen Cabinets will elicit a modern tone. Paired with white granite countertops and metal or silver fixtures, the rich color of these Shaker cabinets will add drama to the space.

Still not sure which Shaker cabinet is right for you? Take a look at our complete guide to Shaker cabinets!

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