Austere, practical, yet bright and welcoming, the shaker kitchen is timeless and practical

Shaker kitchens are an American tradition, created 150 years ago and still going strong today. With a focus on function incorporated into pleasing form, shaker kitchens are perfect for every home. Even if you don’t want to redo your entire kitchen design, there are some genius ways where you can bring the elements of the shaker style into your living space.

The Shakers’ belief in austerity is clearly indicated in the most obvious clue of the Shaker style: the frame and panel profile. Known by designers as “rail and stile”, this construction has had many variations since its inception, but the general principle of a flat, recessed front cabinet panel surrounded by a raised frame, remains the same. Allowing the quality and beauty of the wood to speak for itself, rather than applying ornamentation, today’s Shaker cabinets still capture the true spirit the original craftsmen were trying to achieve.

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1. Cabinetry and space

The look of your cabinets is central to the shaker kitchen look. Crafted out of wood, with a stain of earthy colour, shaker kitchen cabinetry is made to last. Revamp your existing kitchen cabinets by giving them a lick of paint or by simply replacing the doors. Whilst traditional shaker kitchen cabinets had wooden handles or pulls, you can use rustic or vintage metal handles on yours or add a modern touch with some sleek, brushed steel ones which might be easier to find. The look is very much about making the most out of your space, so think plenty of cabinets, cupboards and drawers. Kitchen islands can also embody the shaker kitchen look, with lashings of storage, wood and complementary décor. Wooden high chairs capture the simplicity of the look, whilst carved doors and plenty of storage space embody its functionality.

2. Woods

Speaking of cabinets, central to the shaker kitchen look is the type of wood used. The kitchen style hinges on an appreciation of nature, all whilst keeping in mind that less is more. Simple but strong wood such as maple, birch, chestnut, and walnut are durable enough for use in the kitchen, and also provide the perfect earthy undertone should you want to add more stain or colour. Wood can also be used for worktops. A contrasting colour to the cabinetry can add a hint of variety whilst still keeping with the shaker style.

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3. Colour and light

The natural inspiration of the shaker kitchen look is central to its colour scheme. As such, earthy tones, beiges, and clay colours can bring the tradition of the style to your kitchen. If you want to add a hint of colour, try mellow blues, aubergine purples or duck-egg teals. These colours all reflect the natural sunlight beautifully and give that feeling of being out in the countryside. Natural light is preferred in a shaker kitchen, and lighting fixtures should complement the décor rather than stand out from it. Think discrete spotlights for a modern twist, simple hanging fixtures for focal lighting (especially over kitchen islands), or rustic lights if you want to add a bit more of a feature.

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4. Floors

The shaker kitchen philosophy reflects the fact that your kitchen is the place which tends be the most visited in your home. Shaker style kitchen floors tend to be hardwearing and easy to clean. A hardwood floor or earthy, textured tiles can give your kitchen the shaker look and can transform your kitchen design. Hardwood floors and tiles with a slight sheen can also make the space seem bigger and more calming and cooler.

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5. Beams

Add the shaker look character to your kitchen by adding wooden beams or keeping existing ones in. This is a genius way to get the shaker look because it means you don’t have to change any element of your existing kitchen; you just have to bring out the best of it. The shaker look is all about functionality, and wooden beams in the home represent exactly that, whilst still adding that natural, earthy aesthetic.

The shaker kitchen look is never going to go out of style. So whether you want to add elements of it or transform your kitchen completely, these 5 genius ways are a great start to creating your shaker kitchen design.