Shaker cabinets have become a kitchen staple over the years. They can fit in practically every kind and style of kitchen, and they seem to be one of those few kitchen trends that have stayed desirable through the years.
In fact, shaker cabinets are so popular that it's easy to miss their unique history and subtle, but well-crafted style. Keep reading to learn more about the history of this classically American cabinetry, its features, and how to best style them.
What Are Shaker-Style Cabinets?
Shaker-style cabinets are characterized by a five-piece door with a recessed center panel. They come in all kinds of styles, from sleek and modern to ornate and traditional.
The History Of Shaker Cabinets
The classic shaker cabinet comes from the Shakers, a religious group that emigrated from northern England to America in the eighteenth century. The Shakers were a communal Christian group that believed in modest, practical, and communal living. This practicality extended to the furniture they made, which was made of wood and minimally adorned. Some of the furniture they made were cabinets, hence the "Shaker cabinet" style.
Shaker cabinets were known for their simplicity and high quality, and they became popular nationwide as early as the mid-Nineteenth century, as their pared-back designs meant they could be produced and sent across the country quite quickly.
That same timeless and understated look has allowed Shaker cabinets to be an American kitchen favorite in the centuries and decades since.
The Features of Shaker Cabinets
Shaker cabinets were meant to look just as good from the side or back as they did from the front, and their high quality craftsmanship ensured this. Today, these cabinets maintain much of their original look.
Shaker cabinets's signature look comes from its panels that frame the front door, which sit atop a solid wood frame. The frames are often connected with mortise and tenon joints, which is a simple joint where a narrower piece of wood goes into a slot in another piece of wood.
What Are The Different Types of Shaker Cabinets?
Traditionally, Shaker cabinets are made of lightly-stained wood with no other adornment or decoration. Today, however, Shaker cabinets can come in a variety of woods, stains, and colors. Colored cabinets are often made of MDF, and popular colors include white, off-white, gray, navy, and sage green. Some cabinets also come with beadboard inserts, which add a touch of vintage character to their simple faces.
Shaker cabinet doors can also be installed into kitchens in a number of ways—they can be recessed into the cabinet frame with exposed or hidden hinges, or they can be overlaid on top of the frame.
What Style Kitchen Should You Use Shaker Cabinets In?
The minimalist look of Shaker cabinets means that they can look good in just about any style of kitchen. But, there are a few different kitchen styles where they really shine.
Farmhouse-style kitchens are one of the best places for Shaker cabinets. Farmhouse kitchens' emphasis on practicality and utility meshes well with the craftsmanship and function of Shaker cabinets.
The down-to-earth feel of cottage-style kitchens is another place where Shaker cabinets can shine. When paired with some vintage hardware, they can bring a homespun, cozy touch to a kitchen.
And of course, craftsman-style kitchens were practically born for Shaker cabinets. The less is more approach of craftsman design, along with its focus on using wood and other natural materials, make Shaker cabinets the perfect fit for craftsman kitchens.
3 Ways to Style Shaker Cabinets
Because Shaker cabinets are so popular, it's easy to find plenty of great ways to style them. Check out three of our favorite ways below.
- White cabinetry with matte black hardware. This common color combo is popular for a reason—the contrast of the hardware against the white of the cabinets makes your kitchen a space that stands out.
- Add an island with a contrasting color. For a pop of color without having to repaint all your cabinets navy blue, add an island with Shaker cabinet fronts in a different color from the rest of your kitchen.
- Go for colorful cabinets. Of course, you don't have to have white Shaker cabinets either. Though white is a popular color, you can still get an incredible look with a rich green, a pale cream, or even a light blue. The simplicity of Shaker cabinets means they look great in almost any color, so, the sky is the limit!
“Shaker Cabinets: Why They Are So Popular - Cabinets.Com.” Accessed August 13, 2021. https://www.cabinets.com/blog/shaker-cabinets-why-they-are-so-popular.
Cabinetdoors.com. “History of the Shaker Cabinet Door.” Accessed August 13, 2021. https://www.cabinetdoors.com/blog/history-of-the-shaker-cabinet-door/.